How to be a successful contemporary artist

1) Do only things you are familiar with. Don’t look too far, don’t look up to the world-famous celebrities, everything you need is at your feet, you just have to focus on detail and make use of it.
2) Become conscious of your skills and go only for art and technique you can cope with. Art has many forms and everyone can find the the most suited for him. Despite the fact you know almost nothing, you can achieve anything.
3)  Do not be megalomaniac. There is no need to make huge sculptures which are impossible to deposit or paintings you are not able to transport anywhere. Consider your financial possibilities. Big does not mean good and many does not automatically mean significant.
4) Create recognizable, but a transformation enabling style. Ideally the one which can be defined with the help of just few formal rules and focused on a single general theme. Try to mark your exhibition off the general one as much as possible.
5) Find out about contemporary art. It will do you no harm. Meaning comes out from comparison.
6) Take chances. Without reference to the character of contemporary art do not be afraid to come up with inadequate or anachronical ways of resolution.
7)  Love shows artists the aim of their work. Whereas sense shows them the ways how to carry it out.
8) Carry on without regard to cold reactions to your exhibition from other people. If you are satisfied, consider it success. If the exhibition is not any extraordinary, nobody will remember it soon anyway. And the critique? Critique in our country is only ridiculous.
9) Don’t avoid media or publicity, but become aware of their character. Disregard the questions and always say what you need. A bit of controversy is not a waste of time. Never pretend to be intellectual. Nobody expects an artist to be one. So there is no reason.
10)  If you are awarded any media simplification, don’t fight it but turn it into your advantage.
11) Avoid irony in your work, but not in talking about art. Use it plentifully there. Be ironic to yourself and to the others too. Self-irony elicits approval.
12) Never explain your art. Speak around it, next to it, about yourself but never about it. You can describe the reasons, inspirations, but avoid explanations of your work. This always sounds naive, annoying and silly.
13) Be always nice, there are colleagues, curators, bosses and heads of institutions. Be aware of their good memory and a certain amount of vanity which does not elude them either. They are people expecting kind human words.
14) Dress well and have style. Even a boozer doesn’t look like a loser if he is dressed to kill.
15) Be social, make friends, acquaintances and contacts. Don’t be afraid of the word clientelism. Make use of opportunities, but the word opportunism is prohibited. Do not exaggerate it. Nothing is more annoying than a revealed opportunist.
16) Even though you strive for immortality, be aware that presence is the time which creates it.
17) Never complain about an unsatisfactory success, about being disappointed by colleagues or by not meeting the obligations. Don’t look back to the past to list all the injustice because this only drives everybody away.
18) Be consistent with your attitude because the others know then what to expect. Curators are not fond of surprises.
19) Never underestimate Internet presentation. Carefully updated and abundant curriculum does wonders. People related to art like charts and listing. Comply with their wishes.
20) Be hardworking but hide it. Act as a layabout gifted by God. If the art community comes to believe it, be sure it is your gold mine.
21) Not to be afraid to steal does not apply to contemporary art at all. Commands such as copy or paste are tightly bound with our reality. No wonder in the era of the Internet. 22)  Study art school but do not think too highly of it. Your concerns and aims lie outside. Being student is certainly not any windfall. Nobody likes swots.
23)  Create your own story. Be able to simplify your life and attitude to art into just few sentences. Yes, it might be confusing and terribly simplifying but it is essential. Drugs, alcohol, addictions, poverty and the consequent triumph over them will come in useful. Getting successful despite all the circumstances.
24)  Believe in art, be sceptical towards it. Neither emotions nor determinations are arguments if there is lack of reason.
25) Always criticize neoliberal society and trade with art until your work starts to sell like hot cakes.
26)  Help your colleagues at least at the beginning of the carrier. It is an investment which certainly pays off.
27)  At the beginning invest all gluts into art but do not hamstring your life. In that case rather change your conception.
28)  Learn English well. Poor English is the art language.
29)  Your art will always come out from the local context, there is no need to emphasize it. The attribute “global” stands for accessible and apt. Imagine your work displayed in a significant world-famous gallery. If you feel it will not succeed, you are doing something wrong.
30)  But always remember everything is possible. Go for it.

Marek Meduna

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