If you were to give a single piece of advice to a budding artist, what would it be?
Associate with those you want to be.
Human are group creatures and are shaped by the group, as often demonstrated in candid camera episodes where people do all kinds of strange things just because other are doing them. Associate with lazy people and you will become lazy, and so on. It is not a coincidence that guys like Picasso and Matisse knew each other, teased each other, encouraged and spurned each other on. Find people whose energy you appreciate and stick to them.