Make good art. ~ Neil Gaiman
One of the most inspiring things I’ve ever read was author Neil Gaiman’s 2012 commencement speech to the University of the Arts. If you’ve not seen it, I strongly encourage you to give it a look. Gaiman’s novels are a little too creepy for my taste, but his writing about life is absolutely magical. Here’s a snippet from the speech that sums up the way I try to run my life and my business:
And remember that whatever discipline you are in, whether you are a musician or a photographer, a fine artist or a cartoonist, a writer, a dancer, a designer, whatever you do you have one thing that’s unique. You have the ability to make art.
And for me, and for so many of the people I have known, that’s been a lifesaver. The ultimate lifesaver. It gets you through good times and it gets you through the other ones.
Life is sometimes hard. Things go wrong, in life and in love and in business and in friendship and in health and in all the other ways that life can go wrong. And when things get tough, this is what you should do.
Make good art.
I’m serious. Husband runs off with a politician? Make good art. Leg crushed and then eaten by mutated boa constrictor? Make good art. IRS on your trail? Make good art. Cat exploded? Make good art. Somebody on the Internet thinks what you do is stupid or evil or it’s all been done before? Make good art. Probably things will work out somehow, and eventually time will take the sting away, but that doesn’t matter. Do what only you do best. Make good art.
In my view, Gaiman’s message to graduating students has just as much meaning for those of us whose graduations are a distant memory as it does for those just launching into the “real world.” In fact, it means so much to me that I have a card taped to my office wall that says “Make. Good. Art.” It reminds me that no matter what happens, what we do every day should be art. And it should be good. And it should be the best of what only we can do.
So once again, in 2015, my resolution is to continue to make good art.
I’m so grateful to my awesome team and our amazing clients who make it such a pleasure to make good art. I wish each of you abundant health, happiness and success in the New Year, but again, Gaiman said it best, so let me share his wish with you:
May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art — write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.