A good read. She is the real deal. Marjane Satrapi: On Artistic Freedom, Fame & Finishing No Matter What
What have you learned from your career as an artist?
With an artistic work, I think you know if you have to make it or not because either you can live without it, or you can’t. With all this Internet shit, people have the feeling that everybody’s an artist. It’s not true. And not everybody is a good doctor, nor everybody a good surgeon. But I think everybody has a talent. But this talent could be that you are a very good plumber, which is great, because society needs that, too. Of course all of us have something to express, but do we know the way of expressing it?
How can you tell if someone has real talent?
I think if somebody has to make an artistic work, he will finish it no matter what. It has nothing to do with the money, with the time. I was sure that I was not made for artistic work, and I tried to make another kind of work. I was supporting myself, you know, making all sorts of shit work that everybody else does. And I got completely depressed. I had to take pills, and I was really not well. So it wasn’t that I decided [to be an artist]; I just didn’t have any other way out. It was that or I would be in the mental hospital. It was as easy as that.
If you have to do something then you do it. People say, “I want to make this movie but I don’t have real connections.” You don’t need to have real connections. If you really have to do it, then you will finish it, I’m sure of that.
What’s the best way to finish a project?
It’s just work, work, work. You can be the most gifted person in the world, but if you don’t work, you don’t have any results. So if you want to do things, then you have to do them, just for the joy of doing it, not for becoming famous, not for this, not for that.
When I made Persepolis, we had all the awards you could expect that somebody would have with a first film. And then I said to myself, “Why do I want a movie? Do I want to be on the red carpet again or what is it?” But I experienced the red carpet, and it was extremely stressful. You know, you have bad stomach; you don’t feel well; the makeup guy has given you a look that doesn’t fit you at all; you’re not comfortable; you’re sweating.
So I know why I make things. It’s not the red carpet. Though, you know, when the movie gets applauded in Venice then I’m very happy. I’m stupid enough to like the competition and I’m stupid enough to enjoy winning. But it’s not enough. We need more. We need personal satisfaction.