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Not Everyone Gets a Gold Star

Journal Entry: Mon Aug 27, 2012, 3:03 AM

I came under fire yesterday for being harsh. It happens. Not the coming under fire part, but the being harsh bit. You see, I have a philosophy...

There are a lot of poor starving artists.

Do you ever watch the first few episodes of American Idol?  I do; it's fascinating television. So many delusional people in such a short amount of time. It's glorious! A good friend of mine once said that the reason there are so many contestants that are absolutely abhorrent singers is because all of those people didn't have someone that loved them enough to tell them they're no good at singing. (Either that or the poor schmucks simply refused to believe the well-meaning people that might have tried to educate the cacophanous vocalists). We live in such a politically correct, 'I don't want to be responsible for stamping out your dreams' society that we're no longer honest with each other. Hence, beautiful trainwreck television in the form of phenomenally bad singing.

The art-world is like that. Another good friend once lamented that art schools had become a repository of talentless people, and teachers only encouraged poor performance and lackluster talent by saying it was okay to discover one's self through the various mediums. That's fine if you're not expecting to find a career in the art world, but if you want to wear your big boy pants and work in the real world it's worth bupkis.

Let me use this analogy, and bear with me if you've heard it before:
Joe like numbers. He loves manipulating numbers in every conceivable way. Joe decides that since he loves numbers he should be an accountant. However, Joe never masters mathematics nor does he familiarize himself with tax law or pass the exams to be a C.P.A. but he opens an accounting business nonetheless. Is Joe an accountant? No, he's a delusional mess making the fast track for white collar crime. Would it have benefitted Joe if someone had spoken up and suggested all this might not have been a good idea? Absolutely!

So back to the art world. Approximately three percent of all graduating art students will end up in a career related to the arts. My personal experience with art students bears out that they're an incredibly lazy bunch, inclined to think they're more talented than they actually are, and perhaps inclined toward feeling more entitled than the average citizen. With this being the case, who will actually make a reasonable living as an artist? Very few.

Look. Here's the simple truth. It's an incredibly competitive arena. You have to have the hide of a rhinoceros, inhuman persistence, and you have to be willing to sacrifice all else in your life in the pursuit of excellence if you really want to 'make it'. If you find yourself making excuses for your work or you simply think your work is the grandest thing ever, hang it up, this isn't the career for you. On the other hand, if you simply want to make pretty things to enjoy yourself and other people seem to enjoy your work too, knock yourself out, and enjoy the occasional coffee house gallery showing; there's nothing wrong with that. Just don't be angry at the world if you like to play with paint and you can't get a job with Big Studio Company because they don't get your vision.

So am I harsh? Not really. In fact, I'm a pretty tender hearted guy (ask my wife any day). It really does bring tears to my eyes when I see peoples dreams realized. Similarly, it deeply saddens me when I see people invest so much of themselves into something, so sure that it's their destiny when it's really just misplaced effort.  

I could coddle. I could tell everyone to follow their dreams and it will all work out in the end regardless of their aptitude, talent and skill, but that's really not helpful. What's helpful is to tell someone to find their strengths and play to them. Find something you're good at, and continue to develop that. And if art isn't that thing, then just enjoy the art you do and don't worry about people getting your vision or trying to impress people with it.

This gets back to my earlier statement. Why are there so many starving artists? Because there are a lot of bad artists; artists that didn't have people that loved them enough to tell them to do something else.

And in case I don't stamp out any dreams (which I really don't want to do), my final bit of advice:

Sure, follow your dreams, if you REALLY want it, if you're willing to WORK HARDER for it then you ever thought possible, if you're willing to SACRIFICE all for it, if you can look past the ones that will tell you it's impossible to make it, prove them wrong, prove ME wrong. Go for it...

Just remember, not everyone gets a gold star.

TK Miller Sculpting

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untilmoraleimproves Featured By Owner Sep 28, 2012
I want a gold star. If you're gonna be the one saying that not everyone gets one, then you should be able to make sure I do. So I want a gold star. But make mine red, I like that better. I want a red gold star.
TKMillerSculpt Featured By Owner Sep 28, 2012  Professional Artist
I think you just want a star because I licked it. That's gross.
havenbrad Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2012

Great assessment and great article. To use your analogy, you are channeling your inner Simon Cowell... and it's totally needed in today's age.

