Avoid plexiglas and brush your teeth

Sometimes people wait for the good ideas, but good ideas aren’t the only things that produce good art. Sometimes, just picking up a bad idea and seeing how it works can produce something of value. So if you’re sitting around waiting for inspiration or a foolproof idea, you’re losing a lot of time.

So many young artists I meet don’t seem to have understood that they’re going to spend their whole lives as artists. They’re in a hurry because they feel that if they’re not a success right out of the gate they’re going to be a lifelong failure. I encourage you to think in a much longer arc, to take it easy and do it for the long haul—not to have a preconceived idea of what success is in relation to a durational framework. Some artists are successful early on, others later.

Sometimes students also have misconceptions about what success is, mistaking the social aspects associated with success for actually making a successful artwork. To have a gallery, to have a big studio, and to make money isn’t necessarily to make good art. Don’t confuse those two things. I encourage you to think more historically and consider what your contribution to art could be, not about what your art practice can bring you in terms of material things.

Christopher Williams, “Avoid Plexiglas and Brush Your Teeth: Christopher Williams on How to Excel as an Artist”.
In Artspace: http://www.artspace.com/magazine/news_events/book_report/christopher-williams-akademie-x-excerpt-53592


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