Sometimes you have to quit to start

If you’ve seen Art School Confidential, my experience was similar.

Except for the ending. My ending was, I just left. Art school and New York, and ‘the dream.’ No.

I remember it. I remember the feeling of it. Not quitting, but: seeing through it. Understanding suddenly that having a degree that validated me wasn’t that important.

Seeing the deserts in Rajasthan and the Himalaya in Himachal Pradesh, in the months preceding New York, that was. I wanted more than anything to experience something richly, deeply. Meaningfully.

And I wanted to do it alone.

I saved for a year and went and did that second trip to India, another tour for another three months.


Circle back to Brooklyn

‘Clarity of Intent’ is what one professor said to me, Jenny Lynn McNutt. About what it means when art is ‘good’. Because that was the question that I had asked her. In the days before I would opt out of it all, I asked the question that I felt was the most important one. On quality, on ‘goodness.’ Was there a checklist? If yes, what was on it?

‘What makes art good?’ I asked my professor.

Maybe because she had given me a tip that I could try writing. Maybe because she seemed to know. Maybe I just needed to ask because I needed to ask. What makes art good.

‘It has… clarity of intent.


This was right.

Clarity of intent. This was the best answer I would ever get to that question.

And this was 20 years ago. Twenty years ago, I heard JLMN’s philosophy of what makes art good. I’ve been centering on that, all this time. Life is an art work, too. I like the idea of living with clarity of intent.