On Saturday October 11th there was a unique event here in the Netherlands. It was called the Master Lecture, a day of lectures, demos and Q&A by artists Wouter Tulp, John Nevarez and Stephen Silver. Knowing their inspirational work, interviews and videos I had high hopes for this day and it didn`t disappoint!

It was really well organized by Wouter and an enthusiastic team in a nice little movie theatre in Rotterdam. Every lecture was followed by a Q&A and then a break. During the latter, we had plenty of time to connect with each other. There were a lot of fellow artists there and the atmosphere was open so lots of conversations were had, people were drawing together and showing each other their work. Since I don`t have many connections to fellow artists in my own country, I loved it. It`s weird how I didn`t even really realize that I was missing this. Of course I have my circle of trust from the Oatley Academy and met people on the web in general over the years, but I don`t have much of those people living nearby. So a day like this with like minded people to talk to was lovely and inspiring. I expect the atmosphere to be something similar at CTNx, where I`ll be going in a few weeks.

The lectures themselves obviously were really inspiring as well. It was great to have things I already  learned reaffirmed, to learn about new ideas and to be remembered of good practices and things to look out for in my art. All three presenters shared stories about their journey of how they came to the point they`re at now, their work ethics and their best practices.

Some important take aways were to know your basics, practise good design, to keep it simple and to do your research. There was also a lot to be said about your attitude as an artist.
Wouter Tulp urged us to not compare ourselfs to others since everyone is on his/ her own creative journey and we have different viewpoints and make different connections. He gave us all a picture of an blot of ink to illustrate this. Everyone will see something different in that inkblot, so why try to be like someone else when only you have your unique combination of style, viewpoint, inspiration and influences?

John Nevarez told us about how he ended up working for Pixar. How he asked himself the question of “how bad do you want it?” to keep going even when he faced obstacles or self doubt. And he told us to go look for our “own Pixar” since you don’t always end up working for your dream studio. And even if you do, is there nothing beyond that?

Stephen Silver added to this to look to the future and to have goals. Be very specific as to what you want and how you’d like to see your life. To be creative and not competitive. Value your work and be professional.
He also told us about his journey and how he created opportunities for himself.

I thought the balance between the reality of being an artists (which can sometimes be hard and frustrating and requires a big amount of work) and the motivation, inspiration and helpful tips which make your goals seem attainable was really well handled by all of them. I never got a feeling of overwhelm or discouragement while still being aware of the hard work and sacrifices these three artists have put in, to get to where they are now.

After the lectures Wouter, John and Stephen signed their books and prints and were very approachable and open to meeting everyone. I look forward to meeting them again at CTNx and the whole day absolutely made me even more excited for my trip.
If the Master Lecture comes to the Netherlands again I`d go again for sure! And I`d really try and overcome my shyness and make some more connections. Seems like CTNx will provide me with plenty of opportunities for that.

Do you have a place to learn from those further along the journey and to meet with new artists nearby? If not, how do you connect with other artists?

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