Every Artist Should Have a Box of Artist Tricks

art box


Nothing streamlines productivity like organizing your supples into a container you can take anywhere. Every artist should have a box of artist tricks. Clay, wire, jars, little tools, scraps of stuff you find that you think would be useful. If you make collages, that could mean a box of pre-cut-out objects and body parts from magazines. Glitter, sand, cheat-sheets, stamps, mini art books, idea books, ink, chalk. Reference photos: anatomy, flowers, clouds. A bin of spray paints with a slide slot for Exact-o knives and acetate.

You can invest in a notebook to document every piece of art you make. Before I started doing music and writing more professionally, it was all art all the time. I carried around the sturdiest, most unique-looking notebook I could find on the notebook market and I, over the period of three years, documented every piece of art I made. I noted the materials, the way I made it, why I made it, ideas behind it, influences, and anything that seemed important to the coming-together of the art piece I was writing about.

Lastly and very importantly, you need someone to show your finished piece to. Or your first draft. Kurt Vonnegut said we always write for someone else; we make art with someone else in mind, usually someone we know, sometimes someone you don’t.

This is the person you show your work to, or who you wish you could show your work to. A mental muse. A standard this person represents. Or the way they totally get what you’re trying to do and are able to point out when you’re being uncharacteristically sloppy or whatever. You probably have somebody like this in your life.


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