When I need advice about art (whether your art is digital, on-the-page-with-a-paintbrush, the written word, what to wear with ‘mom jeans’, or how to hold an E chord on ukulele without a hand cramp), I turn to the internet.
As with many artists, I don’t have a mentor. I’ve had plenty of teachers and have plenty of artistic inspirations, but having and finding someone who can answer all your questions and give you advice (even when you don’t ask) is seemingly impossible.
I have questions about scanners and felt tip pens and how to increase your vocabulary without reading the dictionary and how to structure poems online. In one day. It goes on.
The trained professionals – ones who have degrees and years of creative success – are interviewed or willingly write essays for publications on ‘HOW TO: be an artist and also a functioning human.’
Despite how helpful the wisdom these creative give, they’re always looking back and reflecting on what it was like to be my age or in my position: a twenty-something going through her degree, trying to ‘make it work’. Whatever that means.
When the advice columnist says ‘It was hard but fun’ to be going through uni, doing unpaid work to get experience, working shitty part-time jobs, having a series of looming deadlines, and their advice is to ‘Just believe in yourself!’, it’s hard to relate and you feel two-feet small after their ‘advice’.
I mean… Who asked?
(Apart from me when I typed ‘advice from freelance journalists’ into Google.)
What young artists want (and need) to hear are the words from a friend. Someone who is going through the same thing they are. It can be hard to fins people IRL who relate to your struggle and can offer more than a half-hearted ‘It’ll be fine!’
I’m here to be that friend for you. Jealousy, self-care, and doubt are very real things as artists. And I’ve got some advice for you that you didn’t ask for.