I am a Design Director myself, and I will be sharing this with my team of artists at tomorrow's Monday morning meeting.

Thanks for sharing and keep up the stellar work (and honest posts)!
TKMillerSculpt Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2012  Professional Artist
Awesome! Thanks!
Anubuis Featured By Owner Sep 11, 2012  Student Artisan Crafter
Ok tkmillir sculpt.
Dude seriously that’s what you have to say to your fans and un-coming artists???
Why didn’t you just say (listen guys I’m in the industry and it’s a bitch, you have to have confidence in your abilities and let things slide off your back coz its rough and you have to be extremely precise or you simply will not make it in the industry and you will end up hating your art and being depressed)
Now isn’t that much better than what you said, you could have made your point without being a total asshole. I completely agree with you on most of what you said but dude there was no need to say it like that and to be honest it sounded a little condescending, you are not the best sculpture in the world or the industry for that matter so you could have toned it down a little I have seen artist MUCH BETTER then you…now I don’t like saying things like that but it’s true, seen an amazing artist but he lives in a very poor county and he told me he was dirt poor now he has 0% chance of getting your job only coz of where he lives.
You have no idea how hard it can be…I know you had it rough I read some of your stuff and believe me I can totally relate but there is one factor you are taking for granted…YOU LIVE IN AMERICA. Even if you had the hardest time of all the graphic artist in your country you still live in the capital of the world basicly, how hard you think it’s been for you it is probably nothing compared to what other people might have to deal with IN FACTED I WAS IN TOWN TODAY FOR 5 HOURS LOOKING FOR WIRE FOR MY ARMATURE….MY FUCKING TOWN DOESENT EVEN HAVE WIRE. You simply don’t know so do you not think it’s a bit presumptuous of you to claim that there is a lot of bad artist out there who simply aren’t trying hard enough?? You didn’t even mention the other types of modelling like ARCATEXTURAL MODELING, PROP MAKER, AAAHH the list goes on but you just said give up. A lot of them are probably doing the best they can under the circumstances. I for one was the person who introduced super sculpey to my town…art teachers art shop owners hadn’t a clue what it was also the first time I ordered super sculpey off the internet I got a phone call from the cops asking what it was…they thought it was plastic explosive that’s how retarded my country is.
I have been doing clay models since 2005 now in that time I did nothing for a year due to my friends death, I spent a year making a life size spyro the dragon (not a lot of detail there to home my skills) and then another year doing a fucking PLC course…I cried on days coz I couldn’t do a clay figure…it almost drove me mad and then 2 years of college which to be honest I didn’t do a lot conventional model making, I’m far from a great sculpture but considering all that I said and I never gave up and my skills are slowly but surely improving do you not think it’s possible in the next 2 years that I will become much better??Now that’s just me personally I want to become a teacher…I’d hate to be in the industry you are in and I rather burn in a fire then become a cynical dickhead like yourself. On that note I completely agree with you on some points there are a lot of artist up their own ass and bitch and moan when they don’t succeeded those are up their own ass artist and deserve no second thought; but the sad thing about this is and here is one of the reasons why I think you are full of shit…you are saying that you have to be passionate etc. to make it in the business correct, however the way you said it implied you where one of the top dogs like your skills are not to be questioned because you are on a steady pay. Granted you are a really great artist and I love how you are able to put such expression into your sculpts but just because you are on a steady pay does not make you one of the best, for example my last project was a puppet project…I sucked at it but that’s not the point; it was for a play now when I say my teachers are horrendous I mean it, you should have seen the wire frame they thought us, a monkey with a banana up his ass would have done a better job. Their method of teaching us about puppetry was to look up the internet and see how others did it…not great. This guy made a mechanical bull because it was an option to be in the play or not and he had his heart set on a bull. His legs moved and everything and the button that controlled him was at the end of the chain attached to his nose, it was awesome…he got a C- and to make matters worse there is a girl who didn’t make a puppet but made these flowers for the play she got an A…so just because they liked her and she helped with the play she got an A…….DO YOU THINK THAT’S FAR??? Do you think that just because you are in the industry that it’s all about your skill…it might be that you a likable guy or perhaps just dependable or something to that effect but it doesn’t mean you can say that people should give up just because there having a hard time breaking into the industry, give em a year and they could improve and then you will be the hungry artist. I heard the same words come out of a teacher to a student in the course I did know that student owns her own art shop and sells her work almost every day…now if she had of listened to that teacher and gave up she would have never made it as an artist. There was a former student of the college I’m in…..he was told by these so called professionals like yourself to give up that he could never make it….HE STARTED UP HIS OWN COMPANY …you would have said to him he wouldn’t have got a gold star by the way what a retarded thing to say, you make me sick; people look up to you dude you are in the industry show a little class would ya. You have become the very people that put you down all your life. Now I would show a little more class BUT IM NOT IN THE INDUSTRY; people don’t hang on my every word and hold me in such great respect compared to yourself…dude it’s your job to be awesome and tell it like it is I totally agree don’t sugar coat it at all but really don’t you think you could have chosen a bit more of an elegant way to say (listen guys your art isn’t good enough for industry standards and if you want to be a part of it desperately well you better work your ass off and become a perfectionist or else you won’t make it)….but you decided to say what you said…it’s not what you say it’s the way you say it…you’re a disgrace of a role model you really are. I read your journal 3 times to make sure I wasn’t reading it wrong…me and you have so much in common to when I first seen your work I thought this guys is cool and yes I am studying model making and no I don’t want to be in the industry but I have this great love for fellow model makers. The reason I am so angry is I was always told never do art in fact my dad would stop me from doing art because it was a waste of time in his eyes and he would beat me, it was only in my teenager stage that I started was only trough pain and determination that I got to where I am today and I am ssssoooo far from mastering this skill but I’m never giving up, I want to know as much as possible about the trade so I can teach and guide the next generation. It’s in my nature to teach and help those unfortunate so when I read your journal I hope you can understand my point of view and why it angers me so much to read what you said, coz although you are a really great artist I’ve seen stuff 10 times better than yours so be grateful you are in the industry and have a job you can be proud in. why not try teaching some of your techniques if you are so comfy with your position, what clay? How do you smooth it down etc. coz here is a question to you…if everybody got to start off again at the same time but where given all far education and time to practice despite what language or country…would you still be in the same position you are in now?? Or would you be one of those starving artist???
You never know what can happen in a year…in fact if anyone is reading this you would be surprised how much you can improve with time and the proper knowledge so don’t give up and if you find his type of art just isn’t working for you there are sssoo many other branches to be explored. Not arguing with what you said just the way you said it, I know you were trying to be blunt but to me you just came across as a miserable condescending human being. Like it or not you are a role model and you should start acting like one.
girl1 Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2012
meester meeler... I wanted to be an airbore ranger, I wanted to leev a life of danger.
But I ended up as a sculptor instead.

