On Thursday, May 17, author Neil Gaiman delivered the 134th commencement address at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. He spoke of his career as a freelancer and making it up as he went along—which is the nature of being an artist, for better and worse. His advice was salient to the lives of the aspiring, but anyone interested in creative problem-solving also should take Gaiman’s words to heart.
“When you start out on a career in the arts you have no idea what you are doing,” he told the auditorium of over 500 graduates.
“This is great. People who know what they are doing know the rules, and know what is possible and impossible. You do not. And you should not. The rules on what is possible and impossible in the arts were made by people who had not tested the bounds of the possible by going beyond them. And you can.”
As for his most striking point: whatever you do, make good art.
Here’s one of the best keynotes I’ve ever heard, ranked just below JK Rowling’s 2008 commencement speech at Harvard.
And here is the wise and endearing Ms. Rowling.