Jolie Day’s Artist Manifesto as Artist Book
Frankie Mastrangelo’s Frank Words
me to me: reflections on being creative, or, a manifesto for growth within academia
1. don’t be a jerk. when you don’t belong to a particular identity group, you are not the expert on that experience, no matter how many degrees you have. pass the mic to those that are able to speak to the lived experiences that you have not had. the act of de-centering whiteness from the curriculum, from creative communities, from academic spaces, requires an appropriate level of silence on your part. so much listening. and more listening. this is a process of uplifting vulnerability as an art. when you don’t know about a set of experiences, there is a student or a colleague that does. help create and hold the space for the voices to emerge, but don’t turn a spotlight on anyone unless they choose to speak. no one is obligated to educate.
2. academic does not equal inaccessible. theories, writing, and other creations don’t need to be forced into academic boxes. the boxes are shaped in the image of those that didn’t want you, POC, PWD, (or any other person that deviates from the white cis heterosexual able-bodied male person with a tweed jacket and elbow patches norm) in academia. make space for the shapes that are not the boxes. let the shapes teach you. abandon the anxiety of boxes. be part of efforts to create institutions in the image of non-boxed shapes. the priority should be to make the theories, writing, and creations accessible to the public. if we fit everything into the boxes that were not meant for us, we’ll spend more time thinking about the dimensions of boxes than making the work that actually speaks to communities beyond academia.
3. trust your intuition. this is about trusting your work. embrace the confidence you’ve built in your ideas. this trust is not about being afraid of critique or stunted by ego. it’s the grounding you need to stand on while recognizing that the process is unstable. growth requires constant reevaluation and revision. returning to your grounding is a way of going back to the drawing board once you realize there is something else to think through or something else to consider. all of the pieces here will move, and the movement is not failure, but a series of developments. appreciating the instability, incoherence, and incompleteness of the project grounds the project. your intuition knows this but you need to remember it.
4. fuck perfectionism. it is a white supremacist capitalist patriarchal construct and it will eat you whole. it will tell you that you can’t start or continue when all you need to do is start and continue sloppily. the sloppiness makes it interesting. the sloppiness is where ideas become dissertation chapters and creative projects. perfection is a lie that makes other people money.
5. the politics of productivity are a politics of limitations. cultural standards of productivity are gatekeepers, time keepers, cops. they police the spirit and mind. they say who and what is valuable, when everyone and their work has merit and beauty. not all of the minutes in the day are for work, but academic spaces will lead you to believe this is how life should be structured. without reprieve, without breaks, without relaxation we lose clarity, perspective, and heart. stop working. schedule breaks if you need to hold yourself to it. reflect on what you created today. make a list of your strengths once a week. you are enough.