Neil Gaiman’s To Do (Or Not To Do) List

Neil Gaiman Commencement speech 2012

Neil Gaiman is a creative force as an author of novels, comic books, and film. His unique creative expression has won fans from around the world. I first came across Neil in his ground breaking work in the Sandman graphic novel series.

In 2012 Neil Gaiman gave a commencement address to Philadelphia’s University of the Arts graduating class. You may have run across the central theme of his speech somewhere else on the web. It is simply and beautifully, “Make Good Art.”  That’s it. Make good art. Just three words. Simple, right? Yes and no. What is “good?” Hell, what is “art?” There are many definitions that provide insight to the artist and to those who experience the art.

I believe that art is an evolving dance of expression of personal truths between others where everyone has a chance to take the lead. Pretentious? Probably. Corny? Absolutely!

But it doesn’t matter, because while art is potentially universal, it is more importantly personal because somewhere it impacts at least an audience of one, even if that “one” is the artist himself.

Neil underscores his idea that art is in the doing; in the making. The making is the message, if you will. In the quote below, Neil humorously focuses on personal tragedy as a catalyst to “good art.”

Husband runs off with a politician? Make good art. Leg crushed and then eaten by mutated boa constrictor? Make good art. IRS on your trail? Make good art. Cat exploded? Make good art.

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