For a young artist, it is as important to study the lives of other artists as their work. One has no idea how to proceed and is looking about desperately for a clue. Of course, every artist is--as every life is--different. There is no one way.
The early, seemingly predetermined success of a Picasso, a Basquiat or a Brakhage can be quite unnerving to a young stumbler. Stories of late-bloomers are both welcome and necessary for those of us whose actual achievements have not yet aligned with our ambitions. As such, Hollis Frampton's memories of his own artistic development are comforting:
"I didn't find it a picnic to be a photographer, through the sixties, not because photography was disregarded, although of course that was true, but because my predicament was that of a committed illusionist in an environment that was officially dedicated to the eradication of illusion and, of course, utterly dominated by painting and sculpture. At that time I didn't understand how luxurious it was to find myself alienated in that way. Nothing is more wonderful than to have no one pay the slightest attention to what you are doing; if you're going to grow, you can grow at your own speed." --Hollis Frampton