eric kim street photography - color - chroma-19 black man

How to Make More Art

eric kim street photography - color - chroma-19 black man

Personal thoughts on how to make more art in your life, and to have more self-confidence in yourself:

1. Who is stopping you?

“Who gonna stop me now?” – Jay-Z

Who is stopping you from achieving your dreams in life?

2. Improve upon the past

Find inspiration from the past; but seek to improve upon the past. Don’t just imitate the past.

3. “Why?”

Best question to always ask:


Don’t take things as ‘self-evident’ — always question the root.

4. Follow your own integrity

Set your own moral virtues for yourself; and follow them. Stick to your one single purpose, goal, and passion in life.

5. Don’t give away your soul

Stay true to your soul. Express your soul, never betray it.

6. Discover new

All the forms of expression have not been discovered— tons of room to learn!

Always seek to create your own meaning, your own goal, your own path.

Learn via beginner’s mind. Stay fresh.

7. Avoid the majority

Don’t let your creative vision be a ‘collaborative’ one. Let your creative vision be a singular one. Never compromise your vision.

8. How many years do you have left?

If you’re in your 20’s, you might have a good 60 years of working. Why waste any of your life, working a job you hate, something that isn’t your passion?

If you’re in your 30s, 40s, 50s — how many years do you have of life? What do you want to do with the years of your life, and how can you make it count?

Whatever work you do, figure out a way to find joy in it. Or else, you will subject yourself to decades of torture.

9. Set your own standards

Set your own standards in life; disregard your lineage, past, parents, heritage. Create your own tradition, your own new culture.

10. Stay naive

Never ‘outgrow’ your young naiveness, when you were a kid, high schooler, or college student.

Yes, you can change the world. And change the world first by changing yourself.

11. The client is never right

If the client were right- he would have asked for a faster horse (Henry Ford)

If the client were right— our smartphones would still have keyboards (probably something Steve Jobs would have said).

12. What do you need money for?

How much money do you really need to create?

Have money to pay rent, food, and coffee. You already have all the tools to be creative at your disposal.

13. Let them come to you

Keep hustling, and doing your creative work, and sharing it. Don’t seek business; let them come to you.

14. Never stop hustling

Work hard, be creative, and never stop learning— until you are 90, or until you die.

15. Never ask people about your work

Never ask people what they think about your work before asking yourself:

What do I think of my own work?

And why do you care what others think of your work?

16. Don’t do what you don’t want to do

Nobody can put a gun to your head and force you to do something against your will.

17. Men will hate you for your passion

If you are pushing your passion in life, with all your energy, zeal, and heart— there will always be other men to hate you for it.

18. Don’t disagree with others

If others call you selfish, arrogant, conceited, self-centered, or an egomaniac, just reply by saying:

‘You are right.’

19. Talk straight

Even when people are being sarcastic to you, or trying to tear you down.

Just talk straight. Or better yet, just ignore them.

20. Ignore critics

Critics are just sad children, who have no faith in their own art.

Just feel pity for them, ignore them, and move on. Just keep creating.

21. You will be judged

You have an option in life— to do nothing, and not be judged. Or to do cool shit, and be judged.

If you never create anything, you will never achieve personal greatness, or achieve your fullest potential.

22. Love your work

Love your work, devote yourself to it. Hustle upon hustle. Pour your heart and soul into work. And remember, the work is the reward, not the fruit of your labor.

23. Don’t doubt yourself

You know what is best for you; no need to ask for the opinion of others.

24. We can control the efforts in life; not the results

The best way to have a higher chance of being successful in life: apply more effort. It is not guaranteed you will succeed, but you will be more likely to succeed.

25. Disregard your legacy

When you die, you will have at most, 10 lines of your accomplishments in life.

Just do the best you can in your life, for yourself, and to empower the (few) people in your life. And if possible, the greatest number of people.

26. Don’t hate anybody

Have universal love for everyone. But still ignore others, what they say, or do.

Focus on your own work.

27. Master your own field

Devote yourself entirely to your field, stay hungry for knowledge, and self-erudition. Seek to obtain mastery in your field, and don’t settle.

