Archive for learning

Finding ways to keep working

"Walking Away" by John Andro AvendañoWhen you’re young and starting out as an artist, you don’t fully understand the choices you have. It’s as if your mind is trapped in an invisible box. The box is preventing you from gaining more understanding about yourself. Part of the box is made by society, and part of it in your own making. Sometimes you just go in circles thinking about what you can’t do, or presume you can’t do. You don’t know there’s a way out. You have to figure out ways to keep working. A large part of the work is gaining more understanding within yourself, and knowing you already possess the traits that you need to do the work. You just have to learn to apply them. Getting better as an artist is a combination of searching, asking, learning, and working. And the younger you can develop those habits, the better. When I meet with young artists, what I do is share my story. Over time, I’ve discovered all this information. I’m talking about information that’s been around for thousands of years. In the best case scenario, I help people find things they didn’t even know they were looking for. Maybe I can guide them to something that will be just the right thing for them to hear. The key to what will open their particular door. When you see a light turn on in someone’s eyes, and they have an ah-ha moment, it feels good. It’s like when you talk to people involved in the business world. They want to know what the secret of being successful in business is. Business is buying something for two dollars and selling it for three. You don’t have to be a brain surgeon or have a degree in business. You have to possess the desire to be good at it. Being successful is about learning how to speak with people, share yourself with people, and motivate people to get involved with your process.

Being an artist in the digital age

"Cogitate #31" by John Andro AvendañoThe online and mobile direction the world has gone in has helped artists. It gives artists an immediate way to get their work in front of people. Artists now know they can be seen, be heard, and get comments in a way they never could before. It can be a great encouragement, but you have to have faith in yourself, and be willing to put yourself out there. Since anyone can say anything they want to online, it helps you to develop your core sensibilities. And a thicker skin when it comes to criticism. Maybe a comment will help you figure out what you’re trying to do, or it might have the opposite effect. Either way, you’re no longer working in a vacuum. As an artist, you must develop a clear and strong sense of self. You have to figure out your own direction, and find a rudder to steer yourself with. Because ultimately, you want to go in the direction you want to, and be less influenced by outside forces. It’s a learning process to stay true to your own vision. A great many people don’t put their work out there, for any number of reasons. Eventually, they have to, if they want to know who they are and what they can do as an artist. Once you reach a certain level, it helps rather than hurts to put yourself out to as a wide an audience as possible. Get your work out there. Share it. Ask for questions or comments. This is one of the major ways the digital revolution has helped artists. And if there’s an artist out there who feels like they can be helped by you, help them. Tell them what you’ve learned, or find someone who works closer to what they are making and connect the two of them. If possible, always help other people who are struggling.