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Open Access Publications from the University of California

There Are No Mistakes in Art

  • Author(s): Miller-Long, Alexandra Jean
  • Advisor(s): Burrett, Alan
  • et al.

In my first ever art class, my teacher told me that ‘there are no mistakes in art’. At five years old, that statement struck me. No matter what I did, as an artist, I could always rectify my mistakes by making a new choice. In theatre, we can make many mistakes. I know that I have. But over my time here I have learned that those mistakes aren’t always lasting, and aren’t always a bad thing. Sometimes they can be ‘happy accidents’, sometimes discoveries, jumping off points, moments for introspection, or, in the very least, you can try again next time. In different moments in our lives, we can be

distracted, deviate, and disabuse. There are so many issues we encounter, and much of our jobs and our lives are spent fixing these problems.

Graduate school, in particular, was all about how many mistakes I could make in two and a half short years. Here I have had the time and space to strive, and fail, and learn. But in the end it was never really ‘failing’ – art is too subjective to ‘fail’. There is always a choice, a reason, or a ‘why’. Or a way to fix it. After it all, I can firmly say I have come out the other side better and stronger than before. I have been broken down and rebuilt many times over. And I hope it only continues from here.

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