“The markers of achievement for artists are scattered, few, and sometimes contradictory. External markers of success are great, but they won’t save you. In the end, we artists need to save ourselves. And each other.”
I couldn’t agree more. Thank you, Andrew Simonet, for writing your practical and big-hearted book, Making Your Life as an Artist. You can download his book – FREE – here:
Artists saving themselves and each other is a trend (or perhaps we can call it a movement) that I admire on social media and a quality I seek in the artists I call my friends. Simonet says, “There is a fundamental generosity to making art, a giving.”
This fundamental generosity, extended toward other artists, makes much more sense than the capitalist compulsion to compete with one another. Did anyone watch the short-lived reality TV show called “Work of Art” that pitted fine artists against each other in a competition to win a museum exhibition and a cash prize?
I watched every episode. At first I thrilled to see real visual artists on TV, but the entire concept of art as a competition revealed itself to be, in one word—WRONG. I wanted to yell at the screen, “You people have more in common with those 8 people in the room than with most other people on the planet! You’re all artists, fergodsake, why are you bickering and backbiting?
Of course I know the constitution of reality TV; the public is reportedly entertained by aggression and conflict and bored by cooperation and kindness.
I loved this thought from Simonet’s book:
“Art and entertainment do different things. Entertainment distracts our attention. Art focuses it.
The world is hungry for noncommercial experiences, for moments of focus, connection, and insight instead of the profit-driven distraction provided by the entertainment industry…We artists are responsible for that tiny sliver of images that can be made for every other possible reason: cultural, spiritual, political, emotional.”
The book also offers practical advice for making an artistic life more sustainable, and introduces the concept of writing your own artist mission statement. He advises us to continue with the mission even if we change tactics. I have personally changed tactics so many times I’ve lost count, so I found validation in this concept.
Validation of your work and encouragement to continue your life as an artist is what this book is all about. Artists are important, despite rumors to the contrary. Simonet offers excellent advice on how artists can think about money, success, compensation, work strategies, and avoiding a “punishing” life.
I highly encourage you to read this short book, and spread the word. Making Your Life as an Artist is written by an artist who is saving other artists.