A treasure trove of creative wisdom from some of the best artists of their generation courtesy of an amazing art museum in Denmark…
These interviews are a tremendous resource for young artists (of all ages) seeking inspiration and insight. I’ve cherry picked some of my favourites here but be sure to check out the full range of Advice to the Young interviews from Kiki Smith to Olafur Eliasson. The Louisiana Channel is a non-profit website from the remarkable Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Humlebæk, Denmark.
David Shrigley‘s given me more laugh out loud moments in galleries than any other artist. More earnest than his art might imply, Shrigley’s an enviably clear thinker with some refreshingly practical tips for young artists.
“Try and think about the project rather than the finished artwork. Set yourself a project and focus on that and don’t think about the finished artwork. The artwork is the residue of a process from a project rather than something that you see and then have to realise thereafter.”
— David Shrigley, from Louisiana Channel interview
Filmed in 2016 at Shrigley’s Coloured Works on Paper exhibition at Galleri Nicolai Wallner, Copenhagen.
At around the 3:30 mark Anderson looks up at some birds and wonderfully weaves them in to a riff on personal expression and why it might not always be all it’s cracked up to be. I could listen to Laurie Anderson all day. So too could Adam Buxton, but he only had 30 minutes with Anderson on his podcast in April 2021 but it’s the perfect main course if this starter leaves you hungry for more.
“I’m an artist because I want to be free. I hate it when people tell me what to do. The branding thing is something to really avoid. Consider it Facebook–stamping of who you are, and to resist that pressure as that pressure’s everywhere, it’s everywhere.”
— Laurie Anderson, from Louisiana Channel interview
Anderson sums up by saying “whatever makes you feel free and really good, that’s what to do. Can’t argue with that.
The famed author of Trainspotting observes that writers (most visual artists too) have to balance two contradictory things: Spending a lot of time alone, but also immersing ourselves in the world – and not everyone’s cut out for that. Welsh finishes with a typically colourful call for creative exuberance…
“The most important thing I would say to anybody who’s doing anything, whether it’s writing or music or art is do it with exuberance. Because that will come across. Just enjoy it and see it as you’re incredibly lucky to be able to do that. It’s the one freedom we have is to express ourself artistically so just go for it and enjoy it, enjoy the **** out of it.”
— Irvine Welsh, from Louisiana Channel interview
Welsh was interviewed in October 2018 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
You may have seen this clip making the rounds a few years ago. Smith delivers advice for young artists in her own inimitable way in the beautiful waterside surroundings and sculpture park of the Louisiana Museum.
“Build a good name. Keep your name clean. Don’t make compromises, don’t worry about making a bunch of money or being successful. Be concerned with doing good work and make the right choices and protect your work. And if you build a good name, eventually, that name will be its own currency.”
— Patti Smith, from Louisiana Channel interview
Artists are often strange says Japanese artist Hiroshi Sugimoto so go on a journey to try and improve yourself, go out and experience the world. Sugimoto goes on to bring up a great quote from Marcel Duchamp “I have been happy because I don’t have to become rich.”
“My advice is to look for some other jobs before you trying to become an artist. At first, you should expose yourself to many experiences. Because you must have a profound experience in life to be an artist. There aren’t many people who can express what they learn about the world. So before you try to become an artist I want you to go out to the world and learn about it.”
— Hiroshi Sugimoto, from Louisiana Channel interview
Hiroshi Sugimoto was interviewed at the Enoura Observatory in Odawara, Japan by Haruko Hoyle in June 2018.