Shoebox Arts
How Do You Know You’re an Artist?

How Do You Know You’re an Artist?

by Kristine Schomaker

“Storage Wars” at The Hole, Los Angeles. Photo by Kristine Schomaker

‘A great artist has to be ready to fail.” Marina Abramović: Advice to the young.

I was listening to this youtube video with Marina Abramović this morning. While I took some of the ideas with a grain of salt, others stuck with me.

How do I know I am an artist? I just am. I can’t imagine being anything else. Anyone else. I have no idea what my practice will look like in the future. Will I be painting, drawing, cutting up more art, photographing myself, performance… Will I be a cultural producer working with others through social practice. I have no idea. It is about slowing down, drinking that glass of water, and paying attention to what I need now.

To be honest, I don’t even know how long Shoebox will be around. But I do know, it is needed now. Artists I talk to, want to connect. They want to learn. They want to find a sustainable way to live doing what they love, or what they are born to do. It is not easy. It is one of the hardest things we can do. In a world, a society, a culture that privileges making money, working 9-5, having a family, over living a life in the margins, artists push the boundaries, struggle against the ‘norm’ and fight for their right to live a life they have imagined.

In a world that is frought with homelessness, war, economic disparity, race/gender/size discrimination… how do artists continue on? Because we have to. They say, Earth without Art is just ‘eh,’ right? Art is needed. We are needed. Our voices are needed.

How do you know you’re an artist? What do you want to achieve? What stories do you want to tell? What ideas do you want to share? How are you going to do it?

Don’t stop. Fail, start over and fail again. Make bad art. Be patient. Live the life you have imagined even if that means drinking one glass of water at a time. Get in the studio and work. Work Work Work. Don’t stop. Persevere.

Matt Johnson, Desert X 2023, Palm Springs. Photo by Kristine Schomaker

My Artist Residency at Desert Dairy in Twentynine Palms. Photo by Kristine Schomaker