HOW TO BECOME A FEARLESS ARTIST

What is the point of art?

My answer:

The purpose of art is to empower others.

1. You are already an artist.

I think that ART isn’t some pretentious bullshit, where we need to spell art with a capital ‘A’.

Rather, I see art for the people.

Every child is born an artist — the question is:

How do we stay artists as we get older? (PICASSO)

2. Re-discover your inner-child

Do you remember when you were a kid and everything was possible? When your parents still actually encouraged you to experiment and try out new shit for fun? Before you were forced to go to prison (school), and forced to sit down, and now you are given Ritalin/other drugs to ‘pay attention?’

3. Society wants you to shut up and be a good/passive citizen

Honestly, I see society as pretty fucked up — especially to our kids, and to us ‘adults.’

We are being oppressed, via drugs, social convention, and our own self-limited beliefs.

4. Only pursue what you’re interested (curious) about

For example, as a child, before we are corrupted by school and society — we run free. We have no rules in creating art and paintings. I remember when I was 2 years old (according to my mom), I would sit in my little plastic fisher-price blue table, and would sit, focused; rapt — in immense concentration for hours on end, making drawings. She knew I would be an artist from that point forward.

Then when I got sent to school, I remember how bored I was in class. To tell a child to sit down in a chair for 1 hour and to passively listen to a teacher is probably the worst thing you can do for a child’s creativity. My dream is to create my own Montessori school — a school in which kids can run around free, and still have teacher supervision — but teachers that encourage creativity in children; rather than oppress them.

It didn’t get no better in middle school or high school. Same thing. I was told to swallow the same state-mandated curriculum. I don’t remember anything I learned in middle school or high school.

In college — I finally had the chance to study what I was actually interested in. And for the first time in my life (after studying Sociology) — I actually started to go to class for fun. I enjoyed what I was learning. I still remember the most stunning moment for me, when I got a B in class (instead of an A), and I still enjoyed the experience. I realized that I didn’t care about what grade I got — what I cared about was my personal edification (self-building of my mind).

5. Do the minimum amount of work at your day job without getting fired (maximum upside, minimum downside)

I got prisoned (again) once I graduated college at age 21, and got a full-time job. Back to prison. I had to sit in my cubicle, shut up, answer emails, and swallow the rules of others. I fell victim to petty office politics. If I could do it all over again, what I would have done was this:

Do the minimum amount of work at my 9–5 job not to get fired — and then use the rest of the time to screw around, play ping pong, and to build up my side-business.

To me this is a smart strategy. Get the maximum upside from a 9–5 office job (getting a steady salary), with the minimum downside (desiring to get a raise, and falling victim to office politics, bullshit, etc). Rather than being the slave of the ‘man’ — you wake the ‘man’ your slave.

If I could have given my 21 year old self advice, it would be this:

Eric, you have it pretty good — making $40,000 a year at your job (with benefits). Just do the minimum work not to get fired. Build up your blog on the side, and just keep riding that gravy train until you run it dry. Take advantage of your company, and don’t ‘try hard’ to get promoted. Get into work as late as possible, and leave work as early as possible. Take the longest lunch possible (without getting fired). Then everything else in life is upside.

6. The biggest fear of being an artist is self-imposed fear

The biggest deterrent to us making art is fear of being judged negatively.

Society doesn’t encourage art. Because society is controlled by pretentious critics, ‘curators’, and ‘taste-makers.’

I think society should belong to the creators, not to the self-congratulatory critics.

This is my personal rule:

Ignore the feedback from any sort of art or photography critic or curator — unless you look at their art or photos and actually like their work.

Because it is easy for anyone to be art critic. In theory, you could create a random algorithm computer-generated AI (artificial intelligence) art critic that spews nonsense like:

This work lacks originality, panache, and force. The juxtaposing forms are too much to comprehend. The artist is obviously trying to create his work in a liminal space — and he has no idea which side he is trying to explore.

You can critique any work of art with this superficial, vacuous, and random jargon (words).

8. Art critics are posers.

Honestly, when I wanted to learn more about art, photography, and the masters — I did a lot of research online, and I bought a lot of art books.

But honestly, 99.9% of these art critics and writers seemed to just want to show off how smart they were. Their writing was like masturbation. And I don’t like to watch others masturbate. I would prefer to masturbate myself, or better yet, have sex myself.

To be honest, to even be an ‘art collector’ is kind of like watching porn, versus actually having sex.

To me, whenever I hear that people have spent $1,000,000 on some Jackson Pollock or ‘modern art’ — I just think to myself:

I would rather just buy a big ass canvas, and make my own Jackson Pollock by throwing random paint on the canvas, and I would have fun doing it — like a big-ass kid.

Not only that, but the reason why a lot of people collect expensive art is to show off. They want to feel sophisticated. And if you are rich with no artistic taste, what better way to signal that you are ‘cultured’ than by buying expensive art, inviting your friends over for champagne and caviar, talk about liberal politics, and schmooze?

9. Critics have no spine

Sorry I’m ranting a bit.

But essentially, let us break the glass ceiling of art. Fuck art critics, and photo critics. Let them masturbate to their own words and thoughts. They will never have the backbone to create their own work and art — because they are too scared to be ridiculed (think of the food critic in the movie Ratatouille). They will be like a jellyfish — no spine (thanks Kendrick).

10. How to build a steel spine

Be like Wolverine. Have a steel (adamantine) spine. Know that your haters will try to kill you, by shooting you with bullets. The bullets will go through your flesh. You will feel the indescribable pain — you will feel your flesh on fire, and still feel every electric impulse of pain. But, you will regenerate. You will get pissed off, and just get stronger.

You will become (as Nassim Taleb says): ‘Anti-fragile.’ That which harms you actually makes you stronger. You will gain ‘post-traumatic GROWTH’ (not harm).

Think about it — what if you made a superhero in which he were like Wolverine (in which he could in theory not die, and had instant regeneration) — except whenever someone shot a bullet through him, Wolverine absorbed the bullet, and actually got stronger and bigger?

This would be the ultimate ANTI-FRAGILE hero.

And this is what real-life human beings can be.

11. How to go BEAST-MODE

For me, I feel like I am on a new level.

I’ve evolved into some sort of monster or beast.

I used to be scared of haters and mean anonymous comments online.

Now I really don’t give a fuck. I will say what I want, to help speak up for those who are de-powered. I want to empower others, to become the best artist they possibly can.

So now whenever someone hates on me, criticizes me — whatever, I get STRONGER. I get more aggressive, more self-confident, and more beast-mode.

12. Make the art that you want to see

So friend, regardless of what kind of artist you are — have supreme confidence in yourself. Never doubt yourself. Don’t require the ‘opinion’ or ‘feedback’ of others. Make yourself your own judge or arbiter of your creative work.

And share art that you like. Share photos you like. Share illustrations you like. Share videos you like. And it don’t matter if you only get 1 view — as long as you have empowered at least 1 other human being, you have done your job as an artist.

Be strong, Eric

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