We talked to Sam Borkson about why you should be an artist. But first, his creds—
Sam is one-half of FriendsWithYou, an LA-based art collective. Together with Arturo Sandoval III (the other half of FWY), Sam spreads “Magic, Luck and Friendship” through a variety of mediums—painting, sculpture, large-scale experiential installations and live performances, to name a few. The duo has exhibited at Art Basel, NYC’s High Line, Design Exchange and Albright-Knox, and is currently creating an animated children’s show for Netflix.
Sam chatted with us about what it’s like to be an artist. He shared his insights on the different routes to becoming an artist—it’s not always art school—and making an income, as well as his advice to aspiring artists.
Want to see FWY’s studio and learn more about their creative process? Watch this episode of MOCAtv’s Artists Talk, featuring FriendsWithYou.
What are the steps someone typically takes to become an Artist?
It depends, there are so many routes I guess what's most important is making things that come from you. Honestly, school and the typical steps aren't important always. I think to be an artist you must love to make art at all costs. Make it on your spare time and make it until it can be full time or just as much as you can do it. Each artists path is unique to themselves.
One way it's typically done is to go to art school learn how to do certain crafts and find your own voice. Make friends, go to art shows and talk with people. Be part of the dialogue with your art and yourself in the community. That's just one way, the art landscape is so vast you can not even give a fuck about the art world and make great art, but to be considered inside the consensus of the art world I think you need to involve art history or a connection to humans in some way. We did it totally backwards. I'm still finding out what I'm doing every day. So I'm not really sure I can direct anyone else. I think it's mostly about being unique and honest!
How does someone make an income as a visual artist?
Who cares you can work on Wall Street and then switch to art! Jeff Koons did that! I mean there are so many pathways. The traditional route of only working with galleries is a good option if they really care about your work, but there are so many outlets now. You could also work in an arts-related field like graphic designer, architect, it's your life and it's short so might as well do whatever you want and make all your dreams come true! It's up to you anyways. I mean Buddha and Jesus and Warhol are just people like us we can strive to be as powerful and magic as we want!
What are the best parts of being an artist?
Freedom to dream and think ideas into reality and let those ideas do even more.
What are the biggest challenges in being an artist?
Perseverance, acceptance of failures and moving on. Never compromising your vision is the fun part!
What advice would you give an aspiring artist?
Do it with all your heart and take your time because if you are an amazing artist you will do it your entire life. Also learn about art so you're not just covering the same ground as someone else. Art is a dialogue so it's important to know the language and then break every rule and do you!