These are the quotes that have helped guide our studio practices in critical moments.
If you're not an artist currently enrolled in school or working in a shared space, chances are, you spend a lot of time alone in your studio. Without the feedback from your peers and mentors, moments of doubt can often snowball into bigger anxieties.
On days when we just aren’t feeling confident, ideas aren’t flowing, or we pushed ourselves to the brink to meet a tight deadline, these are the quotes that keep us going. Whether we have committed them to memory or have them posted prominently on our studio walls, these are the ones we come back to time and again.
Many of them have personal, lasting significance to us and have shaped the way we think about working in the arts. We believe you might feel the same.
You know your work better than anyone else.
You know where your work came from and where it is headed. Accepting people’s reactions to your work as truth, or trying to change your work to fit their expectations, is a direct path to making work that doesn’t ignite your interests.
Trust your intuition and get out of your head.
Many artists have the tendency to overthink their ideas and fall prey to letting their perfectionism get the best of them. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to get to your next brilliant idea. Often, the most honest answer to your artwork is the most intuitive.
If you are having trouble accessing your truth, take five minutes to sit silently in your studio. Meditating for even a few minutes a day can greatly improve your creativity, mood, and health.
There is no “right” way to create art.
Being an artist is one of the only jobs that you don’t have to prove your credentials to get to claim yourself as being an artist. You just are.
The best part about being an artist is that you get to interpret the world around you the way you experience and see it — from your perspective. No one else can tell you how to do that.
When in doubt, put the work in.
Above all, put in the time and trust the process. Working with your hands can inform your creative ideas.
The more you make, the more you are able to see what is working and what isn’t and the more you will be able to grow. The more you work, the more you catch onto things. It is the artists who put in the work that get somewhere with their artwork.
Consider everything an experiment.
Never go into the creative process thinking that if the end result isn’t perfect, you have failed.
By considering your art practice an experiment, and by allowing yourself to make mistakes, you are growing as an artist — don’t ever stop. If you ask yourself at the end of the day, “did I learn something?” and you can answer “yes,” it was a valuable experience.
Not everything needs to be a masterpiece.
Art has the potential to make a huge impact on politics, society, and humanity as a whole. But, it doesn’t always have to have a purpose. You don’t owe anyone anything with your art — not your teachers, your friends or the greater population.
If all that comes out of your artwork is that it makes you happier and brings you joy, that is enough.
It can be stifling to your creativity to walk into the studio each day thinking you have to make something important. Have fun with your artwork; the world needs joy and lightness as much as it needs the important works.
Aim for the flow-states through concentrated work.
This one isn’t always possible and it’s not a goal you can strive to attain, but rather it’s a message about what we can hope to achieve through focused work. Some people call this the “flow-state” or “getting in the zone.”
By concentrating on your task at hand and getting completely immersed in the process, you start to lose track of time, of worry, of criticism and of your inner-distractions.
Flow states have largely been attributed to high-performance levels in artistic fields, as well as sports and science. They also have been credited with providing happiness over the long run and creating deep meaning, purpose, and growth.
Practicing an art — at any capacity — is good for your soul.
Exercising your creativity is just like physical exercise. Creative activity makes you healthier, happier and enriches your life. You don’t have to be the artist with a capital "A" to make art. In fact, everyone should practice an art form just for the sake of creating art.