Just Do It: simple but not easy

student-paintingFive years ago I graduated with an MFA in painting. While I was waiting outside the gallery where my committee deliberated on my fate, the gallery secretary (who also had an MFA), said to me, “when they come out of that room and tell you you’ve passed, you will have become a ‘master’ of your art.

A Master.

“And then, you too will be qualified to do my job!”

We live in an age where people would rather spend time on fast than on slow. Art is slow. It takes a long time to master. It takes time to make, time for the viewer to absorb, time to understand, time to SEE. People don’t often take the time in this fast paced world.

Once you leave school as a fledgling artist you’re often faced with the fact that no one much cares about what you’re making. Thoughts of critiques in which everyone focussed on your work, are now distant memories tinged with nostalgia and longing.

Paint box by Jody Digger
Paint box by Jody Digger.

Creating art in the 21st century is becoming both more rewarding and increasingly frustrating. There is more opportunity than ever. More information is available to artists on how to market yourself, how to sell online, and how to network than ever before.

Yet there are thousands of art students propelled into the world unprepared and ignorant of how to sustain a thriving studio practice in the face of indifference, how to find or build a supportive artistic community in towns that are cultural deserts, and, in the face of competing responsibilities, how to continue doing what you love – which is to keep making artwork. This blog is an attempt to address those concerns and to create a bridge between the learning of school and the doing of the professional artistic life.

postcard-show-crowdIt’s not easy to make art in a vacuum. In school you had to be accountable – your grade depended on it. Now you’re faced with learning to set and meet your own deadlines. We’re here to help you be accountable, to be your supportive and insightful community, and to help you get the work made that you want to make.

The Nike ad campaign, “Just Do It,” serves as a great reminder that the artist’s life starts in the studio. The first step in becoming successful is to vow to make work every day. You already know that. So promise yourself now to make something every day for the rest of your life, be it for 10 minutes or six hours, to keep your creativity fresh and alive and your artwork moving forward.

Because that’s what an artist does.

Just do it. Simple…but not easy.