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About Deviant Artist Curt C. ChiarelliMale/United States Recent Activity
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Advice to Young Artists

 by
Curt C. Chiarelli


I frequently receive e-mails and phone calls from young art students looking for advice and guidance in their careers. So, in service to that cause, I've decided to formulate some general guidelines on the subject that are applicable to all artists, no matter what their field or medium of choice happens to be. Life is hard, but the world of art is harder. Hopefully these hard-won lessons and musings on our vocation will help ease your path: 
  • The life of an artist is the life of an adventurer of the mind. Master yourself to become the master of your own adventure. This approach will smooth over the inevitable rough patches that you are bound to experience during your journey.
  • Develop a real work-horse of a work ethic, but do not allow your drive to succeed to drive the work. If you do, you will burn out and the final product will be lacking in poetry because it will not be informed by passion, only a lust for profit and fame. 
  • Understand that dues-paying is not a novice's door-fee initiation into the arts/entertainment business. Accept that you will never stop paying your dues so long as you are an artist. It is the price we pay for remaining faithful to our true selves after everyone else has forsaken their's and become a soulless, conformist zombie, a member of the “walking undead". Consider it a luxury tax on your humanity in an inhumane world. 

  • Do not go into debt. Never become obligated to anyone, ever, for anything. Debt is the slayer of dreams, the destroyer of human potential and the leveler of every society's true greatness. In a debt-based, predatory capitalist society there are only two major distinctions: vampires and their victims. Become neither by remaining aloof from this exploitative system. Your independence will engender contempt, but it is far better than the self-loathing that comes from selling yourself out in exchange for a sackful of loose change.
  • Always be flexible when learning new things, but remain steadfast when it comes to your ethics. 

  • Understand that the field of art calls to you like the great love of your life. The stronger the call, the greater the passion and longevity. Likewise, as in any great marriage, there will be dry spells. Don't be panicked by this: be patient and ride them out. You will find that your mind was only re-charging its creative batteries for the next wave of intense activity. 

  • Control is achieved through surrender. Creativity is as sublime and as supple as a great river and, as such, it has its own unique course and rhythm. Do not fight its currents or try to dam up its forces. To harness its power to the fullest, follow its ebb and flow wherever it takes you. 

  • Arrogance is a sign of deep insecurity, not great talent. 
  • The arrogance of youth often precedes its achievements. Diminish the former and emphasize the latter.

  • Be humble before your art-form, but never servile towards your colleagues. How you feel about yourself will be reflected in how you treat others. Show respect for your field and yourself by first showing it to your colleagues. Respect is a cycle that requires all its participants to keep the momentum going - when one fails, the system collapses and everyone suffers because of it.  

  • As a corollary to the previous entry, never cede authority to anyone who refuses to respect others.  

  • Power is an illusion that only becomes real when it has been ceded to another, and thus becomes difficult to regain once it assumes the substance of force. Therefore, never trust anyone who desires power. Art is not about power, although art is frequently influenced by it in the affairs of man. Power is about control achieved through the threat of force and nothing could be more antithetical to the creative impetus from which art springs. 

  • Always build bridges, never burn them. Those who think that they are speeding up their career ascent by hamstringing colleagues are, in reality, only prematurely hastening its demise. 

  • There are no short-cuts. The only careers that last or matter are the ones built and maintained through decades of practice, networking, shrewd planning and hard work. So, one of the most misleading catch phrases used in the arts/entertainment business is “over-night success”. In truth, many “over-night successes” are at least twenty-five years in the making! 

  • “Success” is a deeply subjective and often very shallow term, so why chain your expectations to someone else’s definition of it and then sink into the depths when you fail? Instead, sail under the power and purpose of your own unique definition of the term for a more authentic journey. 

  • A client is not paying for the hours of labor billed on a commission, rather they are paying for the decade’s worth of finely honed skills and technical understanding needed to make their project a success. Taking this into account, even the most lavishly paid artist is still making less than minimum wage. 

  • The best long-term strategy for success in a tough economy is not found in ruthless competition, but rather in mutual cooperation.  

  • Never measure your worth against that of another colleague. The truly superior artist is the one who transcends his own latest achievements, not the one who out-competes his rivals. Leave the brinkmanship games where they belong: in the daycare nursery. 

  • Diversify. Always maintain your receptiveness to new opportunities and avenues for expressing your creativity when you're young because you never know what interesting and profitable paths it will lead to later on in your career. 

  • Challenge yourself to grow as an artist and it will grow your career.  

  • Greed is a form of poverty cultivated by people who lack love, imagination and empathy. The truly wealthy are aristocrats of the intellect; their estate is portable, yet limitless in its horizons. Embrace this form of wealth, but do not disdain money. The first allows you to thrive, but the other is necessary to survive. Understand this distinction for a balanced, happy and productive life.
  • Never before has so much bad communication been performed with such sophisticated communication technology. Good communication is not only a courtesy that builds professional credibility, but it is also the very basis of what art is supposed to achieve when done well. 

  • Do not rely so heavily on digital technology: it is not a replacement for the analogue - it is a facilitator of an artist’s work, not an enabler of the mediocre. Technological innovation has outstripped human evolution, but our ancient, instinctual needs for the interpersonal, the excellent and the tactile remains as strong as ever. Ignore this and your work will suffer. 

  • With our society’s growing alienation being intensified by an over-reliance on electronic media to replace meaningful human interactions, empathy for others is becoming increasingly rare. Your talent is a wonderful accident of circumstance, but how you manage it isn’t. The arts/entertainment business has a fragile ecology. It is a small, insular world where small gestures can have big consequences. So, think beyond your immediate gratification when you act or speak. Use your ears more frequently than your mouth and allow empathy to guide your actions when you have questions about how to proceed. 

  • Embrace the rôle of lifelong learner and take calculated risks. Accept periodic failures as a part of your career trajectory because you will learn far more from one failure than a hundred successes. Besides, it is far less damaging to make your mistakes before you begin your career than after you've established it. 

