I’ve been watching this video on repeat since I saw it posted last week. No, I did not graduate from college this May, but I needed to hear these words nonetheless. I haven’t been this inspired by a graduation speech in a long time. Not since the late Steve Jobs’ “Stay hungry. Stay foolish.” commencement address at Stanford University back in 2005. It seems like I’m not the only one either. The video of author/graphic novelist Neil Gaiman’s address has had over 120,000 views since uploaded to the internet by the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. I’m calling it. “Make good art.” is going to be the new “Stay hungry. Stay foolish.” It’s shorter and really at the end of the day, isn’t that the reason we’re doing all of this anyway? Okay, even if it’s not the t-shirt phrase/Facebook status of the year, I still think Gaiman’s onto something. Listen and learn, folks.
Gaiman doesn’t quote Gandhi, proclaim the world is our oyster or that we’re the greatest generation since blah blah blah. As only a great writer can, he simply tells a good story. He weaves together personal anecdotes, observations and wit into a tapestry with the ever-important perspective of someone who’s been down in the trenches and succeeded. It’s no wonder the video’s gone viral. An excerpt of his address was even turned in a comic by an inspired listener HERE. If you’re an artist at the beginning of your career or even somewhere in the middle, I can’t suggest a better way to spend 20 minutes. You will laugh/smile, nod in solidarity and maybe if you’re hitting a roadblock or two, see that the possible solution is as Gaiman echos throughout his speech, to always return to your art.
“And now go and make interesting mistakes. Make amazing mistakes. Make glorious and fantastic mistakes. Break rules. Leave the world more interesting for your being here. Make good art.” — Neil Gaiman