Professional Writer ♦ Amateur Swashbuckler

Make Good Art

“Life is sometimes hard. Things go wrong, in life and in love and in business and in friendship and in health and in all other ways that life can go wrong. And when things get tough, this is what you should do. Make good art.” – Neil Gaiman

In a commencement speech, Neil Gaiman summarized the duty, purpose and routine of every creative. It’s really a simple edict, to make good art. It really doesn’t matter what’s happened in your personal or professional life, your responsibility, your job as a creator is to make good art.

To use Kantean ethics, making good art is the end. Life itself, becomes the means. Making bad art even, is a form of means. To produce good art seems daunting, but in reality it is accomplished through consistency of the form, by showing up, by making bad art often enough you learn what to avoid or improve.

The more you dive into nuance, to the details and minutia of any creative craft, it can start to cloud the actual results you are working for. To make good art.

Life is complicated, messy and disorderly. It will seek to distract you from your goals and purposes, to suggest you should be trying to accomplish wild and crazy things, to reach for the impossible. If you are an artist, it really is as simple as making good art.

In late 2021, Scott Hebert, a friend and artist in Chillawack BC realized if he wanted to become a full time artist, his job was simple: to make art and sell art. Since you cannot sell art you do not have, he needed to start making art. For thirty days, he challenged himself to paint everyday on a livestream. He averaged 4.5 hours each day. Not everything he made was good, but at the end, he had become a better artist and his epiphany was reinforced. He needed to make good art, even if to get there he occasionally made bad art.

Don’t choose to overcomplicate the matter. Don’t get mired in technique, study, form and style. You will drive away the muses by inquisition and obtuseness. Simply sit down and make art, if it’s on a page, canvas, sculpture or whatever. Make something, and make it as good as you can.

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