  • The blank page and empty canvas should not be a challenge to your ego, but rather an invitation to achievement. Sex, drugs and other distractions (like video games) are nothing more than procrastination in hedonistic form. It is a means of dodging the vanity-bruising trial and error that is vital to everyone’s creative growth. So, swallow your pride . . . . and drop the bowl, the bimbo and the joystick. Acumen and honest labor are the only way to build strong self-esteem in a field rife with fragile egos propped up by flimsy reputations. 

  • Strike a proper balance between style and substance. Allow each aspect to compliment the other and to reinforce the integrity of the whole person.
  • Do not procrastinate. All your tomorrows will soon become yesterdays faster than you can possibly imagine. The sense of passing time and the regret of lost opportunities only deepens as the years advance. Create now with great urgency.
  • Never dismiss or disdain your early efforts. Each piece is a single footstep leading you upwards towards your goal. Yesterday’s efforts allow you to achieve the heights today and the peaks tomorrow. 

  • Only one thing in the world of art is guaranteed: no one - no matter what their level of talent - will ever become more incompetent through conscientious practice. 

  • Always approach every new project like you are a beginner, but finish it like a seasoned veteran. The beginner's outlook will always keep you young at heart, your mind limber and give your work freshness. 

  • Never stop dreaming. The day you allow Life to vanquish your dreams is the day your life as an artist will end - indeed, it is the day that life will end within you. To kill the dream is to kill the man, so protect your dreams at any cost. 

  • Anyone who attempts to squelch your dreams is trying to control and own you. Some will even try to divert your dreams into theirs by living vicariously through your creativity. They are parasites and cowards. Cast them out of your life. Nothing wholesome and natural thrives shackled to another or lives inside a cage, including creative talent.  

  • In its narcissism, mankind is unique as the only known creature who believes itself to be above the reciprocal give-and-take cycle of life. Like the rest of humanity, artists also take intellectual and emotional sustenance from their environment, but unlike many others they often give back a thousand fold what they’ve taken from their world - often in spite of the apathy and resistance shown towards them. It could thus be said that creativity is a perpetually renewable resource and one of the most sustainable activities known to mankind. 

  • Beware the charismatic teacher who acts like a cult leader. They colonize the minds of their students, displacing their personae and prerogatives with their own, molding the students into groupies who will provide him/her with an unlimited narcissistic supply. In their hands, the classroom becomes a funhouse hall of mirrors reflecting only the warped, selfish needs of the teacher, rather than what it should be: an incubator of young minds and a forum for the open examination of ideas. 

  • The only thing of value that a teacher can impart to their students is a practical knowledge of materials and technique. The most gifted teachers are able to inspire their student’s drive and talent, but not install the drive and talent itself into an indolent mind. 

  • The creative forces within you are a living thing that requires proper nourishment and vigorous exercise. Practice your craft and gorge your curiosity at the smörgåsbord of the humanities or your creativity will warp and wither over time.  

  • Creativity is the seminal paradox that bridges the child and the man, our mortality and immortality, our past, the present and its future. It cannot be measured with tests, yet it is demeaned by the education system as an extracurricular activity. It is harnessed to industry for profit, yet it is dismissed by society as the plaything of folly. It is marginalized to the periphery, yet it is central to who we are as a species. It is envied and desired by all because it recalls the purity and joy of what it means to be most fully alive and human. Celebrate and embrace this stigma. 

  • Use your curiosity, passion for excellence and openness to experience to drive your talent and life. When you approach art from this perspective a whole constellation of possibilities opens up for you . . . . even as it closes a whole chapter of your life. Do not expect others to support your passion and purpose: your courage will expose their cowardice and vapidity by comparison. Harden yourself to the obtuseness, hostility and jealousy of others. 

  • Value may be relative in the arts, but the arts have more than proven their value to society. Never allow anyone to convince you otherwise. 

  • Demonstrate generosity and patience with less experienced colleagues. Let your memory of what it was like to be young and vulnerable be your guide in how to treat novices. Remember, they are now what you were once not too long ago. 

  • Every piece you create is your child. You conceived and nurtured it to maturity. It carries your DNA and the stamp of your intellect. It is also your bridge to posterity. So, it is a cruel thing indeed to expose it to the harsh, arbitrary whims of fortune and the public-at-large. And weathering this gauntlet is by no means a guarantee of an assured legacy, either. Like it or not, this is the nature of an artist’s dialogue with their society - past, present and future. 

  • Accordingly, develop a hide that is tough, flexible and permeable, not a bunker mentality that is rigid, entrenched and sealed-off from the current of fresh ideas circulating around you. Discern between constructive and destructive criticism, harnessing the former to guide your growth and disdaining the latter as the waste product of toxic minds. Be receptive to the insights that can improve your work while filtering out and ignoring the rest for what it is: a stream of hot gas flowing from an incontinent orifice. 

  • Words only have worth when they are backed by actions that are consistent with them. Building a reputation of honoring your word paves an easier path for progress in your life and career. 

  • In a world jaded by marketing spin, the quality of your work is its best advertisement, not the words you use to promote it. 

  • Art is an ancient borderland where the rigid compartmentalization between work and play, the child and the man, becomes blurred. This harkens back to a pre-modern era before the Industrial Revolution and Consumerism forced people to live inauthentic lives enslaved to production quotas, debt peonage and status anxiety. An unmitigated blessing in a bygone age, artistic talent can be a curse in today's world because it is incompatible with its dominant features: selfishness and ruthless greed. This fact alone condemns the priorities of our post-industrial world, not the artistic talents who have made living in it bearable. 

  • The world is full of talented dilettantes and fools who never achieved anything except by sporadic accident. Your talent alone will not see you through, only your consistency and commitment to it will. 

  • Art serves many purposes and the world is wide enough to accommodate them all. The muck and murk of our banal, spin-infested world is clarified by visionaries and obscured by the gimmickry of charlatans, while yet others serve up frothy confections as a distraction from life’s bitter disappointments. See them for what they truly are and understand that all are a part of the same continuum. You cannot fully admire the great and good without having the fraudulent and the downright bad as a reference point. 

