Advice from 8 Artists

Some advice from 8 artists.

Marina Abramovich

breathing and obsession

I will ask how you know you're an artist. That's the main question. And to know if you're an artist or not is like breathing. You don't question breathing. You have to breathe. Otherwise you just die. So you breathe.

So if you wake up in the morning and you have some ideas and you have to make them, and this becomes like a kind obsession, and you have to create, and you have this urge to create, you're definitely an artist, but you're not a great artist. You're just an artist.

To be a great artist, that's all different types of rules. And it's like you're obsessed. It's like it's nothing else in your mind.

ready to fail

I think the great artists have to be ready to fail, which not too many people are, because when you have success in a certain way, and the public accept you in a certain way, you start somehow involuntary, reproducing the same images, the same type of work, and you're not risking.

And the real artists always change their territories and they go to the land they've never been; when there is unknown territory, then you can fail and you can risk.

escape routine

If you are drawing with your right hand and you're getting better and better, and with closed eyes, you can draw anything you want, immediately change to the left hand. When you become routine, that is end of everything

1-2 good ideas

In your lifetime, you probably will have one good idea. If you're a really good artist and if you're a genius, two good ideas, and that's it. But be careful with them.

William Kentridge

So I think it has to do with the specific interaction of the person giving the advice and the person receiving it.

Work hard, do your best, do what you like, and people will respect you for it. It doesn't matter what subject you take on. In the end, whatever you do is going to be a self portrait. It will reveal who you are. If it's arrogant, it's about you. If it's pretentious, that's about you. Don't think you can escape yourself by your choice of subject matter.

There are many things like that that one can say, but unless someone is needing those words, they don't get heard.

Patti Smith

build a good name

When I was really young, William Burrows told me, and I was really struggling. We never had any money. The advice that William gave me was build a good name. Keep your name clean, don't make compromises.

Don't worry about making a bunch of money or being successful. Be concerned with doing good work and make the right choices and protect your work. And if you build a good name, eventually that name will be its own currency.

life is suffering

To be an artist, actually to be a human being. In these times, it's all difficult.

Sometimes you'll be sick, sometimes you'll have a really bad toothache, sometimes you'll be hungry. But on the other end, you'll have the most beautiful experiences. Sometimes just the sky, sometimes a piece of work that you do that feels so wonderful, or you find somebody to love, or your children, or there's beautiful things in life. So when you're suffering, just. It's part of the package.

You look at it, we're born and we also have to die. We know that. So it make sense that we're going to be really happy and things are going to be really bad too.

Dinos and Jake Chapman

We're so immersed in the bullsh*t of our own activities to know even how to give anyone advice

Wrap up warm. Eat properly, sensibly, don't smoke. And phone your mum.

David Byrne

The only advice I have is probably things that a lot of young musicians and artists already know. That although some of them may have the ambition to be the next Jay Z or the next whatever it is, the number of those artists are very, very small.

And often the artists who are very successful that way, they don't have much flexibility. In achieving success, they lose a lot of their creative freedom. They have to keep making the same thing more or less over and over and over again. And that if the musician or artist values their freedom and the ability to be creative, then they have to maybe realize that they won't be making hundreds of millions of dollars.

Wim Wenders

Don't do anything that somebody else, that you know deep in your heart, somebody else can do better, but do what nobody else can do except for you.

Olafur Eliasson

be sensitive

My advice to younger artists would be something like to be very sensitive to where they are in what times, in what part of the world, and how that constitutes the artistic practice, the artistic inquiry.

making art is making the world

I think working with art is working with something that is very fierce, very strong, very robust, and even though the whole world seems to say that art is fragile, should be marginalized. It's not important. It's counterproductive. It doesn't belong to the center of what reality is defined as.

Artists should have confidence in the fact that, well, making a drawing on a piece of paper is changing the world. By definition, making art is making the world.

So it is an unbelievably rewarding thing to be an artist and to be full behind that idea as a young artist. And to actually see that having chosen, in many perspectives, the strange choice to become an artist is also to have chosen to be a part of the world.