Marina Abramovic’s Advice for Young Artists
The acclaimed artist shares some advice for those who decide to devote their lives to artistic creation.
When the moment comes to embark on the path of the artist, there are certain qualities that, whether organically practiced or acquired, will be decisive in that person’s creative future. In this context, courage and intuition appear as a fundamental binomial, which Marina Abramović points out during an interview with Christian Lund.
Frequently, the main question asked by someone with this inkling is: How can I know if I am an artist? For Abramović, being an artist is like breathing, if it is something that you truly carry within yourself, then, you can’t not do it.
Being ready to fail is one of her pieces of advice. According to her, it is very easy to fall into repetition if your idea makes you instantly famous and respected. In some way, for the artist failing is a gift and an honest invitation to reinvention ––and that disposition to always direct ones’ self to unknown places, which is partly what makes an artist great.
During the interview, the artist, who was born in ex-Yugoslavia, warns that money and success should never be the objective when it comes to making art. Money is a secondary issue —what is truly important must be the mere act of creating.
For her, one of the most outstanding examples of courage in the history of humankind was the Columbus’ journey to America. The Genoese sailor and his crew believed that the world was flat and that by creating a new route and sailing across uncharted seas, they were risking “falling” off the world and losing their lives. She warns that the artist must always be brave, directing him or herself towards that which frightens him or her, towards those waters that are as deep as they are mysterious and unknown.
One of her beloved professors once gave her two pieces of advice that have been determinant during her career. The first is: if you draw with your right hand and it comes out so well to the degree that you can do so with your eyes closed, try doing it with your left hand. The professor also asserted that a good artist will probably have one great idea throughout his life, while a great artist will have two at the very most.
Finally, in a speech overflowing with a combination of experience and sensitivity, she maintains that intuition must always be followed as a type of endemic compass, since there are things that will never be learnt, you simply carry them inside and decide to trust them.
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