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Submitted on
August 27, 2012


7,341 (2 today)
26 (who?)

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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  • Reading: More H.P. Lovecraft goodness.
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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.....
bigkate Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2012
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!
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