More wisdom from Steven Archer, who just dropped a new album I will be reviewing soon 🙂
A while back a friend of mine said to me “you got all the lucky breaks.”
And I’ve been thinking about this a lot. Because my immediate thought was ,”no I haven’t.”
But I wanted to do my due diligence and really think it through.
So I went way back in time…
In high school my Junior and Senior years I was good enough at art to enter a program where they shipped me across town three days a week for three or four periods a day to take art at a vocational school. The year between my Junior and Senior year I took a “portfolio development,” class at Corcoran in DC. Where I would eventually return and get my Bachelors if Fine art (painting).
During that time I started showing and selling my work a Sci-Fy conventions, and later bars, clubs, bookstores, galleries and anywhere else that would let me toss my shit on their walls.
Eventually I got married, we started the bands, and I came under people’s radar that way.
We got our first record deal because we played out enough that the record label came to us.
Donna, my wife, and I both got our publishing deals because the publisher happened to once have been in a band that opened for us early on, and we knew them casually. And it all come together because of that.
Both D and myself have a STACK of rejection letters (back when you got physical letters for such things.)
I started working with Weird tales magazine, because I had made plans to do a 365 days of Blasphemous horror, as a way of hopefully driving traffic to my various pages. We were at a convention pimping our books and they were right across the aisle from us. So I literally just walked over there, told them my idea, showed them my work as a way of making sure they knew I had my chops, and we started the next week.
All of this happened because I stuck myself out there and I practiced making the things I need to make, and put them out into the world in any way I could. I wrote people I made them aware of what I do, and I followed through with all of it.
The only break I can really think of, is my amazing mother who never said ,”this art thing is a bad idea,” and put me through school. At no point had a hand reached down from heaven and said ,”because you are you, I’m going to elevate you to the exclusion of others.”
Every other “break,” has been the result of my ridiculous work ethic and not being scared to put myself out there and say “hey! Let’s do this thing!”
Eventually enough people thought I was good enough that now sometimes people come to me and say “hey! Let’s do this thing!” And we do the thing.
Of everyone I know in the industry…
I cannot think of one person who got “the big break.”
Occasionally you may end up under the right persons eye at the right time. But if you don’t have the chops that eye will pass right over you and move along never to return.
So even if you end up in that situation. You have to have done the work or it just won’t matter. Full stop.
There are no big breaks, there is just work. And if you are putting all your eggs in this basket your work ethic, is the Only thing you can count on.
And while I’m at it…
Being good doesn’t mean people will care about what you make.
You can do all this work, and nothing may come of it. So if you’re doing it because you want recognition then you are in for a long slow painful rude awakening.
The only reason to do this, is because it is what you do. It is more important than anything. Including your own comfort and happiness.
So, there you go.
No breaks, no comfort, no Easter bunny, and no uncle Mikey…