or, Ten Thoughts On Ten Years of Making Art
Here’s a list of things that have served me well / I’d wished I’d figured earlier on whilst working within the subsidised arts sector in England. I shared it on Twitter yesterday and it got a good response, so I’m posting it here for a bit more longevity.
- Success is a slippery thing to define. Still. It’s worth saying that this not necessarily a recipe for your success.
- I say a decade because I was first commissioned to make art in 2012 and its a nice round number, but I was knocking around for a couple of years before this.
- I’ve tried to write things with more universal application but there are almost certainly contexts, practices and barriers where these points would fail or be complicated. If this can be a jumping point for discussion, I’m all for it.
The points, in no particular order of importance:
- Fail in public (every now and again).
- Be an amateur in something all the time.
- Be decent. You never know who might give you your next job.
- Network intending to give, not to get.
- Try to get a (part time) job in fundraising. You’ll learn a lot.
- Stop chasing institutions and build your own audience.
- Don’t skimp on the documentation.
- Scale =/= importance or quality.
- Own your motivations.
- A career in the arts isn’t worth your health.
I could expand on each of these points at length. I’m sure it would be instructive for me as much as anyone else.
Are there points you’d like to add? Subtract?