TED Conversations

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: How did you overcome your confidence issues as an artist and promoting yourself out into the world? I apologize if this has already been asked! :)
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      Feb 13 2012: Hi Colleen, You're the first to ask that question today, and it is a really important one.
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      Feb 13 2012: I definitely have experienced what you call "confidence issues", especially when I was younger and just starting out.
      • Feb 13 2012: Indeed, it is hard to step out and declare with full confidence "THIS IS ME!"
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      Feb 13 2012: The first thing that was important for me to overcome was to believe that it was actually better for the greater good if I was able to make my artwork, mostly because it made me happier and more fulfilled, and that would enable me to bring a positive effect to the people around me. So, even if I didn't believe at first that the actual product I was creating had any benefit whatsoever, at least I could believe that doing something I enjoyed was beneficial to others.
      • Feb 13 2012: I decided to be a photo/video guy a few years ago when I got fed up with nowhere jobs and being surrounded by an area full of people who had very little eye for art. I have been fairly successful but I really hope to make bids to do more work on a scale close to yours. I just don't know if I am good enough. My biggest success is a win for a photo contest and recognition from Scientific American Magazine. Was an amazing thing to have even that little success. It drives me when I see other people like you have struggled and overcome obstacles.
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      Feb 13 2012: And once I could truly believe that my being an artist created benefit for the "greater good", then I could speak about it and share it and ask people to give me an opportunity to make it. It's funny how even a tiny bit of inner ambivalence can de-rail a creative path.
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      Feb 13 2012: So,at least for me, the place to start was really inside myself, recognizing that even if my art had no redeeming value to the world, it was still all right to be doing it, as it was a net positive for the world anyway.
      • Feb 13 2012: I appreciate you and your response so much! Blessings :)
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      Feb 13 2012: I think the breakthrough moment f or me happened when I was reading an article by a woman who was teaching writing (I can't remember the name, or the article, so if this sounds familiar to anyone, please let me know, as I'd like to acknowledge her). She was a writing teacher and a practicing Buddhist, and she asked her Zen teacher whether her writing was for the greater good or something like that. And he responded that if she ENJOYED writing ,that was enough reason to do it.
      • Feb 13 2012: Perhaps it was Natalie Goldberg

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