MAKING ART WORK, No.7: Whit Hertford

July 10 2017

 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 had the pleasure of speaking with Artistic Director, Whit Hertford, for this episode of MAKING ART WORK.

What do you wish you had known when you were a less experienced artist?
To run toward and do everything that scares me and seems like a horrible idea on paper. To embrace fear as the conduit to something electric rather than an intimidating stop light to impulse. And to absolutely not worry about the noise of judgement.

How do you find balance between creating your own art and using your creative talents for other projects (jobs, collaborations, etc.)?
What's most important is to find your voice and vision and merging that with others in a way that heightens and informs rather than distracts. Blandness comes from following rules, tradition and trying desperately to fit in to set boundaries rather than having certainty in what you want to say with your art. Even if it's radical and uncharted. If you know you and you have a desire to create a movement and environment that people want to see and be apart of... then you will always have a skill set and uniqueness that others can only find in you. And that's the most employable quality, being distinct and one of a kind.

What’s the most useful advice you were given?
A couple: As an actor I was told: "You are interesting enough." Trust that allowing an audience to view all the wrinkles and flaws will be an act of vulnerability that allows for stories to carry relatability. Sometimes the volume will need to be much louder than is your de facto mode, sometimes it will need to be the other direction and deathly silent. Being keenly aware of what the simplicities of the story are - and knowing the level of music / listening to your inner rhythm - will guide you to a destination of truth. Performances and productions that dress things up and are about spectacle, or focus on presentation and gimmick, will always be hollow. As a playwright I was told:"Don't be so old-fashioned and clean in the structure. Let the unraveling destroy every single expectation." As a director I was told: "Learn, look, listen, think, listen again and then... And only then speak". This is good for both art and all factions of human life :)