TKMillerSculpt Featured By Owner Sep 18, 2012  Professional Artist
Thems the breaks!
girl1 Featured By Owner Sep 19, 2012
ah well, castilene makes a nice perfume. i guess there is a silver lining if you look for it.....
KateMcBlair Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2012  Professional Interface Designer
LEIK LEIK LEIK LEIK!!! Unfortunately, I am one of the lazy artists.... hehehe, but hey, I have a full-time job doing GD that wears out my think machine!
TKMillerSculpt Featured By Owner Sep 18, 2012  Professional Artist
Excuses excuses excuses! Get busy, girlie!
KateMcBlair Featured By Owner Sep 19, 2012  Professional Interface Designer
KateMcBlair Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2012  Professional Interface Designer
that's my lazy excuse and I'm stickin to it!
Mazoq Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
I think it's not that simple. It's a good thing that people take part in such events as the Idol, because finding out what you're good at is basically a matter of trial and error. Plus, being an artist is not just being talented, but it requires days and days of constant practice. You don't have to be good in the mere beginning, but you have to make progress, which again serves as the major reason for every poor artists' failure - laziness. The vast majority of people whom I know that graduated from artistic studies went there just for the sake of a degree, as it is often the easiest and requires least effort. A degree doesn't make you a good artist and I actually agree on that matter.

