I have been doing a lot of writing as of late about my work and my teaching style, and I came up with a good list of rules for artists. If one follows them with some dedication, one’s career should be long and fruitful. Here they are, in no particular order:
1. Always look at art.
2. Always read about art.
3. Maintain a close circle of creative friends.
4. Stay in the studio.
5. Keep painting.
6. Make as much work as possible.
7. Draw everyday. Write everyday.
8. Spend your spare money on travel.
9. Read everything: blogs, reviews, The New York Times, art magazines, foreign presses.
10. Build and maintain a solid web presence.
11. Understand how to operate power tools.
12. Enter shows. Submit your work.
13. Be nice to everyone.
14. Be prepared to work for free or cheap a lot, especially in the beginning.
15. Save your receipts, and make friends with an accountant. Understand self-employment tax codes.
16. Have a point of view or something to paint about.
17. Don’t abuse your body. Be mindful of the fitness of your hands, arms, back, and eyes.
18. Spend money on supplies; you don’t need a car or cable or a totally killer apartment.
19. There are no shortcuts. Painting takes time, and that’s its beauty.
20. Be a good citizen. (Duh.)