Thursday, 27 February 2014

If you're portuguese, don't read this.
I'm just posting a very loose english translation of what I wrote here, 
So, move along. the internet is vast. Watch this video about the birds of paradise mating dance instead. come back in a few days when I write something new.

To the rest, here it goes:


If you’re a struggling artist with internet connection, there’s a big chance you’ll spent a considerable amount of time browsing behance portfolios and feeling lame and unoriginal. 
During my time in university I learned some tricks to avoid the self-commiserating spiral of oh-god-there’s-so-many-talented-people-in-the-world-why-do-I-even-try. This is a list of the things I try to focus on, to snap out of work-driven ansiety. 
Consider this a life coaching moment for underachievers:

1- There will ALWAYS be someone better than you.
When my friend Sofia told her parents she wanted to study arts, her mum said “you know you’ll never be the best, don’t you?”. It might sound harsh, but I think it’s a good motto. Unless you’re Michael Phelps, there will always be someone faster, richer, more handsome than you. So you might just well accept it, roll up your sleeves and do your best anyway.

2- Even Michael Phelps gets nervous.
Once I started going to art-related events and festivals, and met people out of art school I became more aware that even those that I consider super talented and sucessful had their moments of visible nervousness and perspiration.
I’m aware this is a little despicable, but thinking that the people I admire also get insecure and doubt themselves from time to time makes me very glad.

3- More to learn!
When I went to university, I found myself surrounded by people that knew a lot more about design than me. They mastered the software, talked about typefaces and had little inside jokes about Josef Muller Brockmann! Eventually, I made a conscient choice to avoid thinking about how little I knew and rather how much I could learn from them. 


Now that I’m not in school, there’s a bigger physical distance between me and the people with shiny behance portfolios. They’re not sitting next to me in the school canteen anymore. 
But I also learned that artists outside the academic world are generally nice and enjoy talking about themselves and their work. My advise is: Don’t just look at other people’s portfolios online. Read their blogs, go to exhibitions, sign up for workshops, ask them stuff, pick their brains, try to find out about their process and inspirations. It’s easy to look at a finished piece of work and think “gaaah... this is genius I’ll never do that” and overlook the fact that it developed out of a lot of failure and experimentation. That piece is the good-looking tip of a huge iceberg of hard work.

4- There’s worst.
I used to entertain myself browsing bad illustration portfolios when I was feeling down. It was a guilty pleasure that I only admitted to a few close friends because I feared it was a bit pathetic to cheer myself up with other people’s lack of talent.
With time, I discovered everyone else does it! (that, or I’m only friends with terrible people) Although I wouldnt advise you to linger too much on this type of comparisions. This are not the healthiest of thoughts and eventually one of the people you think you’re better than will get the job/award/exhibition/visibility you craved for and you’ll feel like the world is unfair, have a rage attack and rip to shreds the latest Time Out issue, because they published a new article about that person’s awfull work. 

5-Call your biggest fan.
You have merit! You’ve done some interesting stuff! And if self-compliments don’t work call your mum and ask her to remind you the talented miracle kid you are. Have her tell you how everything you do is beautiful from the pasta collages in kindergarden, to the editorial works from now..

6- You will fail. You will survive.
I used to get so ansious about school my stomach would start to burn. Watching Teleshopping at 4am waiting for the painkillers to kick in is the opposite of a happy life.
To avoid that, now I focus on how all the things that make me worry: deadlines, driving exams, failed relationships, job interviews... are small in the vast universe that is my existence.


That’s how I flunked Printing Technologies on my third year. It was the day before the deadline. I had enough time to do the report, but would probably pass with a low grade, sleep very little and stress a lot.
So, I sang a karaoke version of Eye of the Tiger on Youtube, made up my mind and said to myself: nope, this is not worth the effort. I deserve to be happy. and BAM! I flunked something for the first time in my life!

Newsflash: Nothing bad happened. 
Nobody died. The world didn’t implode because of my failure.
If whatever you’re doing makes you way more miserable and ansious than it should, being well is more important. And it’s not a big deal to give up.

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