However I think it's quite unfair to just say "you suck at painting, go get a job ad McDonalds", especially if you don't know the certain person's character, life, reasons for choosing this particular career, personal experience and progress before this point. It should all be taken into account. People need to try out new things no matter whether they seem good or bad at them at the beginning. If there is progress and willingness towards development, combined with an enormous amount of work, then the current outcome is not that important as to what is yet to achieve.

So, criticise but don't discourage. Some of the greatest artists started out as complete losers.
jlt528 Featured By Owner Aug 30, 2012
I don't like the fact that EVERYONE on here agrees with you. I refuse to be a lemming, and partake in the suckling of your verbal teat in the hopes that it will produce the fruitful milk of a reply. Although I have no real opinion on the matter, I will disagree with whatever it is you wrote up there, with out reading it, just because it is my first amendment right. There is nothing wrong with striving for the middle, and gold stars taste like shit...
I love you Tim, and you owe me a phone call you busysonofabitch...
p.s. I went back and read it, your teats are marvelous!
TKMillerSculpt Featured By Owner Aug 30, 2012  Professional Artist
Thanks Jay. I will TRY to give a ring tomorrow (Friday). Clients are keeping me wonderfully buried in work, and so everyone's getting very little love from me (as if my cold, dark heart was capable of love).
wingdthing Featured By Owner Aug 30, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
It's amazing to me what is called harsh in this overly PC, bubble wrap protected world. You are honest. A rare commodity now days. My hats off to you for saying the things that most of us just think. Love you for that Mr. Miller. ;)
TKMillerSculpt Featured By Owner Sep 18, 2012  Professional Artist
Thanks Nicole!
avirextin Featured By Owner Aug 30, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I think this might be the first journal that I felt inclined to favorite.

I really want to be a comic artist, and no-one loves me enough to tell me I suck, or at least need practice. xD

I tell myself I suck, so that I can become great at what I like to do... Someday...

Eh, at least I'm good at poetry.
mrk9sp Featured By Owner Aug 29, 2012
My name is Mike Silvin and I endorse this post.
Swindy Featured By Owner Aug 29, 2012  Professional Filmographer
Yep, my boyfriend had to sing in his band for a while, I kept telling him he was bad, it eventually sinked in. Now he has time for the things he's actually good at.
TCookeArt Featured By Owner Aug 29, 2012  Student
Perfect! I'm in art school now, and I do know too many people that get lazy over summer breaks and things. But I'm going to keep working! Keep drawing comics, and keep sculpting!
BlackCat75 Featured By Owner Aug 28, 2012
and I don't think you're harsh. Sometimes people need harsh words
BlackCat75 Featured By Owner Aug 28, 2012
I completely agree!
TKMillerSculpt Featured By Owner Sep 18, 2012  Professional Artist
jay-ecnal Featured By Owner Aug 28, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
a big a$$ amen to that =D
RoyStanton Featured By Owner Aug 28, 2012  Professional General Artist
Agree as well with what you wrote. And can identify with KaitsukeLee's comment about "not letting yourself off the hook". Keeping that in mind helps me to continue to improve, but believe me: there have been times when letting myself off the hook happened far too often.

Thanks for sharing the insight.
alonzobartley Featured By Owner Aug 28, 2012  Professional Filmographer
Couldn't agree with you more, Tim.

With regards to Snigom's response, "The world isn't perfect. You need to face up to that reality and stop concerning yourself with what happens to others who you feel are not deserving. The world doesn't work according to you. Perhaps then, you'll find the success you are looking for."
TKMillerSculpt Featured By Owner Sep 18, 2012  Professional Artist
People often throw around the phrase 'That's not fair!'

Life's not fair, but that's also one of the most powerful motivators once people stop complaining about it.
untilmoraleimproves Featured By Owner Sep 28, 2012
I like Bowie's response in Labyrinth where the girl says "that's not fair" and he says "you say that so often I wonder what your basis for comparison is."
Snigom Featured By Owner Aug 28, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
Thanks for stating what I have been trying to say for a long while. However, there is a segment you left out. What happens when the witless/talentless wonder becomes a super star? *Cough* Rob Leifeld *cough* I suppose the gold star ends up in the wrong hands. Was it HIS fault? No. People liked his ridiculous artistic sloppery and paid money for it.

