I finally got around to watching Neil Gaiman’s commencement address to the University of Arts. I’d seen quotes and renderings pulled from it circling the internet, but never sat down and watched the full piece. Gaiman is a man I wish I knew more about. The only comics I even remember even reading have all been Alan Moore and none too original—V for Vendetta, Watchmen, and The Killing Joke. I’ve wanted to read Gaiman and others, always hearing great things about the Sandman series. I’ve wanted to read Coraline and Stardust. I think the only work of Gaiman’s I’ve actually experienced was his one-off episode of Doctor Who last year—which I would consider one of the best Who episodes I’ve ever seen.
But this speech. I’ve never been very comfortable defining myself as an artist, and part of these last two years of studying theatrical design has been me reconciling (for lack of a more precise term) myself to that label, being somebody who creates. I could always see myself as one who builds or constructs, but to truly create is a step beyond that, a step I was never quite sure enough to take.
I love every point he makes. The four points that stuck close for me were:
If you don’t know it’s impossible, it’s easier to do.
Where would be the fun in making something you knew was going to work?
Make your own rules.
Make Good Art.
I want to make good art. How exactly that is going to happen may not be completely clear to me yet. I may be doing a lot of things in my life to complete that goal. I may not be the one at the microphone, the one in the spotlight, or the one holding the paint brush. But I will make good art.