Monday, September 21, 2020

An Artist | Lefsetz Letter

Endures negative feedback.

Takes risks on a regular basis.

Does not create to satiate the audience but themselves.

Creates because they need to.

Works without the audience in mind.

Knows that they will oftentimes be ahead of the audience.

Knows to ignore their most vocal critics. It’s usually more about the person who is criticizing than the work.

Knows the audience has expectations, but is not concerned with fulfilling them.

Is willing to go broke.

Knows the more you know, the longer you’ve been doing it, the harder it gets, even though you are that much more skilled.

Realizes that putting one’s foot in the pool is the first step and most people are unwilling to do this.

Is willing to learn.

Knows that inspiration creates the best work, but that sometimes creation begets inspiration. In other words, once you grease the wheels you might be inspired to do something great.

Knows that those who respond first are the ones to be most ignored.

Knows they are not a brand. Brands are consistent, artists are not.

Needs to grow. Once they stop doing this, they’re dead.

Gets frustrated but carries on.

Gets angry but doesn’t respond.

Knows the most ardent supporters are those who are silent.


Is savvy enough to know they are not always the best judge of their work.

Has to create or they risk depression.

Is internalized. At best they can relate to another artist.

Is a member of a separate tribe. The public can appreciate the work, but can never really understand the germ of creation. At best the artist can relate to other artists.

Speaks through their work.

Their work needs no explanation, it stands on its own.

Is willing to change. The greats reinvent, the middling class rests on their laurels.

Is challenging their audience on a regular basis, if they’re not getting a mix of feedback, both positive and negative, they’re not doing it right.

Knows that execution is secondary to inspiration. Just because you completed it, that does not mean it’s art.

Is gobbling up information in their field. Not so much to suss out the competition, but to marinate in the artistic field in which they endeavor. Writers read. Painters go to galleries. Musicians listen to music.

Knows that art is viewed in a context. And that by challenging the context people oftentimes can’t understand what you’re doing and castigate it.

Knows that if you listen to all the feedback you’ll be unable to create at all.

Their best work is done when they’re in a zone. It can’t be artificially created, it’s something you feel, not something you can explain.


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