Now, let's get back to a reality a little closer to home. I have studied and worked hard at being an all-around good artist. I have a lot of talent and I make do when/where I can. What seriously pisses me off is when a talentless, non-trained, anime-copy-cat, makes it big because THEY are cute. Not the art. The person. People love the person so they buy the art...bad as it is. It's easy to say that they will eventually fail. Not when they are being "invited" to conventions and are "invited" to give seminars on how to get published. It's insanity.
darkeye-1 Featured By Owner Aug 28, 2012
much better phrasing than yesterday Tim which made you look bad i thought.
Reason wins every time. Actually one of the wosrt things these days is people being sold false dreams on crappy courses. as you say only hard work gets results.
i sit here in my back room plugging away knowing i am not good enough yet but tenaciously refuse to quit. first do something because you like it then see what happens i feel.

atb --tim
TKMillerSculpt Featured By Owner Sep 18, 2012  Professional Artist
I usually look bad.

You can try to save people tens and sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars on an education that will do them no good, but all you get in return is people calling you a jerk. Figures.
darkeye-1 Featured By Owner Sep 19, 2012
you are not a Jerk (your 'mate' Randy calles ya that,guess he likes you!) i only said the first post made you look bad (old dude rant :) ), this post is more thoughtful and considered. its also true.

i completely agree having experienced a loss on a course that was 'industry standard' and had 'industry Partners' cost me 3.5k $ for a Animation and digital modelling foundation degree; it was bobbins (polite version!!) . i learned more about digital sculpting on line in 10 hrs than 10 weeks there plus they wont give me a refund only a credit note for another course of my choosing.... muthu******* !!

any hoo, unemployed now and trying to pay it so no truer word spoken than in main post above... only hard work and dedication will pay off and in the end, it might be all for nought. i'll just keep at it though.... :)

atb -- another old dude.....
Ballistyc Featured By Owner Aug 27, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
I’m a little upset that there are so many people here that are agreeing with the things you wrote not necessarily because you’re wrong, even though I think you are, but because I think your perception of art has been clouded by your own ‘bad‘ experiences, and you’ve grown a thick scab of cynicism towards those you perceive as being delusional.

Why must you bring up American Idol? The most grandiose from of exploitation (this side of the news) on television. I think being a singer is a little different than being a traditional visual artist. Singing requires a strong diaphragm and lung capacity., and let us not forget the sound of the person’s actual speaking voice. Things which are genetically related. Such as how being an Olympic gymnast requires a short, slender body. Art, on the other hand, can be taught and learnt like any skill.

Your ‘accountant’ analogy doesn’t work for me either because while you can go to school to learn ‘art’, you don’t need art schooling to be an artist. You don’t need to be certified. So the two occupations don’t relate, and that’s because there’s no standard measure as to what defines an artist because art isn’t practical. Oh And this practicality of art brings me to your next point of argument.

You believe only 3% of art school graduates continue with art as their occupation because the rest are either “lazy”, or their egos prevent them from any artistic growth. I think it’s unreasonable to think that all graduates of art schools are going to find a career in art no matter how persistent or talented they may be, because being an artist is atypical career path. It’s not practical, and there’s very little demand for art in the world, and that’s because you don’t need art to survive. Art is something that is neither ‘entertainment’ nor ‘decoration‘, but it exist somewhere in between those two, and so the general public often doesn’t know how to react when presented with art as it doesn’t provide immediate value to life.

Which brings me to your next comment. “Just don't be angry at the world if you like to play with paint and you can't get a job with Big Studio Company because they don't get your vision.
I hate this statement. And I hate how you belittle those who get rejected by commercial companies with the words “play with paint” as if you’re trying to reduce them to children and insinuate that they’re not taking themselves seriously. A company’s opinion on art says little about whether an artist is good or bad, and more about whether they (the artist) are commercially viable. If they can appeal to the greatest denominator. Talent, or lack of talent has little effect. But I think what you were trying to say before you made that statement was again about ego and pride as the cause for disappointment/failure, and all I have to say about that is this isn’t inclusive to the art world. It exist in every commercial institution so there shouldn’t be a need to mention it here.

