John Dalton - gently does it .... podcast
Ep 30 - Alyssa Monks : Creating the space for connection


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Alyssa Monks is an American artist. She is highly talented, highly respected and highly successful. In this episode she talks candidly about what real success means to her. How art can help make a connection to our humanness. Her relationships with galleries, and she gives tips for artists that are invaluable

Here is what we talk about

  • Why does art exist?
  • The, “Paint,” of reality
  • Painting for viewer or artist?
  • Creative heroes
  • Current artistic challenges
  • Galleries and the art business
  • Learning in Florence and New York
  • Advice for artists

Alyssa’s advice for artists

“Skills are very important, but nowhere near enough to make art. Definitely acquire the skills through whatever practice and education you choose and embrace it with discipline but have no attachment to success.
Work as hard as you can.
Don’t ever compare yourself to others.
Learn how to work on your work.
The more you paint or sculpt or draw the more you will know what to do and the more you will develop your voice.
Stay true in your work.
Don’t try to make art about things you don’t know about, care about, or understand. Make art that you care about, because you believe it should exist.
Know your place and be humble and grateful always.
It’s a competitive world and most people will not succeed, that is the reality. It’s not an easy road and too many artists complain constantly about how it’s not fair and it’s not merit based. These are excuses. Take ownership of your work.
Never show anything that isn’t completed.
And don’t try to describe your ideas in words to other people, be a little bit brief and coy about them, you can never really convey anything visual in words anyway.
And share your process and work with other artists you admire, allow for real criticism, don’t take it personally, just let it make you better.
Read art magazines and learn about the art world. Know your history.
Love art.
Love your materials. Let your materials humble and surprise you.
Don’t try to control the process but do have a plan. plan plan plan…then be open to surprises and twists.
Be fascinated.
Find a job that can sustain you and leave you a bit of time to make work, but doesn’t require any creativity. I’d suggest not even taking a job in the art world. I was an administrative assistant all over NYC in different temp jobs to sustain myself.
Don’t wait till you have the perfect studio to make your best work. Make the best of your space and do whatever you have to do to make it work. It will be decades before your find the perfect space, if ever.
Ask questions.
Be kind.
Be respectful always.
Don’t burn bridges.
Have a website.
Share your work.
Take the feedback with a grain of salt.
Read art books. “What painting is” by James Elkins. “Art and Fear”, a great essay about being an artist.
Be patient with the art world, and impatient with yourself.
Write your artist statement, mostly to clarify your intent for yourself.”

To find out more about Alyssa and her work

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Music by The Argyle Pimps. Thanks lads.