7 Rulz for an Artist

I’m not a big one for Rulz, but sometimes they are useful.  Here are a few I’ve made for myself over the years for all the art forms I do.

1) Don’t apologise for your work.  It’s a bad habit to get into and can actually insult your audience (think about it – somebody just really enjoyed listening to your song/looking at your painting and you apologise that it’s rubbish!!).  It isn’t sexy to put yourself down, don’t do it.

2) Accept compliments with a ‘Thank you’.  It took a while, but I manage it more times than not these days.  Again, this respects your audience.

3) Stand by your artwork.  Art shouldn’t be orphaned because your ego chipped in and told you it wasn’t good enough – stand proudly by the things you have created, they came from your deepest inner self, and they are awesome.

4) Name and claim your art.  Give work a name and put your own name on it.

5) Let your art find it’s audience.  Put it out there and trust that the people who it was meant to speak to will find it.  Don’t worry about everyone else – there’s no artist that’s ever appealed to everyone.

6) Critique, don’t criticise.  I’m not one for saying artist shouldn’t hone their skills and improve, in fact it’s crucial.  Having high standards is a good thing.

When you have finished a piece, look at it kindly and see if there were things you could have done differently.  Then, let it go, take the learning with you to your next piece.  In the meantime, let the art go out there into the world and do it’s work.

7) Regognise your ego.  The little voice that tells you your work isn’t good enough to share – that’s your ego talking.  The thrill of pleasure when you appreciate your own work – that isn’t.  

And remember this fabulous advice from Martha Graham:

“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. 

It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep yourself open and aware to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open. … No artist is pleased. [There is] no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others”


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