Art for sale on ebay! YAY!
So, about ten years ago, I was Artist in Residence at the Smithsonian, which was groovy cool. I also won a government grant to travel across the country and study American popular culture. And I worked as a lobbyist off and on for a couple of years, so I’ve spent some time doing neat stuff in Washington, DC.
That meant getting to go into the secret bowels of the Library of Congress and Smithsonian Archives. I got to take the Super Secret Senate Choo Choo train. All of this is way underground in the big city beneath the city. This was very exciting, and a real privilege to be able to see these wonderful things.
In the Library of Congress Archives, there are these huge bays
behind great big bank doors. And on the moveable shelves, there are grey archival boxes, stacked several high, and in each box there are treasures.
Page after page of rare drawings, set in leaves of tissue paper.
And I dreamed I was going through a box full of Thomas Nast originals.
And that I projectile vomited on them.
That is the kind of nightmare cartoonists have.
Here, have a picture of the Super Secret Senate Choo Choo. It was totally E Ticket!
And my Senate Pass.
This is a really important lesson for everyone, not just creative types: Survivorship bias. Why following success can doom you to fail.
When we focus on gurus, TED talk meisters, self help rah-rah types, we miss a lot of important relevant info, funneling our thinking by following models that aren’t necessarily what is best for us.
For example, the popular advice for creative people is often of the “Just Do It” variety, for surely if you don’t produce, nothing will follow that production.
Truth. If you don’t write the novel, it won’t become a best seller.
Missing the important point that over 99.9% of all books ever written fail spectacularly on that scale.
Just making something isn’t good enough. Just feeling motivated isn’t good enough.
Just putting your work on the web isn’t good enough.
Almost everyone who tries art, self publishing, or internet fame will not get very far.
What tech gurus, and “Just Do It” types aren’t telling you is that what they are selling with their “how-to” books and blogs is not a recipe for success. They are selling you the narrative of other people’s success.
That is not about you.
I love a good pep talk just as much as the next person, and inspiration is a great thing. But pay attention to the world around you and make sure you’re not blindly following what someone else did because you think they’re selling you a secret recipe.
What they’re selling you is a recipe without the prime ingredients: a life and a product that cannot be duplicated. If it could, everyone who reads those how-to books would be producing best-sellers, too.
And with direct reference to publishing. VERY important read.
Great video on art and entertainment law. Really good info for creatives.
Thanks to Doug Wheatley and this thread on Matt Hawkins’s FB page.
So Jeff Smith, creator of Bone, doused himself with a big old bucket of water, and passed along the ALS ice bucket challenge to me: either donate $100 to ALS research, or dump a bucket of ice water on your head.
Well, bless your heart.
I don’t have a video camera, and even if I did, I have better things to do with cold ice water. Like make a refreshing batch of lemonade with it!
Here I am on my deck, like a good southern girl, under my lace parasol and drinking my yummy lemonade. MmmmMMMMMmmmmmm Good. And wearing flannel. In August. Go figure.
You can see by the lousy quality of this photo that if I had dumped a bucket of water on my head, there is no competent person on location to record it. OK, cheap shot, no one knows how to use anyone else’s camera around here.
Here are screen shots of my donation to ALS.
To the dad who humiliated his daughter when she tried to buy The Vampire Diaries comic at my booth: way to encourage your girl to enjoy the comics experience. Not to mention really rude to the artist and writer of the book.
After you girly shamed her into slinking away, without making a purchase, just thought you should know she came back 20 minutes later and bought all three issues I had for sale.
Your daughter will enjoy comics despite you, not because of you. I like knowing I sold her The Vampire Diaries as a teenage act of rebellion.
I hope your daughter is reading her girly comics under the blanket at night via flashlight.
Just like you read comics back in the day.