Watch Neil Gaiman's inspiring commencement speech about succeeding in the arts

For all the art students about to enter the working world without a roadmap, author Neil Gaiman offers his advice on making great art, honing your skills, and keeping in mind that friendliness and punctuality can be as important to your career as talent.


Gaiman's commencement address, which he recently delivered to the graduating class at Philadelphia's University of the Arts, is must-watch material for anyone who makes art. Gaiman is clear on the point that art is work, and there's more than a little luck involved in artistic careers. But he's refreshingly upbeat, noting that passion and doing things your own way can come with immense rewards, and that there are elements of your artistic life that you can control along the way. I love his bit about his life goals as a "mountain," and his mission to do only work that would bring him closer to the mountain. Of course, we should all be so lucky to work only when jobs are adventurous and stop when they become work, but there are some wonderful nuggets of artistic wisdom throughout Gaiman's speech.

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Just watching this, made me grin and laugh and nod my head in agreement.

Then it made me realize that the only reason I would go to a 4 year school is so I can have someone as wonderful as him speak to me after those 4 years of struggle and turmoil. To help me realize that despite feeling like a failure, feeling like everyone else was far more superior than I, that they were all making mistakes too.

Reality checks are wonderful. Especially when they are delivered eloquently.

(Dealing with financial and family issues makes me a community college girl lol)