Lesson 2: “Tell your own story and you will be interesting.” — Louise Bourgeois
Amen, Louise. Don’t be reined in by other people’s definitions of skill or beauty or be boxed in by what is supposedly high or low. Don’t stay in your own lane. Drawing within the lines is for babies; making things add up and be right is for accountants. Proficiency and dexterity are only as good as what you do with them. But also remember that just because it’s your story, that doesn’t mean you’re entitled to an audience. You have to earn that. Don’t try to do it with a big single project. Take baby steps. And be happy with baby steps.
(from the Vulture article by Jerry Saltz, How to Be an Artist.)
I came up against this in film school a bit. Suburban, middle class, white kid is kinda boring. But I guess Bourgeois means tell your own story, not in a historical sense, but in a individual moving forward sense.
I do envy kids today, they seem to be allowed to be themselves and not have to conform as much. I feel like I wasted a lot of time in junior high and high school trying to be what would get singled out for ridicule the least. And you sort of fail at that too because you just seem fake. If you do it long enough, there’s nothing real left. Thankfully, in college no one seemed to give a shit what you did. I feel like I flourished in wearing whatever I wanted and coaxing out the weirdo I had locked up for so long.