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Things to think about before you even get started

Art is just a container you pour yourself into.

Jerry Saltz, How to be an Artist

Over a year ago I found a New York Magazine/Vulture article called “How to be an artist” by Jerry Saltz. I found out later he had expanded his ideas from 33 to 62 “rules” and published a book in 2020 by the same name.

In the year of our pandemic, I learned just how important art is to human endurance. We all turned to art as the isolation crept deeper into our lives – be it Netflix binges, knitting, bread making, or curating pandemic playlists.

For me it was a matter of basic survival. I needed art to remember how to live, how to be human, how to reach out to another living soul who shared their creation. To embrace art was how embraced my own humanity in a world where being near humans was potentially deadly.

In the past 596 days of life-altering change – I have come to accept that I want to live and breathe as an artist.

I’ve fallen in love, I’ve been loved. I’ve fucked around and found out. I’ve written hundreds of words, penned a couple of jokes, told even fewer jokes, ignored the art that brought me joy in the past, and carried on in the least joyous ways possible. I bought or borrowed books I never read I started watching TV shows and movies I never finished. I listened to the same song on an endless loop. I slept at all hours and cried for days.

After a year of closings and re-opening just to close again, I started working on a plan to re-open and restart my own life.

“How to be an artist” is one piece of my post-pandemic plan.

I am a rank amateur. I have few useful living skills. I have even less artistic talent.

What I do have is a desire to live as authentically as possible. I’m the only person I can be and I’ve spent far too long living small and trying to shrink myself to fit into the lives of those I love.

These mind-bending days have shown me that I’m only fucking myself over by treating my life as insignificant or inconsequential.

Here I am, about to being the most significant and consequential group of projects I’ve ever undertaken.

I’m armed with words, craft supplies, a writing tablet, social media accounts, a smartphone and a laptop computer.

Get to work!

Jerry Saltz, How to be an artist

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