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Monday, July 5, 2010

pretty nice

Every now and then, I flip through Letters to a Young Artist, a collection of letters written by contemporary artists the likes of Alex Katz, Elizabeth Murray, and 21 others, published by Darte Publishing in New York.

This one's from Yoko Ono:

To a Young Artist,

You could be 18, 30 or 50, you are young to have decided to be an artist at this time in your life. First let me congratulate you on your choice. From here on, you enter the endless magic life of being an artist.

The world is your oyster: It will provide you with unlimited material for your art. Look at it again from that point of view. Suddenly the world is a different place, so interesting, so beautiful, and so mysterious. Have fun with it. And share your fun with us.

You, as an artist, will unfold the infinite mystery of life and share it with the world. It may just be two people your work will communicate to. Don't be upset. Be upset if you are not happy with your work. Never be upset about how many people have seen it, or how many reviews it has received. Your work will exist and keep influencing the world. Moreover, your work will keep changing the very configuration of our world no matter what kind of attention it gets or doesn't get. So even when you are an unknown artist, be caring of what you make and what you give out. Your work, no matter what, affects the world and in return, it brings back ten times what you've given out. If you give out junk, you get back junk. If you give out confusion, you will give yourself confusion. If you give out something beautiful, you will get back ten times more beauty in your life. That's how it works. You are now like a tree in the park. Your existence is making the city breathe well. So relax and be yourself. Don't try to be anything but yourself. Rely on your instinct and inspiration. Go with it!

By the way, my thanks to you for being an artist. I am aware that I will be one of the many, many people who gets the benefit of your decision. I wish you great success.

I love you!

Yoko Ono
New York

I know it may seem like a lot of what she says is a derivative of what you hear from art school, mentors and fellow artists. But sometimes, it is motivating, and just plain nice to know that there are others besides yourself who celebrate life and art, and then remind you again and again to do so.

Yes sir, it's all good.

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