If you don’t know Neil Cicierega by name, you’re probably familiar with his work. He’s the creative mind behind the Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny song and Potter Puppet Pals. And he has some advice for artists.
Neil Cicierega became a popular artist by following a very unconventional path. As he explains in the video above, he spent a lot of his time as a home school kid playing around with various creative applications from the ’90s (which are atrocious by today’s standards) and in online forums and IRC chat rooms. He made work that he and the people around him enjoyed, sharing them with the like-minded communities he found.
It’s an interesting tale that highlights how success can come from the most obscure places, but he ends on a key point: “Keep all your old files.” It’s half a joke, as the entire presentation is a trip down Cicierega’s weird memory lane. However, those old files serve important functions. They can keep your creativity alive by reminding you of how your brain used to work. More importantly, they show progress. As artists, it’s hard to remember a time when you weren’t as skilled as you are now, but looking back at the early work you never published can reveal just how far you’ve come.
Neil Cicierega, Internet Person [XOXO Festival]