  • Never lose an opportunity to view art in person or to meet colleagues. When you view art online or in a book you are experiencing greatness diminished by several degrees of separation. Nothing brings home the impact of our shared humanity and a sense of continuity with greater immediacy than seeing the brushstrokes, chisel marks, fingerprints and pentimenti in a great piece of art. Nothing inspires a sense of possibility in a young talent more than the realization that human beings like themselves - not god-like abstractions - created these cultural milestones. 

  • All artists have before them an elusive vision of 100% perfection, but what they achieve often falls short of it. Exercising patience, diligence and tenacity are three of the artist’s greatest tools in bridging this yawning chasm, in narrowing this wide disparity between their vision and its realization. 

  • A user is a loser in the long run. Friendships casually made are often conveniently dropped at the approach of difficulties, especially in the arts/entertainment business. Using others as a stepping stone is considered the norm. Be abnormal; rise above the expected. Forging lasting ties is an investment in your future well-being on every level. 

  • Life can be frightening and lonely, but without your creativity by your side it will be even more so. Never abandon it and it will serve you faithfully in return. People will fail you, but art will always remain a loyal friend and guide you through the darkest of nights. 

  • Civilization is defined by the works of its creators, but often within the context of its destruction by the less enlightened. A society can achieve impressive technological innovation, but without culture and its avatars, it is not a true civilization, only a caricature of one. 

  • Gain a wider perspective: understand the artist’s relationship to their society. Become aware of the larger trends and patterns that effect your life and career. The framework in which we operate as artists in the Western world is as follows: a minority, the ruling élite, exploits the apathy and ignorance of the majority to dominate them and, in the process of doing so, frequently thwarts the efforts of an even smaller minority, the creators who are dedicated to building culture. Bear this power dynamic in mind as you progress along your career path. 

  • To the ruling élite, creativity is threatening because it eludes their control, and doubly so because it is necessary to the health of the societies they wish to rule. Thus, the relationship between the ruling élite and artists is often strained because creativity cannot be quantified, commodified or caged by them. It runs parallel to their ambitions, if not contrary to its prerogatives. Occasionally this dynamic will result in patronage for the artist, but it is a highly fickle one as it is based upon the whims of fad and fashion, not the benefit of society. Therefore, do not rely entirely upon it for a living: it would be tantamount to building your home on top of a quicksand. 

  • Appreciate that most people have no concept of how truly powerful they are. They have been brainwashed into believing that they are powerless, that their security lies in passive conformity and obedience to authority. Thus, most people fritter away their lives waiting for permission to live. By putting off life as something to be experienced to the fullest tomorrow, they serve the forces of death today. The ruling élites harness this fear, frustration and despair to control the majority, to bend them to their will. Understand that the world would be transformed overnight if more people could perceive these truths and act constructively upon them. Ultimately, the only revolution that will ever truly change our world is the intimate one which aligns the rigors of the human intellect with the yearnings of its heart. Become a leader in this silent revolution. 

  • Are you a creator, a destroyer or one of their passive enablers? Your choice not only defines you as a person and an artist, but it effects the moral timbre of the times you live in, so choose well. 

  • The arts are an engine of change in our world. Beginning at the far periphery and moving in towards the center of the human condition, the creation of art, to a greater or lesser degree, contributes to that progress. The objective is not to reach the center, i.e. to completely master our situation (which is an unachievable goal), rather, it is the transformative act of learning about ourselves along the way as we work towards it. It is here that we forge our identity and develop the humanity that informs our art. 

  • Respect older colleagues. They and their achievements are not landfill in the upward grade of “progress”, rather they are an important link in a chain of continuity which made your career in the arts possible. They are the pioneers who cut the path that you now follow where none existed before. Appreciating the past allows us to understand how we arrived in our present and gives us the perspective to glimpse the future. 

  • In summary: We artists are the medium through which the world experiences itself. Never forget that we are the ones who bring color, light, motion, words, sound, form and feeling to the increasingly degraded lives of many people - lives cowed, stunted and stripped barren by isolation, anxiety, fear and rage. We proffer a voice to the inarticulate, ascendancy to the forgotten, effulgence to the bereft and a sense of wonder to those beyond hope of a far horizon. We throw up edifices that embrace the skies, festoon public places and adorn inner sanctums. We fill the abscesses hollowed out by social alienation with a sense of emotional fulfillment and a connection to our shared humanity. What we craft is wrought with a passion, energy and commitment that gives something fresh back to each viewer, reader or listener. Artists give far more than they receive. We always have and always will. And without us, the lives of many in this modern world wouldn't be bearable.

 

 Copyright © 2016 Curt C. Chiarelli

  

   



 

Marlon Brando Killed By Black Hole; Los Angeles County Threatened


July 1, 2004


Los Angeles, California (Dis-Associated Press) — After consuming nothing but McDonald's Quarter Pounder Combo Meals for nine straight weeks, Academy Award-winning legendary actor, Marlon Brando was swallowed late Thursday night by a black hole that formed in his ass. 

Biophysicists at the U.C.L.A. Center for Advanced Research concluded that the suspect - a high-calorie bolus, composed of vast quantities of deep fried starches, high-fructose corn syrup and Grade D meat byproducts - developed such a heavy molecular density as it traveled down the length of his digestive tract that it collapsed into itself and created a miniature black hole in his rectum. 

Acting quickly, members of the scientific community coordinated with members of the L.A.P.D., the National Guard and the National Association of Real Estate Professionals to cordon-off Mr. Brando's ass and to establish his inseam as the event horizon after an entire housing subdivision of suburban Los Angeles was swallowed by the sucking vortex. "At first we were concerned that Thousand Oaks would be next," said Sheriff's Deputy, Hector Csongolasz, "but then we remembered that it was a part of Ventura County and full of Republicans, so everything's chill." 

