How To Be An Artist

Lies, all liesStep One:

Refuse to do the work. Avoid it at all costs. If you want to write, you should instead check Twitter and Facebook. If you want to play music, instead play video games and smoke pot. Wanna be a comedian? Drink. Painter? Drink. Poet? Really drink.

Step Two:

Surround yourself with people who don’t believe you should be an artist. This may include people who are deferring their own dreams, people who hate their jobs,  people who have lives that strike you as the ultimate in boredom or mediocrity, depressives, cynics, alcoholics, and people from fucked up families who refuse to get therapy.  Which leads me to step three.

Step Three:

Avoid therapy at all costs. Self-knowledge is the enemy. Only a masochist would excavate their pain. Leave that pain alone. Ignore it, deny it, bury it deep.

Step Four:

Accept that you will never be happy. You are an artist. You dream big, and life is small, so it is impossible to feel any kind of sense of satisfaction. Resign yourself to a vague feeling of melancholy superiority.

 Step Five:

Consume a lot of whatever kind of art it is you aren’t making. This is called research, and it’s so much more productive than creating the work yourself.

Step Six:

Think about your art a lot, just be sure you never actually translate these thoughts into action. Action is death.

Step Seven:

Spend a lot of time thinking about how much better your life would be if you were doing the work. Daydream about it. Doodle about it in a notebook. Create elaborate fantasies where you are doing the work and you are happy and fulfilled.  These illusions are so much more fulfilling than actually doing the work, and let’s face it, they’re WAY easier. At the end of your life, would you rather have a body of work to show for it, or an ethereal collection of intangible dreams and wishes? Uh, DUH. I’ll take door #2, please.

Step Eight:

Hate artists. Allow yourself to seethe with jealousy when you encounter someone who’s turned one of your fantasies into something material. Consider cutting out a picture of them and putting it on the bulls eye of a dart board, and punish that dart board heavily. Ideally, Karen Carpenter will be playing on the stereo and you will be drinking cheap red wine. Expensive red wine is for assholes who make a lot of money. You may not be an artist, but you’re still poor.

Step Nine:

Hate your job. Because it isn’t your art. Hate everything that isn’t your art: your family, your friends, your apartment, your dog. Enemies, all of them! It’s their fault you aren’t an artist.  Which leads me to step ten.

Step Ten:

Forget being an artist. Write “I am an artist” on a piece of paper and then set that paper on fire, and watch it burn, and then get your fire extinguisher because the fire has spread through your apartment.  Burn any symbols of your interest in your art and savor the purity of your sterilized, minimalist home, where the only memory of your desire is every beat of your heart.

And, voila. Now you’re an artist.

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