3 Questions with David Shipley
Convocation speaker David Shipley on collaboration, editing, and great examples.
3 QUESTIONS is series of brief, three-question interviews with PNCA’s visiting artists and lecturers. Each year, PNCA attracts innovative, thoughtful, and creative makers and thinkers who share our belief in the transformative power of creativity. In three short answers to three short questions, these artists offer perspectives on career, motivation, and transformation. When available, we include links to audio recordings, transcripts, slideshows, or video.
PNCA invited David Shipley to deliver the 2012-2013 Convocation Lecture, one of the College’s four Cornerstone Lectures. You can also listen to a podcast and read the transcript of Shipley’s Convocation Lecture.
“Remember… that you are part
of a process and that
nothing exists in isolation.”
What advice would you offer current art students about to embark on a career in the arts?
Well, I’ve never been an art student, so I don’t want to presume knowledge in this realm. But I can offer a few general thoughts. Make mistakes. Remember, as you assert your individuality and find a voice, that you are part of a process and that nothing exists in isolation. Realize that you share the burden of communication with the person who is coming to your art. Be open to being edited. (Note: I AM an editor.)
How do you maintain your creative practice? What keeps you motivated and engaged?
I’m fortunate in that my job gives me the chance to learn something new every day — and that I work with people who feel the same way. There’s also the joy of discovery — coming across a writer or thinker for the first time, playing a role (a small role) in uniting a writer with an idea, and then helping to bring whatever has been created (in whatever form) to a wider audience.
Could you describe a moment or experience that profoundly changed the nature of your work?
There have been lots of moments. One big one came when I read Scott Berg’s biography of Maxwell Perkins, editor of Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Thomas Wolfe and others. That book illuminated a path.
David Shipley is Executive Editor of the Bloomberg View. Bloomberg View is an editorial page that publishes columns and commentary across all Bloomberg platforms. Prior to joining Bloomberg, Shipley was a longtime editor in various capacities at the The New York Times and an editor at The New Republic. From 1995-1997, he served in the Clinton Administration as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Presidential Speechwriter. Shipley is a co-author of SEND: Why People Email So Badly and How to Do It Better. He graduated from Williams College in 1985 and was the recipient of a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship. Shipley currently resides in New York City.