"Make good art." Neil Gaiman's quote, spoken at The University of The Arts 2012 commencement, makes the rounds on my social media feed every so often. It's a great speech. The part passed around most often is the bit near the end:
"Sometimes life is hard. Things go wrong, in life, and in love, and in business, and in friendship, and in health, and in all the other ways that life can go wrong. And when things get tough, this is what you should do. Make good art.
I’m serious. Husband runs off with a politician? Make good art. Leg crushed and then eaten by mutated boa constrictor? Make good art. IRS on your trail? Make good art. Cat exploded? Make good art. Someone on the Internet thinks what you’re doing is stupid or evil or it’s all been done before? Make good art. Probably things will work out somehow, and eventually time will take the sting away, but that doesn’t matter. Do what only you can do best. Make good art. Make it on the bad days. Make it on the good days, too. And fifthly, while you are at it, make your art. Do the stuff that only you can do."
I sometimes feel the need to write a detailed response, but that's my ego trying to take over. His speech stands on its own without think-pieces and opinion articles (although Gav of Zen Pencils had an amazing interpretation, because Gav of Zen Pencils is himself amazing). But, it did pop into my head again today. So here's my ego-driven response, chiseled down to a palatable two paragraphs, far more for me to tell myself than to say to anyone else - because who am I to have think-pieces?
I try to surround myself with people who make good art. I don't mean hyper-realistic art, or multi-million dollar art, although that can be good. I mean art that comes from love, and from effort. Art that the artist made because the artist wanted to make it. I try to remind myself that while nothing lasts, these things make an impact.
And even that word, "impact," makes people shrivel. They think they have to change the world if they are to change anything, and so, at the pressure, do nothing at all. There's something else that gets passed around artistic circles, though it began in the U.S. Navy: K.I.S.S. Keep It Simple, Stupid. Small ripples turn into big ones. Make one piece of good art. Then make another one. And then another. Repeat until you are physically and mentally unable to, and then try again. It doesn't matter if someone on the other side of the world never sees it. Make good art, because good art needs to be made. What you think is "good" will never be universal. That, too, is perfectly OK. Make it, anyway.
With all that said, here's a dumb thing I made to practice vfx, in which The Kraken threatens a Puerto Rican beach. Buddy was a good sport about it.