Later that evening, Mr. Brando was finally claimed by the same black hole which threatened the safety and rising real estate values of so many Angelinos, thus concluding one of Hollywood's most brilliant, but eccentric, acting careers.   

Mr. Brando's personal physician, Dr. Roderick Billingsworth commented on the tragedy: "This is all my fault. If I hadn't installed that security lock with a retinal scan on his refrigerator he wouldn't have made that run for the Golden Arches. I can only imagine what kind of merry hell this played on his enlarged prostate. And that's not even mentioning what a singularity can do to your hemorrhoids."
 

Copyright © 2004 Curt C. Chiarelli

April 1, 2011


RE: Your Application for Employment


Mr. Glenn Beck
666 N by NW Elmer Gantry Drive
New Canaan, Connecticut 06840


Dear Mr. Beck: 

After careful review, I regret to inform you that we have opted to pass on your generous offer to take over Keith Olbermann's slot here at MSNBC - in spite of your stated conviction that our organization desperately needs your spiritual stewardship and that God's wrath will descend upon us if we choose to do otherwise.   

Our staff at MSNBC are dedicated, seasoned veterans with advanced degrees in media journalism . . . . not hellfire-and-brimstone pulpit-thumping or beerhall putsch rabble-rousing. In case this detail escaped your attention, we are a NEWS organization whose content is peer-reviewed, not the propaganda department of some political party, religious cult or corporate lobbyist group. We not only disseminate news in a responsible manner, but we also broadcast INFORMED EDITORIAL OPINIONS supported by HARD FACTS, LOGIC and the CRITICAL ANALYSIS of respected industry professionals. 

Even overlooking the threatening tone of your cover letter or the fact that our security personnel forcibly ejected you from the building after you were caught stalking our human resources director while quoting from the Book of Revelations (in particular, the passage concerning the Whore of Babylon), several other aspects of your submission gave us cause for alarm: namely your appalling grasp of basic English grammar, geography, mathematics, history, economic theory, modern politics and the sciences. Amongst the many glaring examples of this are your "faith-based" assertions that a radical Marxist cabal based in Kenya and headed by President Obama is directly responsible for increased volcanic activity worldwide and that World War II was begun by a jihadist faction of the Ottoman Empire attacking the American naval fleet stationed in Key West. Suffice it to say, we will not bother to comment upon your presentation skills as the content of what you have to say undermines the credibility of everything that follows. 

In consideration of the foregoing, we see your application as less an attempt to seek gainful employment than as a cry for help. Accordingly, please find enclosed with this rejection letter a list of accredited institutions that can help you obtain your G.E.D. Also included is a recent New York Post job ad clipping for a sales staff position at Jack Chick Publications. 

In summary, we view your "talents" in paranoid/delusional messianism as best suited for the community access TV station level in states like Texas or Arkansas. The critical thinking and educational standards are less rigorous there than those found in New York and the damage you can inflict upon the quality of America's national political discourse will be greatly reduced. 

These changes will necessitate a steep $32 million cut in your current annual salary, but aren't these sacrifices worth it to identify more closely with your much-beloved Common Man during this time of economic crisis? As you no doubt are well acquainted, leaching off of welfare state largesse is a veritable tradition for the American underclass. Why should you be any different? 

In the meantime, other austerity measures - like home foreclosure and homelessness - will become a quaint, but regrettable fact of life. With careful budgeting, your monthly food stamp allotment should sustain you and your family of four on a steady diet of Ramen noodles with enough money left over at the end of the year to celebrate Christmas with a liter of Coke and a few Slim Jims. As long as you can stay one step ahead of the repo-man and can afford the spiraling price of gas, living out of your Mercedes SUV should be quite idyllic for you and the whole family, even during those brutal New England winters.

In addition to this, may we also recommend a combined regimen of psychiatric counseling and heavy sedation? A wide variety of excellent anti-psychotic medications are now available on the market to help stabilize your condition. 

In conclusion, thank you for applying at MSNBC. In an ongoing effort to reduce our impact upon the environment, we have chosen to "recycle" your résumé in the maintenance personnel washroom. We wish you well in your job search, but please be advised that any future attempt to contact us will result in a letter from our attorney and potential criminal prosecution.

Sincerely Yours,

Phil Griffin,
President
MSNBC TV, Inc.
One MSNBC Plaza
Secaucus, New Jersey 07094


Enclosures: (3)


CC: Ms. Drusilla Palaver-Sneed,
      Director of Human Resources 

     

Copyright 2011 © Curt C. Chiarelli

 

    Glenn E. Beck


   Address: 666 N by NW Elmer Gantry Drive
   New Canaan, Connecticut 06840
   Telephone: (203) 666 - 9999
   E-Mail: TheBeckMonster@EndTimes.com
   Website: www.EndTimes.com

    

     

EDUCATION:    

- Hooked-on-Phonics Academy
- Sehome Community High School (Drop-out - 2.1 G.P.A.). 
 
CAREER OBJECTIVE:
 
To obtain employment that serves the righteousness of God's Divine Law: i.e. to shield His Chosen People (the wealthiest white Christians) from persecution by a sinister cabal of radical Islamic militants, environmental and anti-war activists, negroes, illegal immigrants, femi-nazis, atheists/secular humanists, financial industry reformers, cultural élitists, public school teachers, union teamsters, the Illuminati-infested Federal Reserve, married homosexuals, the A.C.L.U.-controlled Liberal Media demagogues, Freemasons and the dark tide of other Satanic/Marxist forces conspiring to overwhelm America and thwart its plan to manipulate Israel into bringing about Armageddon and the Rapture.
 
EMPLOYMENT
EXPERIENCE:                   
     
Fox News Corporation® (2008 - 2011) News commentator, prophet and official staff messiah.
Brookhaven Drug and Alcohol Rehab Clinic (1998 - 2007) Patient.
Wal-Mart Corporation® (1997 - 1998) Bathroom maintenance personnel.
KFUK AM 86.5 (1995 - 1996) Intern and janitorial personnel.
Brookhaven Drug and Alcohol Rehab Clinic (1986 - 1994) Patient.
Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints® (1981 - 1983) Bathroom attendant and Sunday school counselor.    
     
