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Janet Echelman

Sculptor, Studio Director, Studio Echelman

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Creative vision -- how do you develop and hold onto it, especially when obstacles appear in your path?

Artist Janet Echelman overcame rejection and doubts to develop her methods of building voluptuous sculptures the size of buildings out of simple materials like fishnet. In this live conversation, ask questions and share your own experiences with Janet about the path to creative endeavor.

This Live conversation will open on Feb. 13th, 2012, 2 pm EST.

If you couldn't make to this Live Conversation, the discussion with Janet Echelman continues on her TEDTalk page: http://www.ted.com/talks/janet_echelman.html

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  • Feb 13 2012: Hello Janet!
    I would like to know how do you manage passion and earn for living? Some artists doing their art really good and don't want to compromise to their client (or market), and perceive that when money comes into play, their art will not be 'pure' anymore. What's your thought about it?
    Thanks!
    Rocky
    • Feb 13 2012: What is the reason for art? Is it fundamentally self expression or is it communication?

      If the issue is self expression, there there should be no expectation that others should care about what you have to say. If they do, AWESOME, but if they don't, well...

      However, if the reason is communication, then the audience becomes part of the medium. Just as in a conversation, you need to adapt to your co-conversationalists. If you are boring or offending the people you are talking to, then you need to make adjustments. This doesn't mean you have to bore yourself or sell out yourself. People find creative, fulfilling ways to interact with other people all the time that fulfill their need for creativity and self-expression.
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        • Feb 13 2012: Sure, but we've all had the experience of talking to someone who just didn't listen.

          I guess what I'm trying to say is this: The neat thing about human experience is that most of it is shared by everyone - thus through being totally authentic to yourself, you can also be authentic to others. However, it is really easy to 'go to far' ... to think that I cannot consider what people want to see/hear or worse yet... what they expect to see/hear.
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          Feb 13 2012: Running out of time.
          If you can re-post your question underneath my TED talk, I can answer them with more time.
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        Feb 13 2012: Running out of time.
        If you can re-post your question underneath my TED talk, I can answer them with more time.
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      Feb 13 2012: Rocky, wow, this is a tough one. And EVERY painter/sculptor/actor/musician I know has this problem. For me, when I was just starting out after college, I decided that it was important for me to spend as much time trying to develop as an artist, and the thing I had more ability to control than earning a living was my own cost of living. So I moved to a village in Bali, Indonesia (Ubud), and I was living on about US$250/month. I would go back to the US where I'm from every year and sell my paintings, and with that I could return to Indonesia and spend another year pursuing my artwork full-time. It turned out that that was very important for me to develop. I really needed that time.
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      Feb 13 2012: Rocky, I don't think that's a solution for everybody. It's just what worked for me at the beginning. And I still encounter that question all the time, whether to direct my energies toward something that appears to be more profit-generating vs. what appears to be more my creative desire. What I've discovered (and again, I don't know if this would be true for others), was that when I followed my creative desire, it ended up having a better financial outcome anyway.
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      Feb 13 2012: For example, when I was painting during the first decade I was an artist, I worked with a gallery that told me that yellow paintings just wouldn't sell, and also that small and medium sized works were easier for her to sell. When I returned to my studio after that, all I could do was use yellow, and I am naturally drawn to canvases that are larger than the swing of my arm. There's an internal part of me that needs the artistic expression to be authentic, and it just won't take direction like "don't use yellow". But in the end, I made a big expressive yellow painting, and of course, it was one of the best. And when my next exhibition opened, the ones that sold were the big expressive ones. So in my creative process, I just try to ignore external input like that.
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      Feb 13 2012: But I do have to consider maintenance issues at every stage of my work. Those are external data points that are crucial for successsful outcomes.
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      Feb 13 2012: Running out of time.
      If you can re-post your question underneath my TED talk, I can answer them with more time.

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