Whenever we interview artists we ask if they have any additional tips or advice, and for those who had something to share, here’s what they had to say:
Follow your own inner path
If I have any lesson from my ten years it’s just be yourself and follow your own path. I think it’s really easy to get caught up in this track of “this is how it’s done” or think you need to go to film school or go to L.A. or shoot things a certain way.
I think first and foremost you should follow your own inner path and not get too hung up on what anyone else tells you to do or how to live your life because there’s a lot of different ways to do it. I didn’t think that I could make a living as a filmmaker here in Girdwood, a tiny ski town in Alaska. How the fuck do you ever make a living? Who’s gonna call you? But I did and you can. I think it’s perseverance and being steadfast. Just keep pushing and trying.
It’s like sifting through what is valuable and what isn’t, which is a hard thing.
You have to believe in yourself
You have to believe in yourself before anyone is going to believe in you. And you have to help yourself before anyone is going to help you. So that plays into anything, whether it’s art or business.
It’s so important to know why you do something and to follow your heart
I think it’s so important to know why you do something and to follow your heart. It can really pay off in the long run if you do what you feel you need to or what you feel like doing no matter what you get out of it. It feels better to do what you know you want to and not jump through all the hoops or join the rat race toward fame and money. Because those things have nothing to do with why you create anything.
Money comes and goes. I think a lot of people want money, but it can really destroy them. It’s a very dangerous thing. It’s almost an illusion, you know? And that’s where social media doesn’t help because it’s almost brainwashing people to want something they may not really want.
And I think a lot of people want fame but I don’t think they’d want it once they got it. It’s not all it’s cracked up to be.
I think if you just do what you love, it’s really the only way. The unforced way is a good way. It’s free of all the bullshit.
Be nice to people
Just be nice to people. You never know who you’re going to meet and you can’t have that big of an ego because the word will spread pretty quick and people might not want to work with you.
Work hard, keep the nose to the grindstone and don’t be a dick.
Don’t take stuff personally
Lindz: Don’t take stuff so personally. I know it’s really hard when you’re creating. I know that I’m a different Lindsey today at 36 creating artwork than I was at 18. I was very sensitive then and did not think that my sensitive nature could take a “no” or critiques on my artwork. Now I do not care what you think of what I’m painting at all which is totally different. I really don’t care if anyone likes it, you know? But people do because for the most part what I’ve painted people are paying for.
Jon: You’re enjoying the process.
Lindz: Yeah. And I love painting.
With most of our younger artists who spend time in here, I think it’s important for them to know who those COIs (Center of Influences) are. Know who’s in your circle that you can go to and say, Hey, I don’t have any mural jobs right now but do you know any real estate agents or developers or a librarian that might need some artwork?
Know who your Centers of Influence are and also have a circle of people around you who’re supportive and give you an opportunity to give back to that circle.
Don’t give up
Don’t give up. Hone your skills. Just keep getting better.
Don’t take it personal
I know this is the hardest thing in the world but don’t take it personal. That’s it.
When you’re an artist you’re an empath most of the time. I don’t think we feel more deeply than other people, but I think it affects our work more deeply. Especially the way the world is today, with social media and stuff, it’s so easy to be affected.
So not taking it personal. It’s the hardest thing but probably the best advice.
If you keep doing something you’re passionate about, the roads will be found
Keep doing it. I didn’t know when I started painting ten years ago I would be a full-time painter right now. It’s shocking the amount of struggle I had for ten years. I wouldn’t wish that time period on any living soul. But the reward at the end justified the means of creating and starting.
That experience, you can’t put a bow on it and give it to someone. You can give them inspirational videos on YouTube. People want to be inspired. But what they don’t see is the amount of time that’s put in, that in-between time, that void, that experience. There are a lot of moments in that space where you’re broken down and don’t want to do anything creative ever again in your life. And then that passes and you start creating again.
So you don’t know where you’re going to start and end up, but if you keep doing something you’re passionate about, the roads will be found. And the avenues to continue to do what you’re passionate about will materialize. But you will have years and years and years of experience to get to that point. That’s life.
Build a thick skin, find a community, make better art
I think it’s all about building a thick skin and talking to people. Building a thick skin and not being worried if somebody walks away.
F.ind a community and just make better art all the time.
Make connections and do everything
And just do everything. Art. Everywhere. A lot of the artists I curated have really engrained their lives into art, doing art in so many different ways, not just doing paintings. One artist I curated is a tattoo artist on top of muralist on top of painter. Artists with so many different mediums are the ones who I find are really rocket shipping up in the industry because they are putting themselves in all these different artistic mediums.
Take a class. Go to a workshop, buy some pens, you know? Just dive in, just start. And maybe it’s not visual arts, maybe it’s acting, maybe it’s poetry. Pick up a book of poems and start reading. Maybe write a haiku poem. That’s creating. I think we all have the need for an outlet to create.
Share your work + do things more in person
There’s a lot of artists who are really great artists but they keep to themselves and keep their artwork hidden or don’t like to be people persons.
But in the art world you have to be super people oriented and business savvy to continually make it. You can’t just be a great artist. A lot of times you don’t even have to be a good artist, you can just be a nice person and know how to market really well.
I think trying to figure out the marketing world and how to be friendly and do things more in person rather than just from your phone are big aspects that a lot of artists should work on.
Being creative is a huge and important thing and makes everybody happy
If somebody wants to be an artist, they probably can be in some form or another. I think being creative is a huge and important thing in humanity and makes everybody happy.
Say yes + have fun
Say yes when you can, say no when you have to. Have fun with it. It’s art, you should be having fun.