I was recently invited back to my old school to open the graduate art and design show, and to give a short talk. This is what I said:
I’d like to talk about the beauty in the unknown.
Four years ago I was standing where you are now, and I was beginning to get quite concerned that come the end of exams i had no idea what i was going to be doing… I knew i liked art, and that art was where i wanted to be… It’s a good start but - no matter how much i tried - I just couldn’t see into the future…
It’s very easy - especially at a juncture like this - to become intimidated by the unknown.
But there’s another side to the unknown. during my time at art school I came to believe that beauty and the unknown are inextricably linked…
I’ve often found that the most beautiful parts of a painting are those that cannot completely be seen… It’s these elusive moments that draw us further into the image, In the art world this is referred to as the sublime. It’s the beauty of the unknown in its purest form.
I think that this is a perfect time to impress upon you the great opportunity that the unknown presents. The equation is simple, what is unknown is potential.
The unknown allows you to surprise yourself, to create work far better than you believed you could and then to create work even better than that. And so on…
Last year when my time at the VCA was coming to an end I was again confronted with this problem… what do I do now?.. However this time i wasn’t concerned… I was excited.
From my year at camberwell several of us went on to pursue our passions at art school, myself and jesse as visual artists, tim as a dancer, and jack as a costume designer. To name a few.
Since finishing art school, tim has danced with a company across europe… jack has worked on hats for gaga in london, jesse is living and creating in berlin and I’m fervently working away at my first book.
If you’d asked us what we thought we’d be doing a year ago we’d have all said ‘i don’t know’
The unknown provides the opportunity to create something from nothing. Who other than artists have that power?
So my advice to you is this:
Seize the day.
Trust that your best work is ahead of you.
And: Follow your instincts. Because the only person with the ability to make you successful is you.