28. You are defined by what you do NOT do

“Everything that I’m not made me everything I am.” – Kanye West

You are most defined by what you refuse to do in life— refusal to say a racial slur, refusal to betray your integrity, morals, ethics.

29. Be ambitious

Be ambitious to change the world.

People see ambition as evil — I see it as our creative life-force.

30. Art is perishing

Great art is perishing, because we love mass-consumer, IKEA art. We need new blood, new thought, new originality, vision and courage to stand up for our (crazy) artistic ideas.

Promote our own art, and promote the art of other promising beginners. To encourage others, develop them, and give them a chance.

31. Reach the peak, then go higher

Try to reach the ‘zenith’ (the highest point of a mountain), and then when you reach the top, build a ladder to go even higher.

Do something modern, violent, crazy, and knock out your own eyes (and the eyes of others). Don’t restrain your creative vision — push yourself, go to the limit, and never censor yourself.

Have the courage to create your inner-art, and bring it to fruition to the real world. Then share it.

Art without eyes to appreciate it doesn’t exist.

32. You set your own choices in life

We need to listen to the law, but you have the choice to work the hours you want, when not to work, and not to work beyond the hours given to you.

No law prevents you from setting your own hours in life.

If you are restrained in your 40-hour work-week, know that you have 100% freedom before work, after work, during your lunch break, and on weekends. Use that free time to the maximum, to cultivate your creative genius.

33. Create your own Renaissance

Create your own Renaissance; know that you don’t need that much money. You have amazing digital tools at your disposal. No limits on your creativity, your speed limit, or your risk-taking.

Don’t fawn on Renaissance of the past; today is your own creative renaissance.

34. Be an idealist

There needs to be more idealism in the world. Work hard to promoting your artistic ideals, even when others think you’re crazy.

35. Creative integration

Be one person. Integrate your entire life. Make sure all parts of your life is in harmony, like the ‘ecosystem’ of an iPhone/Mac/iPad. Be in accordance with yourself.

36. ‘What for?’

People will give you more money. But what for?

Do you want to keep stacking the paper for the sake of it? Or are you actually going to do something productive with that money? How will having more money help you create more? Or do you already have enough money to create?

And another thought— how do you know if you don’t already have too much money? Maybe having too much money is choking you from being creative?

37. Laugh/don’t cry

Laugh at the folly of humankind; don’t cry.

Laughter is a better medicine.

38. Life isn’t steady

Life isn’t a steady series of checks, or money being automatically deposited into your bank account.

Life comes in waves, lumps, in varying intensities.

Don’t let a bi-weekly salary control your life.

39. Listen; but you don’t need to agree

Listen to what others say, without objecting, criticizing, explaining, or answering.

And at the end, let others speak their mind. But realize, you have the power not to agree with them. And that is ok.

40. Don’t expect nothing from others

Expect everything from yourself. Become 100% independent.

41. No success or failure

Success or failure doesn’t exist. Only doing it, or not doing it.

42. Don’t collaborate

Often collaboration leads to artistic compromise.

If you want to do everything, on your own terms don’t collaborate.

Also the less you collaborate, the more creative output you can make.

43. Don’t join organizations

Why join an organization? Own your now opinion.

44. Seek inner-happiness

First, seek happiness for yourself. Then, seek to help others find inner-happiness.

45. Avoid sparkling diamonds and loud engines

Why do we fawn over sparkling diamonds, and loud car engines?

We are fawning over light reflected over a crystal object. A cubic-zirconia (fake diamond) has the same effect, yet is infinitely cheaper. And often more beautiful than a ‘real’ diamond.

Why do we fawn over loud engines? It is just the farting of an engine, really loud, and often emits lots of pollutants. Isn’t it better to desire a quiet, clean engine— like an electric engine? With more horsepower, more torque, more speed, without all that annoying sounds?

I used to love the roar of an old-school car engine. But now, I realize how dumb it is.