SKILLS:
     
- Ordained Instrument of God's Will.
- Fully licensed and accredited Rapture® consultant.
- Officially-trained Tea Party® echo chamber technician.
- Owner and skilled operator of the Tailgunner Joe McCarthy Limited Edition H.U.A.C. Secret Decoder Ring®.
- Historical revisionist with a special emphasis on American post-World War II era racial issues.
- Special C.I.A. training in occult covert operations, subversive political cabals, conspiracy theories and secret societies.
- Attended the exclusive, invitation-only seminar titled, "The Media Propaganda Techniques of Joseph Goebbels" hosted by Karl Rove at the Cato Institute (July 2 - 4, 2007).
- Attended the seminar titled, "Defense Budget Spending, Bankrolling Israel and The Rapture: An Investment in Your Future as a Christian" hosted by former Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld at the Heritage Foundation (February 21 - 26, 2003).
- Attended the seminar titled, "The Bowel Movement as Transcendental Experience: The Spiritual Life and Work of the Reverend Jim Jones" hosted by David Barton at the Mount Vernon Community Center (September 12 - 17, 2002).
- Seen over two hundred Broadway performances of Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark.
- Highly experienced player of Left Behind and many other Christian first-person-shooter video games.
- Official Fox News® staff cocktail technician.
- Fourth-grade level reading proficiency.
- Recovering Mormon®. 
 
ASSOCIATION
MEMBERSHIPS:
 
- Tea Party®.
- Birther Nation®.
- John Birch Society®. 
- Americans For Prosperity®.
- National Rifle Association®.
- Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints®. 
 
HONORS AND AWARDS:
 
- Sean Hannity's intern and personal valet.
- Bill O' Reilly's junior drinking consultant.
- Official David Barton Constitutional Scholar®.
- Ann Coulter's Vicodan® and Percoset® supplier.
- Officially-sponsored Koch Brothers® media circus consultant.
- Elected Sehome Community High School's "Most Likely to End His Life Committing Suicide to the Music of Kurt Cobain".
     
     
   DEMO TAPE and REFERENCES AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST
     
     
Copyright 2011 © Curt C. Chiarelli
 

Advice to Young Artists

 by
Curt C. Chiarelli


I frequently receive e-mails and phone calls from young art students looking for advice and guidance in their careers. So, in service to that cause, I've decided to formulate some general guidelines on the subject that are applicable to all artists, no matter what their field or medium of choice happens to be. Life is hard, but the world of art is harder. Hopefully these hard-won lessons and musings on our vocation will help ease your path: 
  • The life of an artist is the life of an adventurer of the mind. Master yourself to become the master of your own adventure. This approach will smooth over the inevitable rough patches that you are bound to experience during your journey.
  • Develop a real work-horse of a work ethic, but do not allow your drive to succeed to drive the work. If you do, you will burn out and the final product will be lacking in poetry because it will not be informed by passion, only a lust for profit and fame. 
  • Understand that dues-paying is not a novice's door-fee initiation into the arts/entertainment business. Accept that you will never stop paying your dues so long as you are an artist. It is the price we pay for remaining faithful to our true selves after everyone else has forsaken their's and become a soulless, conformist zombie, a member of the “walking undead". Consider it a luxury tax on your humanity in an inhumane world. 

  • Do not go into debt. Never become obligated to anyone, ever, for anything. Debt is the slayer of dreams, the destroyer of human potential and the leveler of every society's true greatness. In a debt-based, predatory capitalist society there are only two major distinctions: vampires and their victims. Become neither by remaining aloof from this exploitative system. Your independence will engender contempt, but it is far better than the self-loathing that comes from selling yourself out in exchange for a sackful of loose change.
  • Always be flexible when learning new things, but remain steadfast when it comes to your ethics. 

  • Understand that the field of art calls to you like the great love of your life. The stronger the call, the greater the passion and longevity. Likewise, as in any great marriage, there will be dry spells. Don't be panicked by this: be patient and ride them out. You will find that your mind was only re-charging its creative batteries for the next wave of intense activity. 

  • Control is achieved through surrender. Creativity is as sublime and as supple as a great river and, as such, it has its own unique course and rhythm. Do not fight its currents or try to dam up its forces. To harness its power to the fullest, follow its ebb and flow wherever it takes you. 

  • Arrogance is a sign of deep insecurity, not great talent. 
  • The arrogance of youth often precedes its achievements. Diminish the former and emphasize the latter.

  • Be humble before your art-form, but never servile towards your colleagues. How you feel about yourself will be reflected in how you treat others. Show respect for your field and yourself by first showing it to your colleagues. Respect is a cycle that requires all its participants to keep the momentum going - when one fails, the system collapses and everyone suffers because of it.  

  • As a corollary to the previous entry, never cede authority to anyone who refuses to respect others.  

  • Power is an illusion that only becomes real when it has been ceded to another, and thus becomes difficult to regain once it assumes the substance of force. Therefore, never trust anyone who desires power. Art is not about power, although art is frequently influenced by it in the affairs of man. Power is about control achieved through the threat of force and nothing could be more antithetical to the creative impetus from which art springs. 

  • Always build bridges, never burn them. Those who think that they are speeding up their career ascent by hamstringing colleagues are, in reality, only prematurely hastening its demise. 

  • There are no short-cuts. The only careers that last or matter are the ones built and maintained through decades of practice, networking, shrewd planning and hard work. So, one of the most misleading catch phrases used in the arts/entertainment business is “over-night success”. In truth, many “over-night successes” are at least twenty-five years in the making! 

  • “Success” is a deeply subjective and often very shallow term, so why chain your expectations to someone else’s definition of it and then sink into the depths when you fail? Instead, sail under the power and purpose of your own unique definition of the term for a more authentic journey. 

