Kara Walker’s advice to young artists

Kara Walker installing "The Nigger Huck Finn Pursues Happiness Beyond the Narrow Constraints of your Overdetermined Thesis on Freedom—Drawn and Quartered by Mister Kara Walkerberry, with Condolences to The Authors" (2010) at Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York, NY. Production still from the series ART21 "Exclusive." © ART21, Inc. 2014. Cinematographer: Ian Forster.

Kara Walker installing The Nigger Huck Finn Pursues Happiness Beyond the Narrow Constraints of your Overdetermined Thesis on Freedom—Drawn and Quartered by Mister Kara Walkerberry, with Condolences to The Authors (2010) at Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York, NY. Production still from the series ART21 Exclusive. © ART21, Inc. 2014. Cinematographer: Ian Forster.

“There’s no diploma in the world that declares you as an artist—it’s not like becoming a doctor. You can declare yourself an artist and then figure out how to be an artist.” —Kara Walker

In today’s ART21 Exclusive, Kara Walker reflects on her early success and offers advice to the next generation of artists. Walker received widespread attention after being included in a group exhibition at The Drawing Center in New York City in 1994, not long after graduating from the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, Rhode Island. Walker remained in Providence until she “felt ready” to make the move to New York. However, “When I came to the City,” she says, “I felt like my newly forming ego and sense of self was just torn to shreds.” Now a professor in Columbia University’s MFA program, Walker sees the many challenges that young artists face today and encourages them to take responsibility for changing negative conditions in the art world. Walker is shown in New York City installing cut paper silhouettes and framed paintings at Sikkema Jenkins & Co. in 2013 and visiting the gallery’s booth at the 2014 Frieze Art Fair, where she is accompanied by her mother.

ART21 Exclusive is supported, in part, by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council; 21c Museum Hotel, and by individual contributors.

CREDITS: Producer: Ian Forster. Consulting Producer: Wesley Miller & Nick Ravich. Interviewer: Ian Forster. Camera: Ian Forster, Nick Ravich, Rafael Salazar & Ava Wiland. Sound: Ava Wiland. Editor: Morgan Riles. Artwork Courtesy: Kara Walker & Sikkema Jenkins & Co. Additional Photography Courtesy: Andrea Guermani & Kara Walker. Special Thanks: Scott Briscoe, Cindy Daignault & Frieze Art Fair. Theme Music: Peter Foley.

Contributor
Ian Forster is ART21's associate producer. He joined the staff in October 2009, first working on ART21 William Kentridge: Anything Is Possible and subsequently ART21 Art in the Twenty-First Century Season 6. In addition to his work on ART21′s broadcast programming for PBS, Forster oversees the Web video series ART21 Exclusive and ART21 Artist to Artist and is deeply involved with ART21 New York Close Up.
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