Saturday, November 3, 2012

Artistic Advice from Neil Gaiman

Feeling down? Starting to doubt that your writing career is going to ever venture outside of your bedroom? I recommend watching the video below. Neil Gaiman, author of Coraline and The Gravelard Book, gives an amazing and touching commencement speech to the University of Art graduates of 2012.  He not only shares great advice about being a writer, but being any sort of artist. 

A speech that not only makes you think, but makes you laugh. Going into an artistic field can be scary, frustrating, and very liberating. Gaiman hits on all of these subjects. Over all, I don't know what to say. The speech speaks for itself. It's a must watch for any person entering any sort of artistic career.

Favorite quotes to live by:

"First of all, when you start out in on a career in the arts, you have no idea what you are doing. This is great. People who know what they're doing, know the rules, and they know what is possible and what is impossible. You do not, and you should not. The rules on what is possible and impossible in the arts were made by people who had not tested the bounds of the possible by going beyond them. And you can. If you don't know it's impossible, it's easier to do. And because nobody's done it before, they haven't made up rules to stop anyone doing that particular thing again."

"A freelance life, a life in the arts, is sometimes like putting messages in bottles on a desert island and hoping that someone will find one of your bottles, and open it, and read it, and put something in a bottle that will wash its way back to you, appreciation, or a commotion, or money, or love. And you have to accept that you may have to put out hundreds of things for every bottle winds its way back."

"Remember whatever discipline you're in, whether you're a musician, or a photographer, a fine artist, or cartoonist, a writer, a dancer, a singer, a designer. Whatever you do, you have one thing that's unique. You have the ability to make art. And for me, and for so many of the people I've known, that's been a lifesaver. The ultimate lifesaver. It gets you through the good times, and it gets you through the other ones."

"And when life gets tough. This is what you should do: make good art. I'm serious. Husband runs off with a politician? Make good art. Leg crushed and then eaten by a mutated boa constrictor? Make good art. IRS on your trail? Make good art. Cat exploded? Make good art. Someone on the internet thinks what you're doing is stupid or evil or it's all been done before? Make good art. Probably things will work out somehow. Eventually time will take the sting away, and that doesn't even matter. Do what only you can do best. Make good art."

"The moment you feel, that just possibly, you're walking down the street naked, exposing too much of your heart and your mind, and what exists on the inside, showing too much of yourself, that's the moment you may be starting to get it right."

"But you get work, however you get work. But people keep working in a freelance world, and more and more of today's world is freelance, because their work is good and because they're easy to get along with and because they deliver it on time. And you don't even need all three. Two out of three is fine. People will tolerate how unpleasant you are, if your work is good and you deliver it on time. People will forgive the lateness of your work if it's good and they like you. And you don't have to be as good as everyone else if you're on time and it's always a pleasure to hear from you."

"We're in a transitional world right now, if you're in any kind of artistic field, because the nature of distribution is changing. The models by which creators got their work out into the world, and got to keep a roof over their head, and got to make sandwiches while they did that, they're all changing. I've talked to people at the top of the food chain in publishing and book selling, in music, in all those areas, and no one knows what the landscape will look like two years from now, let alone a decade away. The distribution channels people had build people had built over the last century or so are in flucs, for print, for visual arts, for musicians, for creative people of all kinds. Which is on the one hand intimidating, and on the other, the immensely liberating.  The rules, the assumptions, the 'now we're supposed to's of how you get your work seen, and what you do then, they're breaking down.The gate keepers are leaving their gates. You can be as creative as you need to be to get your work seen. YouTube and the web, and whatever comes after YouTube and the web, gave you more people watching that old television ever did. The old rules are crumbling and nobody knows what the new rules are. So make up your own rules."

I hope this brightened your day a bit. I know I've watched it a bunch for motivation.

What do you think of Gaiman's commencement speech? Are there other quotes that you find particularly inspirational? Comment below!

1 comment:

  1. I love this post, I seen his commencement address on Youtube when it first happened. Neil Gaiman is one of the coolest writers.