  • A client is not paying for the hours of labor billed on a commission, rather they are paying for the decade’s worth of finely honed skills and technical understanding needed to make their project a success. Taking this into account, even the most lavishly paid artist is still making less than minimum wage. 

  • The best long-term strategy for success in a tough economy is not found in ruthless competition, but rather in mutual cooperation.  

  • Never measure your worth against that of another colleague. The truly superior artist is the one who transcends his own latest achievements, not the one who out-competes his rivals. Leave the brinkmanship games where they belong: in the daycare nursery. 

  • Diversify. Always maintain your receptiveness to new opportunities and avenues for expressing your creativity when you're young because you never know what interesting and profitable paths it will lead to later on in your career. 

  • Challenge yourself to grow as an artist and it will grow your career.  

  • Greed is a form of poverty cultivated by people who lack love, imagination and empathy. The truly wealthy are aristocrats of the intellect; their estate is portable, yet limitless in its horizons. Embrace this form of wealth, but do not disdain money. The first allows you to thrive, but the other is necessary to survive. Understand this distinction for a balanced, happy and productive life.
  • Never before has so much bad communication been performed with such sophisticated communication technology. Good communication is not only a courtesy that builds professional credibility, but it is also the very basis of what art is supposed to achieve when done well. 

  • Do not rely so heavily on digital technology: it is not a replacement for the analogue - it is a facilitator of an artist’s work, not an enabler of the mediocre. Technological innovation has outstripped human evolution, but our ancient, instinctual needs for the interpersonal, the excellent and the tactile remains as strong as ever. Ignore this and your work will suffer. 

  • With our society’s growing alienation being intensified by an over-reliance on electronic media to replace meaningful human interactions, empathy for others is becoming increasingly rare. Your talent is a wonderful accident of circumstance, but how you manage it isn’t. The arts/entertainment business has a fragile ecology. It is a small, insular world where small gestures can have big consequences. So, think beyond your immediate gratification when you act or speak. Use your ears more frequently than your mouth and allow empathy to guide your actions when you have questions about how to proceed. 

  • Embrace the rôle of lifelong learner and take calculated risks. Accept periodic failures as a part of your career trajectory because you will learn far more from one failure than a hundred successes. Besides, it is far less damaging to make your mistakes before you begin your career than after you've established it. 

  • The blank page and empty canvas should not be a challenge to your ego, but rather an invitation to achievement. Sex, drugs and other distractions (like video games) are nothing more than procrastination in hedonistic form. It is a means of dodging the vanity-bruising trial and error that is vital to everyone’s creative growth. So, swallow your pride . . . . and drop the bowl, the bimbo and the joystick. Acumen and honest labor are the only way to build strong self-esteem in a field rife with fragile egos propped up by flimsy reputations. 

  • Strike a proper balance between style and substance. Allow each aspect to compliment the other and to reinforce the integrity of the whole person.
  • Do not procrastinate. All your tomorrows will soon become yesterdays faster than you can possibly imagine. The sense of passing time and the regret of lost opportunities only deepens as the years advance. Create now with great urgency.
  • Never dismiss or disdain your early efforts. Each piece is a single footstep leading you upwards towards your goal. Yesterday’s efforts allow you to achieve the heights today and the peaks tomorrow. 

  • Only one thing in the world of art is guaranteed: no one - no matter what their level of talent - will ever become more incompetent through conscientious practice. 

  • Always approach every new project like you are a beginner, but finish it like a seasoned veteran. The beginner's outlook will always keep you young at heart, your mind limber and give your work freshness. 

  • Never stop dreaming. The day you allow Life to vanquish your dreams is the day your life as an artist will end - indeed, it is the day that life will end within you. To kill the dream is to kill the man, so protect your dreams at any cost. 

  • Anyone who attempts to squelch your dreams is trying to control and own you. Some will even try to divert your dreams into theirs by living vicariously through your creativity. They are parasites and cowards. Cast them out of your life. Nothing wholesome and natural thrives shackled to another or lives inside a cage, including creative talent.  

  • In its narcissism, mankind is unique as the only known creature who believes itself to be above the reciprocal give-and-take cycle of life. Like the rest of humanity, artists also take intellectual and emotional sustenance from their environment, but unlike many others they often give back a thousand fold what they’ve taken from their world - often in spite of the apathy and resistance shown towards them. It could thus be said that creativity is a perpetually renewable resource and one of the most sustainable activities known to mankind. 

  • Beware the charismatic teacher who acts like a cult leader. They colonize the minds of their students, displacing their personae and prerogatives with their own, molding the students into groupies who will provide him/her with an unlimited narcissistic supply. In their hands, the classroom becomes a funhouse hall of mirrors reflecting only the warped, selfish needs of the teacher, rather than what it should be: an incubator of young minds and a forum for the open examination of ideas. 

  • The only thing of value that a teacher can impart to their students is a practical knowledge of materials and technique. The most gifted teachers are able to inspire their student’s drive and talent, but not install the drive and talent itself into an indolent mind. 

  • The creative forces within you are a living thing that requires proper nourishment and vigorous exercise. Practice your craft and gorge your curiosity at the smörgåsbord of the humanities or your creativity will warp and wither over time.  

  • Creativity is the seminal paradox that bridges the child and the man, our mortality and immortality, our past, the present and its future. It cannot be measured with tests, yet it is demeaned by the education system as an extracurricular activity. It is harnessed to industry for profit, yet it is dismissed by society as the plaything of folly. It is marginalized to the periphery, yet it is central to who we are as a species. It is envied and desired by all because it recalls the purity and joy of what it means to be most fully alive and human. Celebrate and embrace this stigma. 

  • Use your curiosity, passion for excellence and openness to experience to drive your talent and life. When you approach art from this perspective a whole constellation of possibilities opens up for you . . . . even as it closes a whole chapter of your life. Do not expect others to support your passion and purpose: your courage will expose their cowardice and vapidity by comparison. Harden yourself to the obtuseness, hostility and jealousy of others. 

