Where Do You Begin?

It’s hard being an artist. In a world filled with hard science and facts or figures, how does one stay creatively motivated? How can someone chase their dreams when everyone else is telling them to do something more practical? The whimsically-styled, aptly-named Advice to the Young Artist aims to answer those questions.

Warning: NSFW

advice to young artist

Daniella Shuhman created Advice to the Young Artist in 2016 for her graduation project at the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design. Louisiana Channel provided the interview audio clips. The Caretaker handled the short film’s sound, while Elad Ben Aroche provided sound editing.

The vibrant absurdist animated short is a collection of audio clips containing advice for aspiring artists, given by artists. The interview excerpts encompass an international ensemble of established artists and creators:

-Marina Abramović
-Jonathan Franzen
-Richard Ford
-Patti Smith
-Sjón
-Fred Tomaselli
-Olafur Eliasson
-Chapman Brothers
-Umberto Eco

scribbles

Shuhman uses a doodle-like art style similar to children’s drawings. Loud colors pop against a predominantly white background. A yellow creature flies a kite and turns into a rock. Two blue characters with their eyes arranged in a column, punch each other until one’s head comes off. A dog, a woman, and a child walk out of a picture to abandon a man wearing mouse ears. A famous singing group even makes an appearance.

One of the clips questions the true meaning of pursuing art. Another clip stresses the importance of keeping your reputation clean. Among other topics, the value of going against the mainstream is also mentioned. With tongue firmly in cheek, an artist even tells others to talk themselves out of joining the creative field.

advice

Advice to the Young Artist is an open expression of the frustration felt by so many struggling artists.  Shuhman’s intentionally provocative illustrations seem to underline the insecurities felt by those who never seem to be able to progress past drawing crude stick figures and scribbles.  The narrators’ words of wisdom often come across as demotivational, but they also highlight many harsh truths about how creativity is hard work.

The animation style may not appeal to everyone, but by the end viewers will be left with some thought-provoking questions for consideration. Shuhman’s goal is not discourage people from pursuing their creative passions, but to help artists recognize that there will be highs and lows.  The only way to get past difficulties is to confront them head on.