April 13, 2011

Motivation Part II: What Keeps You Going

Well, thanks so much for the great response to Part I of this off-the-cuff pep talk!  So let's say you have triumph-of-the-will and have successfully gotten over any issues of jealousy, fear, creative sloth or otherwise.  Now what? 
You keep your metaphorical Aston Marten in high gear, that's what!  
It's going to need maintenance, so here's some food for thought :

Some people are born with it, some people are nurtured in to it, and some people struggle with it forever.  No matter what, you can get it.  I think it's easy to assume if you act confident, you will come off as arrogantBut that doesn't have to be the case. 

Arrogance is thinking you know everything.  Confidence is being secure in the fact that you know something.

When Luciano Pavarotti, arguably history's greatest tenor, fired his voice coaching staff because he felt they were superfluous, his ability almost immediately plummeted.  Aaaaand he hired them back.  If you accept the fact that you will constantly be learning stuff, your confidence won't be confused with arrogance.  Whatever you master, you will still be a student in something else.  But isn't that an exciting prospectThere is so much to know!  So little time!  Ah the tragedy and joy of living!

So be proud of what you've accomplished, and be psyched about where you can go!

"Boys, be ambitious!" as William S. Clark once said. Or "Damn the torpedoes, full steam ahead!" as yelled by Col. Farragaut - whichever you fancy.  Set a goal and fill your life with ways to move you towards it.  Filmmaker Chris Marker and his production team went to the 10:30AM showing of "An American in Paris" e v e r y   s i n g l e   m o r n i n g  until the film's completion because it specifically kept him motivated on that project.  Don't let your inspirations fizzle out, even if you are having an off day.

When Paramount Pictures told Ed Wood that his movies "are the most horrendous, obnoxious practical-jokes of film-making" he said "Okay, my next one will be better."

Right the eff ON.

When you tie your work to your emotions, it's easy to get hurt.  Growing up - especially in my angsty teen years - I felt that art was solely an expression of myself.  That it was all about "letting people see my feelings."  Well, that's kind of sillyOf course art is a fabulous outlet for such things.  Art therapy is in my mind, one of the most excellent resources for anyone.

Art is my passion.  However, illustration is my business.

I said in the previous section that at the top there is a lot of responsibility.  You have to step up and meet it head on.  Be on time, be professional, be kind, and above all, don't worry if you get passed over for a gig.  If you are good to work with your reputation will build on it's own - no need to fret about it.

If an art director chooses someone else for an art job - it's okay - it's like choosing a different album in your collection.  They just feel like listening to Hendrix today instead of Bo Diddly. 

Stop one mid-sentence - even in your mind.  Excuses start you on the road back to your old nonsense (like fear of success.)

In my painting classes at the Museum, I drill into my students that they are never ever never ever ever allowed to say "I suck at (insert here)". If you say it enough, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy....

At my first interview, I was about 19/20, showing my portfolio to an assistant at the Boston Globe.  I apologized for everything! "Sorry, this isn't that great...","I could do better on that one..." et cetera...
Visibly irritated, he shut my book, slid it back to me and said, "Maybe you should come back when you're ready."

I almost peed myself.

Those words changed my life.  He was so right.

 Put in everything you got, accept critiques of your work, and knock their socks off next time around.

So I hope this has been beneficial!   Thanks for reading, guys!


  1. These have been soo wonderful Veronica!!

  2. This is great! Next time I'm having a block or having trouble getting motivated, I'll just reread these peptalks! XD Thanks for posting these ^.^

  3. These motivational posts are wonderful. I think I'll start my days with these now. <3

    I feel confident in the work I've created so far, but I so look forward to all the things I haven't learned yet.

    Thank you, Veronica. <3

  4. So glad you like them, thanks guys!

  5. Love the tips and the little stories behind them. I think I do the same in over-apologizing. Something I definitely need to be wary of. I think I would have just started crying if he said that. ^^;;

  6. Anonymous16.4.11

    This is Hector Aguilar and you could have not hit the nail on the head better than you did! Today has been terrible dealing with a client i have been working with.to the point where i kinda wanted to give up on him, but after a few deep breaths and a few smokes later i was determined not to walk away from this guy.Like you said in your blog i will blow him away with this sculpture iam working on.You and Andy are a great insperation to me as for being working artist and still living her in Worcester i never give up on the thought that one day soon i will stop having to look for work they will come to me!

  7. Hey Hector! Thanks for the kind words! If this guy is seriously being unreasonable, you should bill him for your time and think about breaking the relationship. But that's only something you can gauge, of course. Good luck!