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Words of Wisdom from Annie Hould Ward

on Tuesday, 06 July 2010. Posted in Show Resources

10 Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me 12 Years Ago

This was presented at a Costume Commission Session of an annual conference of the USITT, circa 1988.

"Let me begin by saying that I speak not from the point of view of a teacher. They have much better experience in how to motivate and inspire."

  1. That there will always be too much work or not enough work free lancing. Learn to find a strong center that calms in both areas - too much and too little.
  2. As you achieve it will always seem you are at the bottom - as you climb you enter a new group with each step that is already established and working within itself - so a major "break" may be followed with a year or more of no equal quality work.
  3. Determine what is the base of your own design aesthetic - people will always question it (especially under pressure). If you have an artistic foundation that you're starting from and believe in, it will change with life experiences but it will always be there when critics or fellow collaborators begin to question. It will also allow you to question yourself.
  4. At least interiorly call yourself an artist - rather than thinking of yourself as a conceiver of plans - be one whose conception and execution is governed by imagination.
  5. Find within the people who have entered your profession and those ahead of you, friends and mentors with whom you can share your problems and successes. They will be the sounding board for troubled times and they will help establish your life as well as your career criteria.
  6. Always present a project to yourself in such a fashion that it is you who is doing the choosing as to whether or not to be involved. You will be an active member of the team that creates the artistic statement that is being dealt with. If the circumstances intellectually or physically will not allow you to contribute - the project should belong to someone who can create in the circumstances - not you.
  7. You must care for yourself just like an athlete cares for himself. Your body and your brain are what will go on creating and imagining for you. You must take time to exercise and rest them physically and artistically and emotionally.
  8. There must be other things that you care about and react to. You must read and study the world about you. This is where your response as an artist and your responsibility begin - if one is to create one must open oneself to the world around us.
  9. What you ask of those around you who share your life will be equally as difficult as what you ask of yourself. The circumstances govern that there must be a lot of clean up work that comes after as you move from pillar to post.
  10. For a collaborative artist yo will spend huge amounts of your time alone. Either at the drawing table or in a hotel thousands of miles from home. Learn to enjoy being alone and utilize each place and time for what can be gained toward a broader, wider based person. Every place has something to teach you.