So let me reiterate by saying that the fact that there are lots of starving artists that exist today’s world doesn’t necessarily mean that they are untalented or even delusional All it means is that these institutions that produce artist, that make promises of fruitful futures, that pump out artists like they’re products in a factory, are broken. The institutions are broken and they should be the ones to blame for the over supply when the world has little applicable demand for art.

Also this “Gold Star” that you referred to. What does it mean? Does it mean approval from your peers? Riches? Perhaps fame? And are these things the end result of ‘art’, and the reason why ‘art’ exist?

Also another thing…
…you never mentioned what you meant by “bad artists”. Since I don’t think art has any practical life applications that are commercially viable, I don’t think the concept of “bad” artists exist. Art is personal. It’s emotional. It’s self indulgent. It’s the visceral expression of the human spirit. Art is an inherent form of human expression. It’s the one thing that defines us, that separates us from all other living things. So how can something that makes you happy, that makes you feel alive, be a bad thing? Especially if it’s not causing you any harm. Isn’t happiness the goal of all life? You might dislike an artist for what you believe is bad art, but since their happiness is the only real measure then “bad” doesn’t exist,. And it also doesn’t mean their “delusional” aspirations can’t make them evolve into something different.

You know I get it. I get everything you’re saying. You’re trying to help people by saying these things so they don’t waste their lives. I think maybe why I’m so devoted to this topic is because I lived your journal post for my entire life. I was never encouraged to pursue my dreams as a kid. In fact I was discouraged all the time, told to give up. Told everything I wanted to do was impossible. Unattainable. I’m not a good artist. I’m not particularly good at anything actually, but I love to try everything. I often wonder what I would be doing, or how much better I would be if I had been supported. I think encouragement goes a long way no matter how inevitable the dream may be. So labelling an artist as “bad” is not something I can do. It robs people of their gift of expression. It can rob people of their happiness.
TKMillerSculpt Featured By Owner Sep 18, 2012  Professional Artist
I probably should have been more clear that I was referring to the commercial arts. I wouldn't ever discourage someone from exploring themselves through the arts, but I'm very opposed to people without talent nor the drive to develop the talent necessary spending fortunes for 'art' educations that will ultimately only saddle them with debt and no real prospects for a career. I agree with you, art is personal; however, the commercial arts are anything except personal.

I never took any art classes, my degree is in biology. ;)
SCOm1359AP Featured By Owner Aug 28, 2012
I heard a rumor somewhere about Bill Watterson - the mind behind Calvin and Hobbes, and one of my all-time favorite artists. After he quit drawing for the Syndicate, he retired to his hometown to paint landscapes. When he's done with a painting, he steps back to admire it for a moment, and then promptly sets it on fire. The reason for this, he says, is because the first 500 are just practice anyway.

I don't know if that's true or not, but it does bring up a valid point which I think Miller is trying to make. Miller's always had a certain "I obviously know what I'm doing and I don't need you to validate me" attitude that can come off a bit blunt. I would definitely consider myself one of these "Bad Artists." Not because I can't draw and believe otherwise, but because I can compare myself to others and see just how far I have to go before I'm entitled to my own attitude.

I think what you may be missing here, Ballistyc, is the difference between an Artist and Graphic Artist. An artist paints their vision and hopes to make money selling it to others. A Graphic Artist takes money to paint someone elses vision for them. It's easy to call yourself an artist and almost as easy to get other people to do the same. I have some modecum of skill, and most everyone around me who doesn't tells me I'm "Quite the talented artist," because of course they don't see the difference between talent and skill. The point is, I've been called an artist. I've even sold a few pieces, but that doesn't mean anyone is willing to pay me to work for them full time. I'm not good enough.

When I fail to get a job, I certainly don't blame anyone at that company. It's their job to hire the best, and I'm not it. The accountant analogy, I think is similar to something George Carlin once said. "Somewhere out there, just through process of elimination, is the world's worst doctor." Joe may be the world's worst accountant. Is he willing to put in the work to become the a better one? That's not mentioned. But as it sits, he'd probably be better off in the food service industry.

