On Thursday December 6th at the Wix Lounge, NY Creative Interns hosted its Two Year Anniversary Bash. In a night filled with fun, food and networking, we were thrilled to hear photographer and creative producer, Parris Whittingham, share his incredible story. Typically when a friend or colleague receives a great opportunity we attribute it to luck. But Parris believes that luck is actually a skill that can be taught, and he shared with us the steps he took to reach serendipity– the moment when awesome things begin to fall into your lap.
Photo by Yael Malka
1. Make your art. This is what it’s all about. Don’t focus on finding success or catching a break- focus on your art, your skill, and your passion, and do all you can to create good work.
2. Collaborate. Collaboration with others provides new experiences and different perspectives, which gives you the chance to learn and grow as an artist. After taking a photograph at a wedding one weekend, Parris shared his work on the Behance network. Parris agreed to have Archan Nair, a graphic artist from across the globe in New Delhi India, add illustrations to some of his work.
3. Share Results. After motivation from Nair, Parris agreed to share their work across multiple platforms. In a moment of serendipity, Kanye West saw their image and eventually featured it on his official website. After this Parris was even named an honorable mention in the 2008 Adobe Design Achievement Awards.
4. Push through fear. With this initial success Parris actually felt a new sense of stress. After putting out one successful project, how was he ever going to be able to top it?! But he pushed through this fear knowing that without continuing work he could stifle his future success.
5. Get back to work. Several years ago Parris had a book signed for his friend by Annie Leibovitz. He asked her to include some helpful advice on achieving success. He was unable to remember exactly what she put down (the book now belongs to his friend) but he still remembers her message: You have to do the work. It may be hard, it may be tiresome, tedious and sometimes disheartening, but you must put the work into your art if you want to see success. After the initial success Parris saw for his art, he immediately continued to work just as hard to create good art; it’s the only way you’ll continue to see success.
6. Find mentors. Find professionals in your field to look up to and guide you. The quality work you create will demonstrate that you are committed to what you do. This commitment could eventually give you the opportunity to meet these mentors. Seth Godin was an inspiration to Parris. One day out of the blue, someone who worked for Seth Godin emailed Parris, inviting him to take photographs at an even that Godin was attending. Because of years of quality work, Parris was given the opportunity to meet and photograph a role model.
Getting lucky can often seem impossible, but working your hardest to create good work is not. And sometimes you may find that with lots of hard work comes some good luck too.
Has a stroke of good luck fallen into your lap after much hard work? Share this experience with us in the comments below.