January 22, 2013

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Why I’m Offering these New Classes

When I give my talks at colleges, the questions I get most are not about Rocko or Lazlo. They are more focused on thriving as an artist  and balancing that with business. How did I do it? How did I keep up the stamina and overcome obstacles? How did I run my business? Adapt to changes in the market? Find a niche? I take a deep breath and roll up my sleeves and say, ” First, I sure as hell did not feel I was doing that at the time. But I suppose my commitment to my art made all of those things necessary if I wanted to keep swimming.”

When I was giving the commencement speech to the graduating class at Pittsburgh Art Institute, the dean gave me a very gracious introduction, noting all of my accomplishments. When I took the podium, I mentioned that these introductions don’t ever include the pain and challenges that lead to those accomplishments. They should say: “In 1982, Joe found himself broke and living on a friends couch. Eating leftovers from another friends’ catering business.”

A life in art is not just about the person wanting to do fulfill a passion he or she has burning inside them. It’s about nurturing something that gives back. Human evolution was built with the help of art. I’m not talking about advances in our living and health standards, but in the development of our soul. ( overly cosmic warning, maybe,) Art lives on. And quite often rediscovered long after the artist is gone, who died thinking they were never appreciated as an artist ( case in point, Van Gogh).

I would like to share what I know about 35 years of not just surviving, but thriving as an artist. There isn’t a map to follow. Most of the time we don’t know where the path will lead us. But we need to stay on it, and stay fed while we travel. I always said that I wish someone would give a class on the business of art. Some colleges do these days. But after consuming book after book on businesses, secrets, negotiating, client relations etc. and actually putting them into practice in my years running a small business and later producing two multi-million dollar TV projects ( and bringing them in on schedule and on budget: A schedule and budget that I established), I am able to draw from some experience where it’s not always something that just looks good on paper.

That is what I want to help with. Yes, I know it can be pricey, but for the small class size so I can focus on the students and their goals, and the structure of the class, this is where it needs to be. It’s a small investment in your life that, I feel, will reap large benefits.

Check it out. I’m looking forward to it.




This entry was posted in Animation, Business as Unusual. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to January 22, 2013

  1. Matt Stevanus says:

    I’ll never forget that day. I remember the evening before and the chat we had. I was fascinated and amazed by what you had to say. You have helped me greatly over the years and I really appreciate it, so every chance I get, I try to give a little back. I wish I could afford to take these classes, especially now, with my comic book in progress. I’m going to just go for it, though, self publish it online and hope for the best. If I’m lucky and people promote the comic book enough, maybe, just maybe I’ll get noticed by Marvel, DC or one of the other big fishes in comics. I’ll never know until I really try and pour my heart and soul into it, which rest assured, I will and my crew will be right behind me every step of the way. Thanks so much Joe, for your helpful advice and encouraging words! Without you, I think I might not have come this far, even.

  2. Tanya says:

    Joe, I’m so excited to hear that you’ll be doing classes again! I’m seriously considering taking one of them. (Now I just have to decide which one because in a perfect world I would take both of them – haha!) I think the first one would benefit me more, but the second one sounds like fun.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *