Jerry Saltz with David Haskell on “How To Be an Artist” [Video]

When quarantine began, the creative world was asked to reinvent itself at home. Who better to tackle how to be an artist today than Senior Art Critic for New York Magazine Jerry Saltz. Saltz joins his Editor-in-Chief David Haskell for an insightful conversation about his experiences during these abnormal circumstances, his advice for creatives from all walks of life, and how he thinks the art world will forever be changed.

"The content of right in you, and so therefore it will be in your work. Right now is a chance to ask yourself: Are there things I have been leaving out? Are there things I haven’t pushed harder on?"

Saltz guides the artists of today, most of whom are watching the swirling world around them from the isolation of their homes. To the uninspired he says art is 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration and encourages creators to get working. He highlights his personal quarantine "demons" and how he is taking this moment to travel both inside of himself and outside while writing his stories. When asked about how art will change after the pandemic and in response to the cry for racial justice, he responds that it is up to a new generation.

"The art world that we left in America seven days ago, in some ways, is already gone...all of the fault lines were exposed. I once built an art world in the 1990s with about a million other people maybe. It was beautiful. It was great. It was made up of pirates and losers and people like ne'er-do-wells...You are being tasked to build a new city. And you will."

Show up, bring your "dumb and embarrassing" work, and stay up late. Hear more wise words from Jerry Saltz during his full session "How To Be an Artist" with David Haskell.

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SXSW Sessions Online is a weekly series featuring 2020 speakers virtually sharing their stories along with a special Q&A portion. Catch previously-recorded programming on demand via our YouTube channel playlist.

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By Hailey Hess