Otto Pierce is a sculptor, dancer, and the executive and creative director of The Sable Project artist residency (thesableproject.org). A graduate of Middlebury College with a B.A. in dance, he explores myth, environment, and what it means to sculpt material, bodies, and space.
Otto's Ten ART Commandments
1) Seek the "Cool." When I make work, if I see it and don't say "cool," I start over.
2) Respect the audience. I care about the people that have actually put in the effort to view/listen/experience my work. I make work that I hope they appreciate, love, get turned on by, cry over, etc.
3) Improvise. Improvisation is vital. Whether in visual or performance work, if decisions are not made on the fly, the work is dead.
4) Collaborate. Oh, you only work alone? HahahHAHAHAhaahAHAha! (Maniacal laughter) Every idea has an inspiration, a source. Respect that, maybe even try to understand what it is, and then run with it. Trust in the faeries and boogy-people in your walls whispering secrets in your ear, your fellow artists, and definitely the brilliant plebeians.
5) Get some critique. I hate feedback. I am hardwired to get pissed off/reject it/go into a silent brooding state when I receive it, but without fail it helps the work. Dammit.
6) Do it. Never danced before? Never sculpted? Never (fill-in-the-blank)? Think it is impossible/too hard/to big of an idea/etc? Then give it a go. Just may be what you end of doing with the rest of your life.
7) Bring in some humor. Make serious work, be a tortured artist, but still understand the power of a laugh or a grin. Ever wonder why all the old people in stories are always tricksters and jokesters? The wiser people seem to get, the more humorous they are. "We all smile in the same language"... barf. But you get the idea.
8) Get outside. In my case, that usually consists of living without walls for 3-6 months during the summer at The Sable Project. While amazing, that kind of extreme is not entirely necessary (or is it?...). Just get outside, breath some air, hug a tree, sit on some grass, jump in a body of water, look at the stars, soak up some sunshine (or whatever you can manage with where you are/who you are). It will help.
9) Recognize you live in a body. You are made up of flesh and bones and fascia and electricity. Be good to your body.
10) Embrace the cliché. Do exactly what is expected, just do it beautifully, elegantly, grotesquely, whatever. Gosh, I love being cliché.
10a)Even if your hair is no longer blond, you don't own a red Dolce and Gabbana suit, and you generally sit in a chair not stacked on top of another, if there is such a picture, you had better use it on your website.