Right now, I am attending college to graduate.
As opposed to the past three years when I was pretty much just showing up until mid-terms so I could stay on my parents health insurance. My goal is a BA in Graphic Communications. This includes website design, pre-press graphics and press operation. The art department told me no such degree program existed. I'm on course to graduate in 2009, or 2010 if I keep working full(-ish) time.
I also just turned 22, which is like... really old. Ya know?
But I looked into it, and it turns out that most of the people with lives I would try to emulate... musicians, artists or some combination therein, didn't really release anything groundbreaking until they were about 25.
Sean Daley (of Atmosphere) - Born 1972, began rapping with Atmosphere and what would become the Rhymesayers core in 1994-95 (age 22) and didn't release anything people outside of the midwest really cared about until 1997 at age 25 with Overcast!.
Patrick Stevens (of Hypnoskull) - Born 1973 and started making noise pretty much ASAP, experimenting with a few different designs until forming Hypnoskull in 1993 (age 20) and put out his first major release, Rhythmusmaschine Eins-Zwei in 1998 at age 25. He also took ( this pictureCollapse ) in which he totally ripped off my image and aesthetic... before I even made it to high school and decided urban guerilla terror was cool.
(also, does anyone have any of his tapes? like... any of them? new, old, whatever?)
Shepard Fairey (of OBEY) - Born 1970 and started with stencil work and home made stickers for his skateboards as a teenager, which is weird... because the only thing I ever got out of skateboarding (besides a broken wrist) was the joy of ( making stencils to customize your deck.Collapse ) Then Shep moved to Providence, went to RISD, started OBEY in 1989 (age 19) and used the arts "micro-metro" of Providence, Rhode Island (still used as a test market to establish awareness of new products) to register himself as a genuine street artist. OBEY didn't really take off as a major street movement until the mid-1990s, when Fairey was around 25 or so. His trick was to keep his artist name/profile extremely simple:
Name: OBEY GIANT
Style: Black + White Propaganda, 1-Layer Stencils, Bold Images easily photocopied.
This meant that anyone with a single piece of source art could propagate his work for him. I thought of that too.
I also remember being asked me what I was stencilling, and where I was from. When I said one-color, Big Brother, "we're spying", government oppression, dystopian sci-fi, communications theory gone wrong, distressed industrial aesthetic, propaganda style stuff and that I was from Providence, they only response I got was... "Oh, like Shepard Fairey" and I had no idea who he was until about 2005 or 06. I still have a vendetta against him today. One of those love-him-so-much-I-hate-him things. But that's what you get for becoming famous for the same thing I want to do in the same town I'm doing work in.
Those are examples. And I'm also impressed by what Ben (DJ Hellraver/Terrofakt), Davyd (Hive) and S.Alt (ant-zen) have accomplished. Strong visuals, strong motive, strong message, strong music. Amazing stuff.
Of course, my goal isn't to become rich, or famous or infamous. Just established to the point where I can make a meagre subsistence primarily from working on art, music and culture for myself and whoever appreciates it. The thought of an office job scares the piss out of me, and after four years factory work is starting to get boring. (There is absolutely no place for white kids to earn a reasonable living apprenticing to become skilled labour in the country AT ALL, ANYWHERE. So, fuck that.) From examples, it seems like the best course of action is to start in your late teens, work at it until you think you're going to die for five or six years, and then if you hit 25 and haven't "made it" just sell out really, really hard.
Also, I've seen some documentation on two home-grown PHP/MySQL social networking web-sites, and both projects took about 3-5 years, with an average of 1.5 people working on them sporadically. So, as long as my website launches in the next 24-42 months, I'm right on schedule.