Artist Resources

Daily Inspiration: Sam Shepard on Starting Out as an Artist

"I started out when I was 19, and you’re full of defenses. You have all of this stuff to prove. You have all of these shields in front of you. All your weapons are out. It’s like you’re going into battle. You can accomplish a certain amount that way. But then you get to a point where you say, 'But there’s this whole other territory I’m leaving out.' And that territory becomes more important as you grow older. You begin to see that you leave out so much when you go to battle with the shield and all the rest of it. You have to start including that other side or die a horrible death as an artist with your shield stuck on the front of your face forever. You can’t grow that way. And I don’t think you can grow as a person that way, either."

Playwright, actor, and director Sam Shepard’s words about beginning in the creative life when he was 19 ring very true for me, and I hope they do for you as well. Shepard explains how when you start, you’re full of inspiration and vigor, but at the same time, you’re too locked up with the things you think you know, but in reality, you’re just closing yourself off from the rest of the world.

When you embark on a life as a creative person, you need to be open and ready to accept change and the rest of existence outside of your workspace and yourself. If you let it all in, you not only have more to work with, but, as Shepard says, you might grow.

Mojave Metal II by Simon Stålenhag

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Jen Durant

Redbubble Artist Relationship Manager