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Advice to Students: Patti Smith Talks to Young Artists About Creativity
Arts and Pop Culture | August 26, 2013

Advice to Students: Patti Smith Talks to Young Artists About Creativity

"A writer, or any artist, can’t expect to be embraced by the people, [but] you just keep doing your work," Patti Smith tells a captive audience, "because you have to, because it’s your calling." Smith, who's always candid and ever-influential, shared her advice on life and career at the Louisiana Literature festival at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art. Though it's hard to believe now, given her level of success, Smith recalls once publishing poems and recording albums that got limited traction. What's important, she stresses, is to stay motivated. Whether you reach an audience of 50 or 50,000, Smith reminds us that "one does their work for the people, and the more people you can touch, the more wonderful it is."

You can't achieve the level of influence that Smith has without hitting a few bumps in the road first. She promises the crowd, however, that the struggles we go through are worth it in the end. “To be an artist—actually, to be a human being in these times—it’s all difficult," she says. "What matters is to know what you want and pursue it.” It won't be easy, because life is never easy, but it's all "part of the package." She ended off her speech by reminding the crowd that the people have the power. "Technology has really democratized self-expression," she says; we have the ability to speak our minds, have our message heard, and come together to enact change. Through it all, Smith always goes back to the advice of William S. Burroughs: "Build a good name. Keep your name clean. Don’t make compromises, don’t worry about making a bunch of money or being successful—be concerned with doing good work." And, perhaps most importantly, don't forget to have some fun along the way.

Patti Smith is a renowned artist, writer, and musician. Her keynotes draw from years of experience in the arts, and the gifted orator shares her unique insight on what it takes to be an artist—and how you can achieve your passions in life. No matter what you strive for in life, Smith encourages you to blaze a path for yourself. A natural storyteller, Smith's keynotes inspire and transform audiences of all ages. To book Patti Smith as a speaker, contact The Lavin Agency.
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