We asked some folks we admire to share one piece of conventional advice they disagree with.

Autumn Matney | Graphic Designer & Sign Painter

“If you want to be a (fill in the blank), you need to go to school for it!” Apparently I like to let experience be my teacher. I did not go to school for design or for lettering, but here I am. I actually went to school for oil painting, thinking that my life and career would have me sitting alone in a charming studio painting portraits all day. It wasn’t until my junior year in college that I realized that I wanted to be a designer/sign painter. I felt like an imposter for a long time, not having the credentials of a degree in graphic design to waive at my clients. I am now learning that hard work, experience and persistence can be a very good teacher. I have now been working as a freelance artist for nine years, and I can confidently call myself a graphic designer and a sign painter. They say it takes ten thousand hours to become an expert at something. If that’s the case, then I am an expert a couple of times over. Read more>>

M. Jenea Sanchez | Multidisciplinary Artist

One piece of advice that I received early in my education was putting a family on hold until I established my career as an artist. Life had different plans for me, and I gave birth to my first child in my last semester of grad school. Would I recommend planning a family during a time like this, well not exactly, but if it happens, get creative! I now have three kids, and they inspire me every day and are very much a part of my art practice. They are present in all of the community events we organize and even listen in on planning meetings. They have also taken part in many of my personal projects, including a collaboration with Gabriela Muñoz titled Caldo de Pollo. In this video piece, Gabriela and I document the process of making chicken soup, starting from catching the live chicken from the coup to serving a community meal. My son and Gabriela’s daughter were present during the process where the women of DouglaPrieta Trabajan, a women-led community organization in Agua Prieta, guided us through this traditional practice that has skipped several generations in modern times. Read more>>

Andy Ptacek | Brain Cancer Fighter, Author, and Life Coach

There’s a “life hack” for everything it seems. Everyone wants a shortcut! But if you really want meaningful change, you have do the work… all of it! Life HACKS will only get you so far. Life PRACTICE will get you what you work for. When we practice the parts of life we want to improve, we lean how to heal our past so that we can become the best versions of ourselves and live a truly full life… no matter how long or short it is!⠀ ⠀ Shortcuts, or “hacks,” cut out the most important parts of our lives… the parts in-between where we learn and grow and experience the true fulfillment of the ride that prepares us for bigger and better things. Read more>>