We know that making art is hard. It’s one of the bravest acts of courage and self-love we experience. If you’re just starting out with your creative career, or finding yourself conflicted about making art versus finding a job to pay the bills, here are 10 inspiring and practical quotes from real Wild Hearts about how they grind to make the time.
#1. “It’s not an option to skip it.”
I wake up early, which is so hard for me! A wise woman once told me, “Everyone, and everything in the universe is trainable.” She was actually referring to the shape of my eyebrows and my need to pluck them more often, but I’ve transferred that philosophy over to my art process. I’ve trained myself to enjoy getting up early and going to my art studio before my day job. I’ve trained myself to think of ideas throughout the day. I’ve trained myself to refer to myself as “an artist,” which was a huge emotional step, and means that I HAVE to carve out this time–it’s not an option to skip it. It’s always hard giving up your mornings or your social time to do art instead, but if you announce to yourself, “This is what I’m all about, and this is crucial to my existence and identity,” you’ll be more likely to make the time you need. – Mari Andrew, illustration
#2. “Just make things.”
I constantly doubt myself, feel uncertain about my art, worry that I’ll never be good enough but ultimately it’s the need to create that always brings me back. If you love making art you need to throw yourself into it completely because if you don’t then things probably won’t work out. JUST MAKE THINGS! And of course it’s good to be competitive but it’s also important to encourage your peers and find people who are also really encouraging because honestly there’s enough work out there for everyone. – Kristen Liu-Wong, drawing/painting
#3. Write everything down. Go with it and come back to it later.
my mamma gave me a diary when i was really young and i remember i would write everything down, from what i did to what i ate that day and all my inner inner thoughts. nowadays, i don’t do that as much! self-editing is a real problem for me. if you’re an aspiring writer, especially one who writes in prose/poetry, write every thing down. write down what you ate, write down where you went, your feelings, your most intimate thoughts, and don’t worry if it doesn’t sound as eloquent, poetic or put together as you would like it to sound. just go with it and come back to it later to pick out things that look promising and build up on it. this is a strategy i’m really working on too, so it’s okay to continue chipping away at it. we are all learning.” – Ena Ganguly, poetry
#4. Work with other people.
I’m always seeking learning, I’m addicted to learn new things or challenge my work to digest what I have learned by in-merging myself in different cultural traditions and by working with other people. I think sharing is also part of my need to learn, i love to share knowledge and see how other people go through the “Wow” when they realized something is new and it makes sense. I often look for diversity of cultural traditions in textile on my work and I try to narrate my stories as if the thread is connecting us all. I like to think that every time I start a new series is because I have solved an equation (series of work) and then i move onto to solve the other and so forth, like a any storyteller, artists have to move with their contemporaneity and tell stories of their time to leave a trace and thread history, more so if you are a womxn, it is us that can tell it better. – Aurora Molina, fiber art
#5. Don’t wait for the culture gatekeepers to give you permission.
Make it happen. Why wait for the culture gatekeepers to open the doors for you? Make some wheatpaste and remix ads like Street Cred. Grab a pen, make a comic, and post it on social media. Form an art collective with your friends. Museums and institutions have never included people like me or my community. Why not do something that will truly shift power?
For me, cultural equity is about the right for everyone to be creative, to be fully human, and to reach our full potential. Why shouldn’t the janitors who clean museums have the right to be considered great artists? Why even make the distinction between artists and non-artists? Don’t we tell our kids that everyone is an artist? Even if more people of color can make a living as artists, we still need to make sure the janitors and the marginalized will not get left behind. – Kayan Cheung-Miaw, comics/social movement art
#6. Create deadlines for yourself.
I try to create deadlines for myself. With the positive affirmation pieces I do, I tell people that they’ll come out every Friday and Monday. So I feel the need to deliver on those days. For other pieces, I try to use them as a way to de-stress or treat myself.- Hana Shafi AKA Frizz Kid, pen/watercolour/digital
#7. View creating as therapy.
I’ve had a lot of struggles with depression and anxiety and I’ve had therapists tell me that because of my personality, like if I’m not creating that is crushing my soul and that’s making me feel worse. So I need to constantly be creating something or doing something productive and creative to kind of keep my soul alive and that’s what it does for me and that’s how I like to think of it- kind of like fuel for my soul almost. – Ferran Nicolls, sculpture
#8. Share your art with your friends.
I feel like I’m partially in that stage. The fear of exhibiting whatever it is that they’re creating. It’s very hard to label yourself an artist because of the way that label has been used in the past or the narratives that I’ve been exposed to and how they’ve explained artists. They’re like these divinely created individuals so I guess I would say start small. Just share with your fellow artist friends or just share with your friends. Don’t be afraid to post on social media. Don’t be afraid to take little steps and I feel like once you start making those connections people will see something that you don’t. Like when I show someone a video they’ll be like oh that’s great and I look at it and kinda cringe because I see all the things I think are wrong with it. I think it’s important to open up your abilities to the world – at least your immediate world and it will have a domino effect. People will find out in some way and you’ll be exposed, like someone might say oh there’s an art show going on, could you do this? Or someone has a band and they need cover art. I feel like it can open up an outlet that is more public. – Susan Stewart, videography
#9. Remember where you came from.
Always remember who you are and where you come from. Never shut down an opportunity where you can fearlessly express all of who you are and stand for. And wherever you stand, always thank the soil you stand on. Acknowledge that your creativity is inherited from your ancestors, as you share your voice, you are voicing the generations before you and their stories. And most importantly, always give back to what has helped you grow. – Damneet Kaur, poetry
#10. Believe in your talent and carry on!
Don’t let nobody stop your passion for art! unfortunately, even in 2016, art and creativity are seen as a loss of time or only as a childish activity… I came across in people that didn’t take my job seriously so many times…don’t let these people discourage you! Believe in your talent and carry on! – L0lle, illustration