ohmaan

From: Michael Loderstedt

In east on 04/21/2011 at 8:31 pm

A few people have asked for this text after hearing me try to read it at Craig’s remembrance at the School of Art. I learned so much from watching and working with Craig over the years, and while these thoughts are perhaps somewhat crude summations of his influence on me, they are heartfelt and should be shared.

1.

Read. Read everything; poetry, fiction, criticism, biographies on creative people, art theory. In other words, put smart ideas into your head. Craig and I were constantly giving each other things to read, he more than I, as Craig was a voracious reader. He once said to me, “you know Michael, if students read more, we’d be out of business”. In other words he believed as I came to, much of what you needed to know about being an artist could be found in books.

2.

Get to work. If something you’re making isn’t working out, make it again.  And if that doesn’t work, try making it in a different way, with a different form or with a different material. If you want to be an artist, you have to make some work. And he taught by example, Craig was one of the most prolific and inventive artists I’ve ever known.

3 and 4 are related.

3.

Get the work out of the studio.  As an artist, you’re only as good as your last exhibition. Stop making excuses and make time to write proposals, prepare documentation, and organize exhibitions. If the perceived “art world” isn’t your scene, then make your own. Craig always supported the many shoestring art venues and student-generated projects throughout the area; he’d attend nearly every one. He encouraged students to enter the juried competitions, and often offered his own money towards the awards pool.

4.

Stay connected to people who can help your career and provide meaning to your life. When you go to an art opening, introduce yourself to the gallery director, the curator and always the artist. Remember their names, write them down if you have to, and then contact them later. Craig knew you couldn’t be an artist all by yourself; you need a lot of other people. Craig’s circle of friends and acquaintances was enormous, worldwide even and he knew the importance of maintaining those connections. And even though he knew a great many people, Craig always made room for more.

5.

Value yourself and your work, take care of your work, and take the life of being an artist seriously. Craig also took the work of his students very seriously, but only if they took themselves seriously. His respect of your work was based largely on one simple thing, your conviction for it, and the resultant quality that conviction gave the work.

6.

When necessary, be generous. Craig was one of the most generous people I have ever known. He was generous with his art, often contributing to the region’s art institutions and their benefits, and he was generous with his money. He knew that if you really believed in something, you should be willing to offer some support to it.

This post is dedicated to Craig Lucas.

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