You don’t know my story but I hope this inspires you..I’ll share just a “little” bit.
It was great to return to my old university to do a mural for Digest recently. Students were friendly and the vibe was awesome.
It was great to walk around the campus and see how much has changed. The tuck shop is truly awesome..the bunny chows are just insane!
No one really knows how I got my artist career started so here goes nothing. I didn’t make it into the first year program because my drawing was not good enough. The secretary at the time at the design campus literally LAUGHED at my drawing “portfolio”. I didn’t go to a school that even had art as a subject and my technical drawing teacher hardly even came to lessons…I could go on. One day after school I was attacked by a fellow student with a screwdriver and for a 17 year old who was not good at anything this was pretty brutal (being laughed at – the screwdriver thing is pretty normal where I grew up) What followed was a year of private art classes (not as high brow as you think..an old granny who lived in the hills bless her soul) and a year long kak (Afrikaans for crap) job working at a screen printing company. The only thing that got me into “art” was Ghost In The Shell (Anime) and skateboarding graphics. I had no mentors, no heroes only my skateboard and friends. No nothing. Inspiration was hard to find.
A year later I then applied again to enter the design program and guess what I was number 41 on the entrance list! Only 40 students were allowed into the class (not 100% sure on the amount here). So I didn’t make it in again! I am a looser baby. Luckily my Dad phoned the professor and they promised they’d let me know if one of the other students would bail and choose a different course. Luckily someone did and I got in. Happiness. Luckily my Dad could then stop panicking about his hopeless son who was pretty useless at pretty much everything. I am still thankful to this day that my Dad picked up the phone to make it happen.
Bottom line here is that it takes a lifetime of struggle to become a successful creative. The general population is not aware of this and they’ll take as much as they can from you. People are going to laugh at you, put you down and yes you’ll be taken advantage of time and time again. Remember this: If you make music, if you make art if you make anything creative – you have value just like the rest of society. Don’t let anyone sweet talk you into compromising which is important in life: Integrity is key. Humbleness is key. Positivity is key. Passion is key. Focus is key. Dedication is key. Doing what you love is key. Keeping at it is key.
At the end of it the BIGGEST key is to give back to your community – I am working on all of this and I to want to make this city a better place. I don’t want to move to New York, London, San Francisco, Hong Kong or some cool city that you pinned on Pinterest.
Thank you to everyone who TRULY supports artists in this city. Thanks to Steve Jones and Digifest for making it happen.