In 2012, Neil Gaiman gave a speech to the graduating class of art students at the University of Philadelphia.
It’s a pretty inspiring piece, with a lot of great advice and big ideas. I’m putting down some notes as a personal reminder:
- When you get started, you know nothing. This is good. If you don’t know what is “impossible”, it’s harder to fail/easier to do the impossible. (Or even thirteen impossible things?)
- Make your end-state desire a distant mountain. Every time you need to decide between two paths, or just pick the next thing to do, make sure it is a step towards the mountain.
- Make your own art. You may start by sounding like a lot of different people — that’s good — but eventually you will find your own voice and message. This is the uniqueness that you bring to reality. Nobody else can make your art.
- Making art is like sending out messages in bottles. Maybe one in a thousand will come back to you.
- Don’t do it for the money, because if the money falls through at least you’ll have the art.
- When you start to feel over-exposed, vunerable — that’s where you start making your own art.
And advice for keeping work? There are three things you can be:
- a pleasure to work with;
- someone who does good work;
- someone who delivers work on time.