Student Voices is a WOA blog feature that presents the experiences and point of views of current arts students around campus. Get to know our creative and passionate students through their “voices” and get a snapshot of life as an arts undergrad. The views and opinions expressed within these student voices posts are solely those of the author.
Here we are; it is a new day. And where are you? Reading this letter. If there is one piece of advice I can give you, it is this: STOP READING THIS LETTER! Close this window and turn to your art. Did you not state that you were going to be the best? What is stopping you right now from achieving that?
I have spent the past few years watching how others act when it comes to working with their art. It has been an interesting journey. I have seen people succeed, fail, trundle aimlessly, and stride with purpose. So I am writing this letter to promote a few of the things I have learned so far, because everyone should be aware of these ideas.
Do you want to call yourself an artist? Then hone your art. Make it the best it can be.
Starting with some anecdotes about myself, I know I have a lot of obstacles to overcome to improve my art. Looking out the window in the morning on the first day of spring, only to see a blanket of snow three inches deep, I think, “I do not want to go out in that. I’ll stay in bed today.” I close my eyes and just as I am about to fall asleep, I slap myself in the face: “Get it together, man! There are things to do!” So I jump out of bed, and start my day.
After grabbing my horn in the morning, playing a couple notes and just knowing it is going to be a bad day, my mind thinks, “Really, I should just put it down. Nothing good is going to come from this practice session. It will be practically a waste of my time.” As I put my horn back in its case, I hear the clarinet player in the next room going over his scales. “Get it together, man! There are things to do!” and I work on fundamentals until there is no choice but for it to be a good day.
The world, your body, your mind — they will do everything in their power to try and make you fail. You cannot let that happen; there is no room for apathy or for laziness. Do you want to call yourself an artist? Then hone your art. Make it the best it can be. You are not going to do that while browsing Facebook for the fifth time in six minutes; do you really need that up-to-the-minute notification of someone’s profile picture change? Is it really important to know right now what your buddy is eating for dinner? Remove the distractions from the things that are the most important to you, and never lose sight of those things.
Experience the world in a way that will open your eyes.
Summer is coming up, what are your plans? Are you only going to work and make money? Take a walk through the River Valley and enjoy the beauty of nature. Bring that experience into your paintings, your poetry, or your music. Enjoy the many festivals that will be happening. Experience the world in a way that will open your eyes. Art communicates an idea or feeling to the audience; experience lets an artist mature and refine this communication.
Never leave a moment wasted. John F. Kennedy said, “We must use time as a tool, not as a couch.” That is very important when it comes to the Arts. We only have the present to start to improve ourselves. Will you rise up to the challenge? Get out there and be amazing. I expect nothing less of you.