MAKING ART WORK, No. 8: Amber Heaton

September 18 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 College of Fine Arts Alum and visual artist, Amber Heaton, for this episode of MAKING ART WORK.


1. What do you wish you had known when you were a less experienced artist?
I wish I had worked a lot harder and experimented more. I should have been working 10 times as hard and making much much more work, even if it's weird. Or maybe especially if it's weird. I should still do this. Probably I should always do this, make 10 times as much weird art. 

2. How do you find balance between creating your own art and using your creative talents for other projects (jobs, collaborations, etc.)?
It's important to be selfish about my time and make sure I'm in the studio as much as possible. That is when exciting things start happening and I keep learning.

I'm lucky to work for another more established artist as a studio manager. It has been very helpful to experience a model of how one runs the business of a successful studio, how one interacts with galleries and museums, how to manage a very busy production schedule, etc. It's helpful to have a job that teaches me things about my field, the Art World, that it would be harder to learn on my own. 

3. What’s the most useful advice you were given?
One time in drawing class a U of U professor, John Erickson, said, "the Art World is inside you." That has really stuck with me! Making art in the ultra competitive environment and critical environment of New York City gets fairly daunting at times. It feels like a real hustle, and its easy to feel pressured to make and be a certain way. I often think of that phrase: The Art World is inside you. It's like a mantra that helps keep me grounded and continually trustful of what I am making and what kind of artist I want to be.