Letters to a Young Artist

Edited by: Peter Nesbett, Sarah Andress, and Shelly Bancroft

Published by: Darte Publishing LLC (2006)

A young artist asked a group of established artists “Is it possible to maintain one’s integrity and freedom of thought and still participate in the art world?” and this pocket sized books contains written responses from these writers. The book contains letters from Jo Baer, John Bladessari, Cai Guo-Qiang, Yoko Ono, Yvonne Rainer, Adrian Piper, William Pope. L and many more.

Not being familiar with 85% of these artists, I couldn’t gauge the level of their popularity. Their messages about art were consistent across the board – as an artist, just Do. At least this is the message that I culled from the small book.

As a writer, I was able to relate to the advice and support these artists provided to the “young artist.” At the end of the day, all artists must create, love what they do, put aside the monetary success, and express themselves the only way they know how to in their medium. I think every artist should own this and read it as their own support group. In the vein that Writing Down the Bones and Bird by Bird are compassionate to the budding and accomplished writer, Letters to a Young Artist provide the same sentiment to aspiring and accomplished artists everywhere. To have an idea of what some of the letters are like, read Yoko Ono’s letter here.

In short, an inspiring nugget that reassures every artist why they are doing the work in the first place; they hear it from those who have been there and know what to expect in their future.

Joseph Gridgely says it best: “It’s the stuff that has nothing to do with art that has everything to do with art.”

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