What I learned in my year of self-taught art school…

  • Steal everything. EVERYTHING.
  • Build a support network of creative people so you can all help each other through your anxiety.
  • Encourage your friends.
  • If you don’t remind people about things, they’ll assume it isn’t important.
  • Chat about your ideas and steal people’s suggestions when they add something.
  • Anxiety is a thing.
  • It’s much easier to make work when you’re feeling happy.
  • “Keep your eyes in the boat.”*
  • People will sometimes like work you’re unimpressed with, and vice versa.
  • Ambition can be crippling when coupled with self-doubt.
  • Progress is slow, but hopefully visible over a year.
  • Fear/nerves can be an important signifier of what to do next.
  • Pay critical attention to obsessions and work out what is and isn’t healthy.
  • Accidents can be better than anything you did intentionally.
  • There’s nothing better than finding people who share your enthusiasms.
  • Offering to take people’s portraits can be a good excuse to have a conversation with them.
  • Not having much of a pre-conceived plan allows you to work with what you have in the moment.
  • “Keep going.” – The words from my friend Neil Gaiman that I keep coming back to.

*A rowing term that I find to be a useful metaphor: if you’re in a race and you’re looking around to see where the opposition are, you’re losing your rhythm and balance, and slowing the boat down. Just concentrate on your own work rather than worrying about your position compared to others.

Important reading:

MAKE GOOD ART – Neil Gaiman
ART & FEAR – David Bayles & Ted Orland
SHOW YOUR WORK – Austin Kleon