Earlier this year I saw Cheech Marin talking about his painting collection, how art experts were always saying “painting is a dead art” and he said he would go into museums and galleries and see endless paintings.
This was a bit after Photolucida where one taste-making reviewer told me “museums and galleries don’t currently care about images with models or any kind of planned setup in them, they only want real life” and that anyone can shoot fashion without knowing anything about it- then a very established top-tier “planned portrait” photographer told me the exact opposite.
Then there are the endless calls to “brand” your work, be an expert at one thing and work that thing into the ground so you’re the “go-to guy” even though it’s likely there are many “go-to guys” and that singular style will get real stale real quick.
I think if you’re a creative person any advice to be given or received is very lifestyle-specific to the point that it’s barely worth seeking out. I know a lot of what I make is stuff that can be organized around my kids’ school schedule, and a lot of my ideas come from the things they are interested in that align with what I liked at their age. The idea of spending months away from home working on a film set or shooting nightlife or making a truly violent horror film or documentary on junkies is absurd to my lifestyle, and even if I tried it would be half hearted, but other people can make it work with ease.
David Byrne talks about how music is setting-specific in his book Music, like punk rock in a small club vs choral music in a cathedral, booty bass in a jacked out car, etc. and I’m starting all art is setting specific as well, not just the final destination like a gallery or vimeo, but the setting your life is in.