Artists "starve," not because they're unskilled, but because they lack the ability to step aside and view their work objectively. If someone can't see their own work from the commercial perspective of a buyer or employer - If they can't get out of what they're trying to present and try to see how others will read into it - then they'll forever be limited as an "artist."

Art schools, I think concentrate too much on "Fine Art." That was a term thrown around too often at mine. Painting, Sculpture, Photography, sure. Illustration and comic books? Less so. My art teachers didn't take comics seriously. They certainly didn't make any promises about my future as an artist. All they did, and all they were responsible for was technique and critique. they made it clear that to be good at anything required first and foremost time. 10'000 hours on average before you can be considered "good."

Singers and Olympic Gymnasts need certain genetic factors, but they are not the be all end all of their profession. Singers have coaches. Gymnasts have trainers. In Basketball, it is generally accepted one needs to be tall, but there are short players who have found ways to work around a height deficiency. In art, it's generally accepted that one have the use of their hands to paint, but that didn't stop Christy Brown from getting a book deal. Time and Effort help one to improve, but if they don't have the time or they don't take the time, they never will. It's why people get booed off American Idol (assuming. I'm proud to say I've never actually watched an episode), and it's why George Clooney had to lip synch in "Oh Brother, Where Art Thou."

The point is, I am a bad artist. I've not put in the 10'000 hours needed to be good. But I'm not a starving one. I know I have skill, but I also know my skill is not near good enough to be commercially viable. Yet. It doesn't mean that I stop trying, it just means I look for other avenues to afford groceries and pay my rent.

Oh, and a "Gold Star" is a reference to the practice of elementary school teachers to award students who do well with a sticker on their paper. In my class, everyone tried, but not everyone got one.
TijonWolfsMajestys Featured By Owner Aug 27, 2012  Student Traditional Artist
Beautiful advice :) perfectly done.

srspicer Featured By Owner Aug 27, 2012
Well said. I can't really argue with it, not that I would, because I agree.

qzbk Featured By Owner Aug 27, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
I totally agree. My father was a professional artist for Westinghouse and Martin Marietta for years and supported a family of eight by doing it. My mother also was a professional artist who did work for several now defunct department stores.
I have been told that I have talent but at the same time I have nowhere near the discipline my father and mother did. I have sold art and even did conceptual work for Reaper Miniatures (Sophie was my idea). However I've seen real artists so I've never called myself one. I say "If you can pay the bills by doing it then you're and artist.
spacecowboy76 Featured By Owner Aug 27, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I totally agree with you, and hopefully you won't mind me saying that there is nothing more f*cking annoying than reading a long page of centered text. The silver on dark gray background I can fathom but not the centered text.

Why are there so many starving artists in the world?

Aside from all that you've said, I think it needs to be added that in order to make money you need to help other people make money. There is something to be said for making art which makes people happy, but when it comes to making rent and car payments - that requires something more.

This isn't a matter of good art vs bad art, commercial verses integrity, but whether its ethical to lead people into believing that they can continue to do what they have been doing to make themselves happy and still operate in a modern society.

That's the stinger.
o0isabella0o Featured By Owner Aug 27, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks for having the guts to post this. I totally agree with everything you said.
johnnyjester Featured By Owner Aug 27, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I agree that there is way too much coddling out there. People want to hear a sweet lie instead of the truth, sometimes. You don't improve when you are receiving inaccurate feedback from your peers. Art schools are just used car dealerships and their recruiters are purely in it for the money. They don't give a shit about their students. I'm not saying there aren't some great teachers out there....there are. Just don't trust someone's opinion about your talent or potential when they holding your credit card, grant, or student loan money. They have absolutely nothing to gain by being honest with you.

Persistence is still king....passion is what gives you that persistence....if your work feels like play then there is a VERY good chance you are in the right field. Art is absurdly subjective and five people will often give you TOTALLY different opinions about the same piece of art. What matters is that you enjoy what you are doing and that you get paid. Don't worry about some art snob's opinion if you are paying your bills and having a wonderful life. :) Stay positive!
RoCueto Featured By Owner Aug 27, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Sacrifice is a funny world, most people think sacrifice means missing out on a couple parties, you don't realize what it means until you're facing eviction and have lost who you thought would be the love of your life in the pursuit of a project.

