ANDY FISH is a comic book artist

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Sunday, March 6, 2011

Make Excuses or Make Progress...

Watching Shawshank Redemption on it's endless run on AMC this Oscar Month had me realizing again what a great movie this is.  It symbolizes a lot of personal things for me but most of all I can't help but admire the strength of the writing.  Anyone who dismisses Stephen King as a pulp writer is not giving him his due.  I also highly recommend his book ON WRITING to anyone trying to make it as a freelance writer or artist for some amazing insight on how to survivet in an increasingly difficult environment.

I've been invited to be the guest speaker at Youth Art Month again this year-- last year I launched into a tirade about how the Soccer Mom mentality of not keeping score has created a generation expecting rewards for just showing up-- and surprisingly it was very well received.

The Truth is I have no patience for excuses, or for people who make them.  My closest friends are all hard working-- writers, artists, photographers, bloggers-- these are people who get out there and get it done.  I admire hard work.

Many of my friends from SVA were extremely talented-- so talented in fact that all they ever heard was how good they were-- and once they got out and got criticism, or a rejection letter-- they gave up.  Imagine being a major ballplayer and hanging up your bat after your first strike out.

I'm pretty certain it's this same attitude that ended my relationship with Mass College of Art.  I was assigned several underclassmen mid-term reviews-- and when I would see a student who was a sophomore or junior trying to pass off a night's sketching as a semester's worth of work I wouldn't hold any punches.  Assigned to a veteran instructor for the critique, he stepped back and let me tell this kid the truth.  He needed to re-evaluate why he was spending money on art school if all he was producing was sub-standard work which demonstrated no effort.
This instructor told me afterwards that he admired my honesty with the student, but that he was frustrated that his supervisor's had told him to be encouraging rather than demanding.

A flaw in the philosophy of the school in preparing it's students for life on the outside.  Holding their hands and telling them it will be all right isn't going to help them learn how to hit deadlines or find clients.

I was horrified at the student senior show when this same supervisor announced to my graduating class that they should expect to have a "real job" to pay the bills after graduation-- I think I would have asked for my money back were I one of those students.

We are supposed to teach our younger generation the value of hard work.  We need to show them how to stand up when they fall, and then let them fall.  We need to inspire them but give them a clear and realistic vision of what they should expect outside of the academic life.

To do less than that is a disservice to them-- and it goes for all of us.
Give yourself some goals and then hit them.  Stop making and accepting excuses for failure.

In The Shawshank Redemption Andy takes a horrible situation and makes it work-- all while heading towards a bigger goal.  It's an inspiring bit of storytelling and one that we can all learn from.

Tomorrow starts my multi-post HOW TO DO a GRAPHIC NOVEL session-- bring your notebooks and prepare to learn!