46. Avoid superfluous decoration

Strip superfluous decoration. No unnecessary decorations on our body (like having feathers in our hat), no unnecessary decorations in our homes (false Roman statues), no unnecessary decorations in our life (no need for expensive watches, expensive necklaces, expensive rings, expensive hand-bags, expensive toys, etc).

Strip things to the bare essential. Show your beauty through the work you do; not what you wear.

47. Never impress anyone

Never impress anyone but yourself. This is true self-ownership.

If you never wanted to impress nobody but yourself; what camera would you shoot with? What car would you really drive? What clothes would you really wear?

48. Fewer obstructions

To live a better daily existence, simple lifestyle — have fewer obstructions, fewer complications, and less complexity.

Have less friction in life, less drag in life, and more fluidity to your creative work.

49. Feed your mind

Feed your mind with wholesome ideas, great art. Consuming social media is like eating McDonalds. Eating great art is like fine wine and a perfectly-cooked medium-rare steak.

Or better yet, the difference between drinking gas station coffee and a lovely Espresso from Panama.

50. ‘Do you’

Do what is first best for you; altruistic selfishness. In order to help the greater good.

51. Don’t be a slave to your wealth

Most people are just custodians or janitors of their wealth— of their stuff, of their cars, homes, etc. Consider how much stress they have paying their mortgage, car loans (most of those expensive cars aren’t owned by them), and their lifestyle.

We waste our money on the weekends, drowning ourselves in mindless entertainment. To fight off the pain of our shitty jobs.

Never allow yourself to become enslaved to wealth.

52. FREEDOM above all else

To have freedom to create the art you want to. To have freedom over your schedule. To have freedom over your mind, your body, your soul.

To have the freedom from desiring superfluous things. To have the freedom to expect nothing from others; to only expect things from yourself.

Happiness isn’t a feeling. Rather, happiness is freedom.

53. Follow your passion

Have the freedom to pursue your passion.

The passion is your life-blood. No matter how much money or accolades you win in your lifetime, you can’t take that with you after you die.

The only right we have in life— the right to pursue our passion.

54. Work hard

Never let anybody say ‘you are working too hard’ deter you. As long as you are working hard on something you are passionate about.

54. Let your work speak for itself

Show others your work; show your pride in your own work.

The best marketing for yourself: just show your work. Build trust through the integrity, the inner-vision, and clarity of your art.

Wait for your audience to find you; don’t go out seeking an audience.

55. Be self-centered

It is okay to be self-centered as an artist. It is the only way you can create art.

If someone calls you self-centered, just say: “That’s true.”

To give more life, and more art to humanity — you need to be a more self-centered artist.

56. Most people don’t have good taste

This is why McDonalds is the most popular ‘restaurant’ in the world.

And why Coca-Cola is the most popular beverage in the world.

57. Do you own your own opinions?

Or do you follow the opinions of others?

58. What is your true shape?

If you’re a square, you won’t fit into circular holes. If you are a circle, you won’t fit into square holes.

Stay true to your own shape.

59. Do your clothes fit you, or do you fit your clothes?

Meaning, do your clothes get in your way? Do you have flexible clothes that mold to your bold? Or do you mold to the uncomfortable, restrictive clothing — in order to be ‘fashionable?’

Your clothes should be your armor. To protect you. And always prioritize your body before your clothing.

60. Disregard dignity

Dignity is a man-made, society-made construct. Because ‘dignity’ can only be conferred upon you by other men.

Rather, seek self-worth, and self-confidence. That can only be ascribed by yourself.

61. Omakase

In Japanese, when you eat sushi, you can order an “Omakase” — which means in Japanese: “I leave it up to you.”

Trust the expert; especially when you are not an expert. The expert often knows what is best for you.

62. Don’t enter competitions

Then you become the slave of the opinions of others

63. Economy

To strip yourself to the bare essentials. To have economy of movement. Economy of space. Economy of energy. To do what you are truly designed to do.

64. Avoid ‘practicality’

Never betray your own inner-conviction, your own gut. Disregard people who tell you to compromise to be ‘practical.’

To be a great human — to not be practical.