  • Value may be relative in the arts, but the arts have more than proven their value to society. Never allow anyone to convince you otherwise. 

  • Demonstrate generosity and patience with less experienced colleagues. Let your memory of what it was like to be young and vulnerable be your guide in how to treat novices. Remember, they are now what you were once not too long ago. 

  • Every piece you create is your child. You conceived and nurtured it to maturity. It carries your DNA and the stamp of your intellect. It is also your bridge to posterity. So, it is a cruel thing indeed to expose it to the harsh, arbitrary whims of fortune and the public-at-large. And weathering this gauntlet is by no means a guarantee of an assured legacy, either. Like it or not, this is the nature of an artist’s dialogue with their society - past, present and future. 

  • Accordingly, develop a hide that is tough, flexible and permeable, not a bunker mentality that is rigid, entrenched and sealed-off from the current of fresh ideas circulating around you. Discern between constructive and destructive criticism, harnessing the former to guide your growth and disdaining the latter as the waste product of toxic minds. Be receptive to the insights that can improve your work while filtering out and ignoring the rest for what it is: a stream of hot gas flowing from an incontinent orifice. 

  • Words only have worth when they are backed by actions that are consistent with them. Building a reputation of honoring your word paves an easier path for progress in your life and career. 

  • In a world jaded by marketing spin, the quality of your work is its best advertisement, not the words you use to promote it. 

  • Art is an ancient borderland where the rigid compartmentalization between work and play, the child and the man, becomes blurred. This harkens back to a pre-modern era before the Industrial Revolution and Consumerism forced people to live inauthentic lives enslaved to production quotas, debt peonage and status anxiety. An unmitigated blessing in a bygone age, artistic talent can be a curse in today's world because it is incompatible with its dominant features: selfishness and ruthless greed. This fact alone condemns the priorities of our post-industrial world, not the artistic talents who have made living in it bearable. 

  • The world is full of talented dilettantes and fools who never achieved anything except by sporadic accident. Your talent alone will not see you through, only your consistency and commitment to it will. 

  • Art serves many purposes and the world is wide enough to accommodate them all. The muck and murk of our banal, spin-infested world is clarified by visionaries and obscured by the gimmickry of charlatans, while yet others serve up frothy confections as a distraction from life’s bitter disappointments. See them for what they truly are and understand that all are a part of the same continuum. You cannot fully admire the great and good without having the fraudulent and the downright bad as a reference point. 

  • Never lose an opportunity to view art in person or to meet colleagues. When you view art online or in a book you are experiencing greatness diminished by several degrees of separation. Nothing brings home the impact of our shared humanity and a sense of continuity with greater immediacy than seeing the brushstrokes, chisel marks, fingerprints and pentimenti in a great piece of art. Nothing inspires a sense of possibility in a young talent more than the realization that human beings like themselves - not god-like abstractions - created these cultural milestones. 

  • All artists have before them an elusive vision of 100% perfection, but what they achieve often falls short of it. Exercising patience, diligence and tenacity are three of the artist’s greatest tools in bridging this yawning chasm, in narrowing this wide disparity between their vision and its realization. 

  • A user is a loser in the long run. Friendships casually made are often conveniently dropped at the approach of difficulties, especially in the arts/entertainment business. Using others as a stepping stone is considered the norm. Be abnormal; rise above the expected. Forging lasting ties is an investment in your future well-being on every level. 

  • Life can be frightening and lonely, but without your creativity by your side it will be even more so. Never abandon it and it will serve you faithfully in return. People will fail you, but art will always remain a loyal friend and guide you through the darkest of nights. 

  • Civilization is defined by the works of its creators, but often within the context of its destruction by the less enlightened. A society can achieve impressive technological innovation, but without culture and its avatars, it is not a true civilization, only a caricature of one. 

  • Gain a wider perspective: understand the artist’s relationship to their society. Become aware of the larger trends and patterns that effect your life and career. The framework in which we operate as artists in the Western world is as follows: a minority, the ruling élite, exploits the apathy and ignorance of the majority to dominate them and, in the process of doing so, frequently thwarts the efforts of an even smaller minority, the creators who are dedicated to building culture. Bear this power dynamic in mind as you progress along your career path. 

  • To the ruling élite, creativity is threatening because it eludes their control, and doubly so because it is necessary to the health of the societies they wish to rule. Thus, the relationship between the ruling élite and artists is often strained because creativity cannot be quantified, commodified or caged by them. It runs parallel to their ambitions, if not contrary to its prerogatives. Occasionally this dynamic will result in patronage for the artist, but it is a highly fickle one as it is based upon the whims of fad and fashion, not the benefit of society. Therefore, do not rely entirely upon it for a living: it would be tantamount to building your home on top of a quicksand. 

  • Appreciate that most people have no concept of how truly powerful they are. They have been brainwashed into believing that they are powerless, that their security lies in passive conformity and obedience to authority. Thus, most people fritter away their lives waiting for permission to live. By putting off life as something to be experienced to the fullest tomorrow, they serve the forces of death today. The ruling élites harness this fear, frustration and despair to control the majority, to bend them to their will. Understand that the world would be transformed overnight if more people could perceive these truths and act constructively upon them. Ultimately, the only revolution that will ever truly change our world is the intimate one which aligns the rigors of the human intellect with the yearnings of its heart. Become a leader in this silent revolution. 

  • Are you a creator, a destroyer or one of their passive enablers? Your choice not only defines you as a person and an artist, but it effects the moral timbre of the times you live in, so choose well. 

  • The arts are an engine of change in our world. Beginning at the far periphery and moving in towards the center of the human condition, the creation of art, to a greater or lesser degree, contributes to that progress. The objective is not to reach the center, i.e. to completely master our situation (which is an unachievable goal), rather, it is the transformative act of learning about ourselves along the way as we work towards it. It is here that we forge our identity and develop the humanity that informs our art. 

