Best Creative Advice I Got From My Dad

I am biased, but my dad was nothing short of an artistic genius. He knew how to make anything and everything and was known in his industry for being the guy who made everything no one else wanted to. He has work in almost every hotel and casino on The Strip, and he was my very best friend. There isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t miss talking to him, but I know he is in a place of peace and freedom and I am so fortunate to have had him for as long as I did because he was my first and favorite art teacher (and dad.)

Being that he had always been a working artist, he had years of wisdom he shared. Sometimes I didn’t want to take it because what kid isn't sort of stubborn against someone who knows better than them? Thankfully, I eventually figured out what he meant. Not only that, I see their value and how these lessons have helped me become a stronger artist.

Learn to do as much as possible with your own two hands

My dad was always pushing me to learn more and more so that way I could grow as an artist and figure out what medium I really loved. It also allowed me to learn how to make and fix so many things that would typically not be in my skillset.

THE GIST: Always be a student and learn as many new things as possible that can push your skills as an artist

Always Sign Your Name

One of the hardest lessons my dad learned was not signing his name. When he was younger and liked to be artsy fartsy, he would sign his name with a purple dot rather than his full name. Because of this, his name went missing on a lot of work he created, and it’s hard to track down what he did work on because of it.

THE GIST: Put your name on

A clean, creative space reflects a clear state of mind

When he was young and a hippie with a beard down to his knees, he worked and lived on boats. His friend and mentor went to visit him and saw his messy area and told him to get his act together. His friend held enough respect that my dad did exactly that and became slightly obsessive about keeping things neat and organized.

THE GIST: Keep your space clean and keep your head clear

Squeaky Wheel gets the Grease

He doesn’t own this, but this was probably his FAVORITE saying. He also pished me to speak up for myself and get myself out there. It always annoyed me as a kid, but he really was right - you have to advocate for yourself and be a loudmouth and toot your own horn. If you encounter something you don’t like, then you gotta say something. If you want to get your work out there, you need to go blast your own trumpet.

THE GIST: You have to be your own advocate when it comes to sharing your art at first so don’t give up and don’t back down

Make Your Art Work For You

To my dad, being creative wasn’t just making art. It was also making your art -a business for yourself. Figuring out the best way to repeat designs and make them as versatile as, so you don't exhaust yourself creatively. Figuring out how to be efficient and adaptive with art was something he reminded all throughout my early days of becoming a graphic designer.

THE GIST: Use every available outlet you can to make the most of your art, so it makes the most for you.

Keep Your Hands Steady and Eye Contact Direct in Meetings

“It will help you keep control over the situation and present yourself in a way where no one will want to f*ck with you.” He never wanted anyone to f*ck with him but especially me but this especially stuck out. It’s no secret that new artists are often taken advantage of but keeping control over meetings, not wavering and being walked all over. It shows you are cool, calm and collected and you know your worth and in a world of people who will try to haggle over that (which - don’t) it doesn’t hurt to have as many tools of defense as possible.

THE GIST: Stay cool and collected and stand your ground - you and your work is worth it

Plan and Storyboard Your Projects

Rather than jumping into a project, my dad always told me to sit and calm down then plan my idea out. It’s easy for me, or any young artist, to charge a new, fun design and get halfway through and realize they’ve created a monster in an organizational sense. It creates an obstacle, and my dad knew that which was why he always sat me down and had me storyboard every project out, even my papers. Storyboarding with images was more comfortable, and as I got older and better at planning, I would create project “roadmaps” which is just an organized and outlined note system of the project which I use as a guide to work my way through the project. It may feel like extra time in the beginning, but when you start juggling multiple balls, it really helps keep you on track.

THE GIST: Plan every project out so you can anticipate obstacles and plan for the best results