65. Just do it

Don’t ask others for their opinion. Just do it. Tell people afterwards what you have done, rather than asking them what they think before you work on something.

Have certainty in yourself.

66. You can’t fake passion

People are good bullshit detectors. Follow your true passion; because you cannot fake it.

67. What is your soul?

Your soul is reflected in every thought, action, and desire you have in life.

68. Wear your heart on a sleeve

Be transparent; leave yourself naked to others.

69. You deserve happiness

Yes, you do.

70. Contribute

The more you give, the more you shall receive.

71. No small talk

Avoid small-talk on things outside yourself; avoid politics, economics, etc. Talk about your soul, your passion, and what is truly meaningful to you. Avoid gossip of others.

72. Value your pearls

Your gifts in life are like your pearls. Would you throw your pearls to pigs, who will eat anything?

Value yourself, and your pearls.

73. Do you love yourself?

How can you love others, if you don’t first love yourself?

74. Be non-small

Don’t be a small person, don’t be petty. Be non-small; grand. Massive.

Never let yourself get annoyed or upset by little bickering, or stupid trivial stuff.

75. Think spaceships

Think of how we have been able to dominate the seas with ships, and how we can build space ships to explore the universe.

Think big.

76. How to become immortal

To become immortal; live more everyday, and become more of you everyday.

To die prematurely: to live everyday without passion, hope, or pursuing your dreams. Most people die daily.

77. Say “no”

Self-ownership begins by learning how to say “no” with firm conviction.

What do you value in life, and not value in life? What do you say yes or no to?

What do you wish, or not wish?

78. Bend reality to your will

Take a branch from a tree, bend it into whatever form, shape you want.

You can turn it into a bow, sea, cane, or whatever.

Take the material of your mind, and you can bend it however you want, and create whatever you want.

Make the best of what is given you.

79. Do you love doing?

To get more stuff done, love to do more stuff. To love to do active, engaged work. To love the work for the sake of the work. Not the rewards.

80. Never compare yourself to another

Never compare yourself to others, or think of yourself in relation to anyone.

Stand on your own two feet. Know that you are an independent pillar.

Refuse to measure yourself according to others; or else you become a slave to their ruler.

81. Do what you want

The hardest thing in the world: do what you want to do.

And to not do what you don’t want to do.

82. If you are truly selfish,

Then why do you care about the approval of others? Isn’t your own self-approval enough?

83. Judge yourself

Only let you judge you.

84. Friendship

Find other friends who have self-confidence in themselves.

85. March down your own road

Stay true to your vision, march forth — you will be hated for pursuing your passion.

Every new great ideas, thoughts, and inventions are met with opposition.

The first engine was considered foolish, flight was deemed impossible, and spaceships were considered impossible.

Fight, believe, and suffer for your beliefs. You might not be successful; but seek grandeur through your epic struggle in life.

Unleash your inner-fountain of genius.

Work for yourself, and first seek to please yourself— then you will ultimately help humankind.

86. Be an individual

Live true to yourself. Be an individual. You are indivisible.

87. Don’t be a mind-slave

We all think that physical slavery is repulsive— why allow our minds to become enslaved by others?

88. Highest virtue

The highest virtue of life: to achieve and give to others.

You cannot give to others, unless you create.

So focus on creating.

Virtue: to create.

Have valor, be strong, have courage.

89. Swim against the current

Swim up-stream, against the current, like salmon leaping into the air.

90. Privacy

How can you do you, and do what you truly want, without privacy?

Allow less spying on you from Google, social media, and just nosy people.

91. Nobody owns you

You cannot give someone a minute of your time, without your approval.

You cannot give someone your attention, without allowing them.

You have ultimate control.


  1. You are a human being, with the infinite capability to create.
  2. Follow your heart, soul, and express yourself.
  3. Disregard what others think. Be your own judge.
  4. Never measure yourself according to the rules of others. Measure yourself by your own inner-ruler.
  5. And above all, create. To be of value to society is to create. Create, hustle, and never stop.

Be strong,

Make More Art >

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