By Noelle Sharp
MAKING ART WORK: Advice for artists, from artists is a series that taps into the knowledge and experience of seasoned creatives from our community and beyond for the benefit of our students. We ask three simple questions that get at the heart of what it takes to thrive. We had the pleasure of speaking with German choreographer, performer, filmmaker and School of Dance MFA Modern Dance Graduate, Tanja London.
What do you wish you had known when you were a young artist?
... that technique is not everything.
Techniques are only tools. Sure they are part of your skill set, maybe the daily practice that you fall back to. But if you are seeking to find expression for something specific or something specifically vague, you more or less always venture out to the unknown. While following your curiosity you are stumbling upon things you yet cannot do or understand and in the best case the presenting form that you develop will be informed by these newly carved out skills.
How do you find balance between creating your own art and using your creative talents for other projects (jobs, collaborations, etc.)?
I don’t - and I don’t know if balance is the right concept to think about this. The word balance implies equal opposing parts, but I rather think of how all these elements stand in communication to each other. But honestly, I am still struggling with that as the things that I am interested in so far were no money making ventures.
What’s the most useful advice you were given?
“Make something - then look for a market.”
For a while I was really busy looking at all sorts of offered possibilities ranging from artists in residencies to conferences and tried to bend my ideas into the shape of very specific application perimeters. Although this was a very good writing and ‘honing of my ideas’ exercise, as well as helping to build up my resume, but in the end it kept me from working on the things that really interested me.
Photos courtsey of Tanja London.