An Art Critic's 33 Rules for Being an Artist

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Art, as we all know, is about following a set number of rules handed to you by another person. In the latest New York Magazine cover story, art critic Jerry Saltz lists 33 steps to becoming a great artist, and what’s interesting is how many don’ts he’s willing to hand out. His refreshingly specific tips are all, at some level, optional. And that is why they’re useful, if you’re trying to be more creative.

The piece is dense with the kind of pithy advice you should write on a Post-it and stick to your wall. Some of the best lines aren’t even one of Saltz’s 33 tips, they’re just supporting material. For example:

“No one asks what Mozart means. Or an Indian raga or the little tripping dance of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers to ‘Cheek to Cheek’ in Top Hat.Forget about making things that are understood.”

“Make one hokey Dalí-like painting or mini Kusama light installation to get this out of your system.”

“Your skill will be whatever it is you’re doing differently.”

“If someone says your work looks like someone else’s and you should stop making it, I say don’t stop doing it. Do it again. Do it 100 times or 1,000 times. Then ask an artist friend whom you trust if your work still looks too much like the other person’s art. If it still looks too much like the other person’s, try another path.”

Click here to read the full article.