On Being an Artist – Deborah Keiller (part seven)

by Geoff Hall on April 25, 2012

Part Seven – If you were giving advice to a young graduate wanting to make their way in the world as an artist, what would you say to them?


"Appearing" by Deborah Keiller


Be yourself & uphold your Integrity!

There are always new trends & ‘celebrity’ artists that burst onto the scene….but beware, there are also some wearing the emperor’s new clothes too! To navigate the art world with integrity it is important to have a confidence in yourself & resist being seduced by the ‘glitz’ & ‘bling’ of trends, while at the same time allowing what is new & emerging to inform your work & help develop it. That’s a path we are all learning to tread!

Image courtesy of Deborah Keiller

Maintain your creative vigour!

Art awakens, enlarges, refines & restores our humanity.’ Dana Gioia.

I have this quote in my studio & use it to evaluate my own & other work. Does what I am looking at quicken & arouse something in me? Does it cause me to question or reflect on myself, my work or an aspect of life? Does it challenge me & provoke a response in me? Does it consolidate & strengthen my resolve? These are all things I consider when I observe art & hope that in some measure others do with mine!

Have fun & learn to laugh!

They say laughter is the best medicine & my advice is to take it in abundance! There will always be someone out there who dislikes your work. Learn to take people’s remarks with a pinch of salt & don’t take yourself too seriously! In time you will find good friends & mentors who will speak truthfully into your life & work…value them!



Art has succumbed to individualistic notions of the self and Deborah’s comment reminds us that art created alone produces what one philosopher (Hans Gadamer) called a ‘private conversation’; it doesn’t invoke a dialogue between artist and viewer but mystifies the whole creative act. Let’s endeavour towards the formation of artistic community, towards an art which has a social connection.



One comment

Sound entry Deborah. We all need some tools to evaluate our creative journey especially as we spend much of it on our own. I like the quote and this, with others that we cherish, can help provide some framework for on-going evaluation. We also need sound peer review and how that best fits with where we are is more tricky to know.

by Marco Cazzulini on May 9, 2012 at 2:12 pm. Reply #

Leave your comment


Required. Not published.

If you have one.