  • Respect older colleagues. They and their achievements are not landfill in the upward grade of “progress”, rather they are an important link in a chain of continuity which made your career in the arts possible. They are the pioneers who cut the path that you now follow where none existed before. Appreciating the past allows us to understand how we arrived in our present and gives us the perspective to glimpse the future. 

  • In summary: We artists are the medium through which the world experiences itself. Never forget that we are the ones who bring color, light, motion, words, sound, form and feeling to the increasingly degraded lives of many people - lives cowed, stunted and stripped barren by isolation, anxiety, fear and rage. We proffer a voice to the inarticulate, ascendancy to the forgotten, effulgence to the bereft and a sense of wonder to those beyond hope of a far horizon. We throw up edifices that embrace the skies, festoon public places and adorn inner sanctums. We fill the abscesses hollowed out by social alienation with a sense of emotional fulfillment and a connection to our shared humanity. What we craft is wrought with a passion, energy and commitment that gives something fresh back to each viewer, reader or listener. Artists give far more than they receive. We always have and always will. And without us, the lives of many in this modern world wouldn't be bearable.

 

 Copyright © 2016 Curt C. Chiarelli

  

   



 

deviantID

DaVinci41
Curt C. Chiarelli
Artist
United States
Curt Chiarelli has been providing design, sculpture and illustration services for the motion picture/television, toy/collectible, video game, museum exhibit and publishing industries for 25 years. A native born and bred Chicagoan, Curt began his career early at the age of 20 when he was contracted to create storyboards for the McDonald’s Corporation.

At the age of 23 and barely after receiving his B.A. in Communication Arts from Columbia College, he became this country's youngest production designer when he was hired by HBO to art direct a comedy feature," Men Will Be Boys".

From that point forward he began to receive a steady stream of commissions until his first major career breakthrough occurred in 1991 when he created the stop-motion animation model of the character, Goro for the Williams Electronics international blockbuster hit video arcade game, "Mortal Kombat".

In 1994 he left his staff position in the Exhibit Design Department at the John G. Shedd Aquarium to accept an invitation from Skellington Productions to join their team in the creation of the stop-motion animation models and effects for the feature length motion picture, "James and the Giant Peach". Noticing that his employment prospects were much enhanced and the weather far more accommodating, he decided to remain in the balmy climes of California for the next 13 years.

Since then, he has worked on such high-profile commissions as the creation of the "Halo" action figure line, collaborated with famed fantasy illustrator, Boris Vallejo on his "Mistresses of Fantasy" collectible sculpture line, the advertising campaign poster for "The Age of Empires III: The War Chiefs", theatrical masks for a collaborative effort between Cirque du Soleil Productions and illusionist, Criss Angel titled, "Believe" and seen his work featured multiple times in the yearly anthology, "Spectrum: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art".

His client list includes Microsoft Corporation/Bungie Studios, Miller Brewing Company, Capital One, Gemmy Corporation, Walt Disney Productions, Universal Studios, Steve Johnson's Edge FX, Michael Curry Design, Chiodo Bros. Productions, Sony Pictures Digital Entertainment, Cartoon Network, MTV, HBO, IMAX, Lucasfilm Licensing, Nickelodeon, Warner Bros. Toys, RC 2 Corporation/JoyRide Studios, Hasbro Toys, Mattel Toys, Kenner Toys, Moore Action Collectibles, McFarlane Toys, Playing Mantis Toys, Fisher-Price Toys, Dark Horse Comics, Diamond Comics Distribution, Conte Collectibles, Franklin Mint, Noble Collection, Ashton-Drake Galleries, Illusive Concepts, 3DO/Cyclone Studios, Electronic Arts, Accolade, the John G. Shedd Aquarium, the Field Museum of Natural History and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, amongst many others.

Curt's scope of activity has recently expanded to include writing. He has written two books within the past three years: a short story collection of Lovecraftian satire ("Shoggoths & Shibboleths and Other Eldritch Tomfooleries") and a memoir of his life in the commercial art business ("Fiddling Whilst Rome Burns"). A third volume of critical essays ("On the Tumbril") and an art instructional book are currently being compiled and edited.

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Sean-Dabbs-fx Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2013
Sheer joy looking through your portfolio here (though I am sure this is only a small fraction of it) there are so many artists that influence you in your life, directly and indirectly - and you sir have been a great influence on me - and for the most part I had never even realized, until now. Thank you :D
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:icondavinci41:
DaVinci41 Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2013
Hi Sean:

You're quite welcome! In a lot of cases my colleagues and I operate in complete anonymity, but when someone like you writes us messages like this they are greatly appreciated. Thank you!
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:iconsean-dabbs-fx:
Sean-Dabbs-fx Featured By Owner Jun 7, 2013
ha ha - yes I can imagine!

Do you get time to do any other sculpting/effects type work now-a-days? What are you working on at the moment?
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:icondavinci41:
DaVinci41 Featured By Owner Jun 8, 2013
It's mostly maquettes and collectibles nowadays when I sculpt. Animation Insider.com has just posted an interview with me. I've written three books in the past three years, one of which was just published as an e-book by Smashwords Editions and another one - an art instruction book for fantasy artists - in the works. And I've production designed an entertainment venue that I'm trying to get underwritten.
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:icondavinci41:
DaVinci41 Featured By Owner Apr 9, 2013
<script language=javascript type="text/javascript" src="[link]"> </script> <center>Powered by WebRing.</center> <noscript><center><table bgcolor=gray cellspacing=0 border=2><tr> <td><table cellpadding=2 cellspacing=0 border=0><tr><td align=center> <font face=arial size=-1>This site is a member of WebRing.
To browse visit Here.</font></td></tr></table></td></tr></table> </center></noscript>
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:iconsoulbrotha:
Soulbrotha Featured By Owner Mar 13, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Wow, your sculptures are absolutely amazing.
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:icondavinci41:
DaVinci41 Featured By Owner Mar 14, 2013
Thank you very much! Take care.
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:iconyellowbronco:
yellowbronco Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2012  Professional Interface Designer
great stuff, i love it
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