Here are six random ideas for how to do art, whatever your art happens to be. They just might help you be a better artist. This is not a comprehensive list, but it is a list of useful nuggets of thought I thought worth sharing.
- Never play to the gallery. Don’t make your work for other people, bending it to suit what you imagine their preferences to be. Don’t let pleasing others be the central thing, in what you do. Don’t try to second guess what your audience wants or likes. Don’t try to fulfil other people’s expectations of you. Make work that pleases you.
- Remember why you’re an artist. You started working because you felt that there was something about yourself that, if you could manifest it, you would understand more about yourself and your place in the world. Don’t lose this sense. Keep working toward that goal.
- If it feels comfortable, it’s too safe and uninteresting. It needs to feel more uncomfortable and risky. Be at that point where you feel you’re just out of your depth, where your feet can’t quite touch the bottom. That seems to be where the best art is made.
- Play the part of the artist you imagine yourself to be. Treat it like a role you’re playing. Pretend you are that ideal artist you can see in your mind’s eye and act accordingly. If the artist you are is simply a character you portray, you can also step away from the role, whenever you need to. This can be helpful and self-preserving.
- Exaggerate and understate. Sometimes, the central idea behind your art, or an element in it, gets much better if you amp it up to the point of absurdity, or if you attenuate it aggressively, so that people have to really pay attention to notice it at all. There is value in the very big and ostentatious and the very small and demure. Make art that is both difficult and easy to overlook (not necessarily at the same time).
- Collaborate with or be mentored by artists that complement what you do. Somebody that does almost exactly what you do will always demotivate you, unintentionally, because you will find yourself comparing yourself against them. If you work with somebody whose skills are different to yours, or who works from a different approach and perspective, that can be invigorating. You learn more, that way. So do they.