Then you wonder if it was worth it and you get deeply depressed and it's time to really evaluate your life.
MishkedehBizikhe Featured By Owner Aug 27, 2012  Professional Filmographer
Reminds me of my favourite sayings: "There is no such thing as a starving artist, only a lazy one".
Nightclaw7725 Featured By Owner Aug 27, 2012
I completely agree with all this except for 1 thing. Not all art students are lazy. I went to art school in undergrad and my senior year there was spent getting 2-4 hours of sleep a night (not an exaggeration) working 35 hours a week at a job, 5 classes and spending the rest of the time working on my craft. Now I am in Graduate school, working my ass off just as hard.

I do understand that there are alot of kids who think they are the best artists ever and are clearly not. There are alot who go to art school because they think it is easy. I can honestly say, after going to 2 different ones, art school is hard work. Those who cant hack it, fail out. I go to the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, CA. Our retention rate is like 30%. This is because they weed out the crappy artists.

All Im saying is not all art students are soft, pretentious, self righteous, and lazy. I developed my rhino hide and my insane work ethic because of art school. We arent all lazy and we dont all need to be coddled. I enjoy a good artistic thrashing...when it comes from the right person, it makes my artwork better!

Other than that, you make a great point!

AndrewJHarmon Featured By Owner Aug 27, 2012
So is this your way of telling me I suck? ;)

Honestly, I feel the exact same way. It's not to say that people haven't realized their dreams when they've been shot down. But those kind of successes are stories for a reason, because it happens so rarely. But you've nailed everything beautifully on the proverbial head.
LoveoftheDark Featured By Owner Aug 27, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Well said, Mister! Those of us who only like to dabble, really should stick to just dabbling. I think its hard for some people to grasp that there really is such a thing as natural talent and learned talent. Anyone can learn the basic mechanics of light and shadow, foreshortening, and dimension. Not everyone has "the eye" for art. I don't care how many classes a person takes, or how many different types of art degrees they buy...if they don't have that EYE for it, they just aren't gonna make it.
As much as I love art and would love to get paid for drawing all day (I know that's not how it works) I know that I am one of those who has a little bit of learned skill, and not much of the other. LOL
ImagineTheEnding Featured By Owner Aug 27, 2012  Student Digital Artist
I agree and disagree. A part of me feels it is very important to be realistic with one's art. Look at themselves and say "Is this good?". However, because there is such a grand difference of opinions on art, it's very hard to tell someone their art is bad. What's wrong with American Idol is not that they are "delusion". It's not that people didn't tell them they were bad. The people themselves didn't observe their own talent and question where it could take them. Perhaps, if they were realistic with themselves, they could learn how to sing at some point of their lives. Anyone can achieve their dreams. That's not unrealistic. It's simply true. It just depends on the artist and how much they want it.

For instance, one of my teachers, paints Magic cards. He's extremely good. You'd think he was drawing when he was 5. He wasn't though. He didn't really paint professionally until college. In fact, he had no idea what he wanted to do in life, and it wasn't as though his work blew any one a way. He applied to a couple of publishers and they turned him down. One ripped him a new one, or was "harsh" as you said. He didn't let that get him down though. He didn't let the rejection stop him. Which got him in gear, and he improved, and now he does award winning pieces.

Now if he read this, and he believed it. Believed he wouldn't be one of the few to make it into the business, he wouldn't be where he was today. All artists need a little enthusiasm, and that's what I learned through college. Even though I like harsh criticism, I, at the end of the day, just didn't want to hear another story from my teacher about 'How I couldn't make it". After a while I wanted to hear that I could. The art business is hard, and the best way to get through is to have that drive. To have a bit of delusion, whatever that means.

There's a lot of "bad" artist that become successful. Because they wouldn't take "no" for an answer. It's good to receive criticism. it's not good to define "bad" and "good art, realize you aren't in "good" art, and lay over and die. Just because someone isn't accepted commercially, doesn't mean they don't have a chance.
Superbum Featured By Owner Aug 27, 2012  Student General Artist
I think you make some good points here.
DiRi Featured By Owner Aug 27, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
great words... and so true!
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