acts of art 19 -“Advice to the Young”


This is my final post in this series. I hope you have all found at least one viable idea or inspiration somewhere amongst the presentations.

I taught high school art for 25 years so I think I can claim to know something about “Advice to the Young”. Mostly I know that some things never change. As a teen and beyond I rejected ‘advice’ from any and all manifestations of authority. My students were the same. This is how it must be, to follow our own path, learning and understanding through experience, not advice. So why this video? On one level I would be surprised if any young, creative person was even aware of this video. I chose it because it works so well as the last in this series of exploring the creative process. I find it almost endearing how these 8 well established and famous artists respond to the question. It’s the most natural thing that we try to pass on what we think we have learned to our young.

When I was teaching I encouraged my graduating students to explore Life in all of its myriad, miraculous facets before committing to Art School / University and the stress and financial burden of ‘higher’ education. Because…Making Art is a reflection of our life, expressing and sharing who we are as humans and our dances with each other. For most this doesn’t come. like the blues, until the heartbreaks, frustrations and angst of our 20s and 30s. And yet, even in my dotage, there are more days than not that I feel ‘young’. Not the energy young of youth but the young of ‘beginner’s mind’ and the young of standing before the work of a maestro, a master of their art, on line or if you are blessed, a personal mentor.

Art is very capable of Magic, It seems I have known this forever. Some of our young will feel, hear and follow the call, most will not. It has always been so.

I had a few epiphanies along the way: Gratitude. Creative loneliness. Listening (I mean really listening)…and wondering who we all are out here in virtual space?

As mature, creative artists engaged in your particular passion ~ what is your own “advice to the young”?

And finally, if nothing else, it’s so worth the 8.5 minutes just to see Patti Smith again, her words, images and music evoking my own and wonderfully strange young.

So I just simply HAD TO share Because The Night… Patti with Bruce + U2…SWEET!

15 thoughts on “acts of art 19 -“Advice to the Young”

  1. I love this post so much. Not only the video with these wonderful artists (the magic of Marina Abramovic’s beautiful face silhouetted in the darkness, and the contrast of Patti Smith and her gorgeous rat’s-nesty hair!), but your own wonderful writing here. There’s so much of you here, and that’s what makes it so especially delightful. Also it’s completely eloquent.

    I relate to so much of what you’ve said. I too feel creatively young (although that makes sense, I suppose, since I keep embarking on wild creative detours). And all the advice the 8 artists gave resonates with some part of the journey for me. I perhaps resonated most with what Marina said. That it’s like breathing – if you’re an artist, you simply HAVE to create, and do. It might not make you a great artist. But that does make you an artist.

    My “advice to the young,” since you asked, thank you, dear @clinock :)) would be “start making a creative mess.” I’m a recovering perfectionist and I hardly ever started, let alone *shared* anything, for a very long time, for fear of it being imperfect and/or rejected/criticized. But getting started, trying anything, and disregarding all other advice in favour of that, helped me get joyful in making art. Perhaps joy is the key.

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    1. “Start making a creative mess” – such great advice Nadine. It sounds easy but you and I know how challenging it always seems to be to just Let Go…When I wear my teacher hat this is almost always the first obstacle on our creative process road. Preconceptions about what Art is and who we are as artists. We need to overcome them and create a little chaos, make a little mess, unvelcro ourselves, wake up. And yes, “perhaps joy IS the key” – I can’t imagine real art that is joyless. I watch my 18 month grandson completely absorbed making endless coloured circles with crayons on a giant pad of newsprint…pure, unadulterated joy!
      I love reading your comments, thoughtful and inspiring always. Thank you Nadine xo

      Liked by 1 person

      1. “unvelcro ourselves” — love that. So true about watching children do their art… I remember I was devastated when my youngest came back from his first afternoon at pre-school with a “normal” picture of recognizable objects… but I worried for nothing. At home he still makes his self-inspired artistic “oddities”… in various media… with joy. I love imagining your grandson having access to this giant pad of newsprint, enabled to make his coloured circles endlessly! Wonderful. xo

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    1. You are not a crone Jo Nell, despite your blog’s title, and I am very far from being a sage, but I appreciate your irony and your visits very much.


  2. I have really enjoyed this series, and I admit I’m a little sorry to hear this is the end. But I’ve learned a lot from the various artists you’ve highlighted. It was interesting to hear your own journey as an educator, John, and the first video with advice to the young is marvelous. The advice inspires me, too, and I’m far from young! And I’m a Patti Smith fan, so the last video was incredible. She’s an original in every way!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m very happy this series was meaningful to you Debra. It’s been just one more pathway into my explorations of the creative process and I’m never going to stop because it’s so darn fascinating.
      Your visits are always a delight.


  3. Hi again John, I hope you won’t mind, I reposted this on my blog, along with a transcription of the vid, and quoting some of your own words…. I can change any of it as needed/requested xo nadine

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Phew! Sometimes I do these things on the spur of the moment and realize they might not have been as conscientious as I would have liked them to be in hindsight… thanks dear J/C

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi John, Many thanks for passing on these valuable posts to help and inspire us all.
    Looking back I would say it is easy to learn skills in all the arts. Practice and discipline will do that. However going to another level requires us searching within to find what makes us unique and expressing that. It does not matter how large or small ….. that will be our legacy.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Of course I would adore this video and your own thoughts, John re: advice to the creative young! Just found out that Patti Smith coincidentally had been travelling through the Philadelphia/ South Jersey area where she grew up in the past week! Sadly, I didnt know til too late. But her advice is solid – never compromise yourself or your work/”brand” as an artist. Very inspiring post, John, as always.


  6. Hey I just wanted to say thanks for checking in. Hope all is well. I hope you start posting again. Peace, my friend. 🙂 I’ve subscribed to the Louisiana Channel for quite a while now and always enjoy their videos. This one was another exceptional one. A great series overall. Take care of yourself. Stay creative and healthy.


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