You cannot swim for new horizons until you have courage to lose sight of the shore.  William Faulkner
Now we arrive at the part of Jerry Saltz’s book How to Be an Artist where the rubber hits the road as we examine his fourth step: enter the art world. This is where you not only create art but show it to the world, whether it be family and friends or to the public. This is the arena he calls “the snake pit.” Here's some of his advice for survival:
Have courage. “Every good work of art has courage in it somewhere. Grant your own art that agency. Put your faith in it, let it stave off cynicism and clear a path for you to proceed. Showing your work in public, asking others for guidance, looking for mentors, submitting your art to schools, galleries, grants, residencies — all of this requires tremendous faith. Courage is a desperate gamble that will place you in the arms of the creative angels.”
Don’t define yourself by a single medium. “Don’t limit your potential by presenting yourself as just one kind of maker: a potter, printmaker, watercolorist, macraméist, landscape painter, stone carver, steel sculptor, papermaker, glassblower, sketch artist, etcher, graffitist, silk-screenist, collagist, eco-artist, digital or mixed-media artist. You’re an artist.”
Don’t work in isolation. “No matter how introverted or shy you are, try as often as you can to spend prolonged time with other artists around your age. Artists must commune with their own kind in order to survive. Do everything you can to bond with other artists. In their company, you’ll form networks of love and forgiveness that will stop you from being brought to your knees by insecurity, isolation, empty grandiosity, and arrogance.”
Rightly define success. “Success and happiness live on opposite sides of the tracks. You want the truth? The best definition of success is time — the time to do your work. If you work very hard and try to be very honest with yourself, your art might tell you almost everything you need to know about yourself.”

About the Image
Marie Vorobyeva (1892-1984), also known as Marevna, was a 20th-century, Russian-born painter known for her work with cubism and pointillism. Moving to Paris in 1912, the 20-year-old soon became friends with some of the greatest artists and writers of the early twentieth century, most in residence in Montparnasse. Among them were Georges Braque, Marc Chagall, Jean Cocteau, Ilya Ehrenburg, Maxim Gorki, Max Jacob, Moise Kisling, Fernand Léger, Henri Matisse, Amedeo Modigliani, Pablo Picasso, Diego Rivera and Chaim Soutine. This detail from the mural-size painting The Friends of Montparnasse is on exhibition at Athelhampton House, a Tudor manor situated near Dorchester in Dorset, England. I was able to see it and dozens of Marvena’s paintings in September 2018. Completed in 1961, the painting is a tribute to the many friends, mentors and artists who encouraged, instructed and inspired her during her formative years as a painter.
Adapted from How to Be an Artist by Jerry Saltz
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