Artists, Be Kind To Each Other / by Missy Douglas

Roy Lichtenstein,  Masterpiece , 1962

Roy Lichtenstein, Masterpiece, 1962

Artists, be kind to each other.

Don't view each other as a threat or competitor. Be pleased when one of your peers does well. Don't bad mouth each other's work. It might not be to your taste and you might not understand why it is getting press, gallery attention or buyers, but respect the technical skill and time invested in creating the work. Read up and take an interest. What you discover might surprise you. Don't disrespect or be outright dismissive, either behind the artist's back or in front of viewers/potential buyers. It just makes you look like a bitter asshole. You are an equal, a creator, not an arbiter of taste. Reject the idea of aggressive networking to get ahead. Recognize you are playing a long game which will come with great ups and shitty i-want-to-kill-myself downs.

Have patience: visit, look, listen and stay curious. You never know what you may see and who you may meet. Even the most insignificant of conversations and chance meetings can have huge impact on your career. Just say hello, ask questions and chat about anything and everything. Don't push your own agenda. Don't cynically befriend someone because you think you can ride their rising star. People can spot you a mile off and it stinks. This is a brutal job which can tear you to pieces but please remember that we are all, ultimately, in the same boat being buffeted by the vagaries of the art world storm.

Play nicely, support each other and we can all be winners.