Some advice for artists from

Jerry Saltz


1. Your number one job as an artist is to embed thought in material. That means your idiot idea has to be there in your idiot art.

2. Being an artist is tough. So only be one if you really, really, really, really have to be.

3. If you’re in a relationship, when you are lying awake in the middle of the night fretting over something (or everything), for god’s sake, do not wake up your partner.

4. Work late, stay up late with your peers, and support each other. You’re only as strong as the weakest among you.

5. You will be poor, but your life will never be boring—accept it.

6. Make an enemy of envy today—tomorrow is almost too late.

7. Remember that you do not own the meaning of your work. As Oscar Wilde said, “The minute you think you know a work of art, it is dead to you.”

8. Have an elephant skin—and grow a pair of… whatever you need a pair of.

9. If you have the opportunity to travel, go to the Prado Museum in Madrid. Fly in coach, be jetlagged—but whatever you do, drag yourself to that museum. Then spend three days there. You don’t need to go anywhere else.

10. You only need to convince seven people that your work is worth taking a chance on: four collectors, one art dealer, and two critics. Just seven!

11. Be vulnerable, expose yourself, have an opinion. And remember: You know a lot less than you think you do.



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