Art Quote for the Day

22 September 1992
Scraping off. For about a year now, I have been unable to do anything in my painting but scrape off, pile on and then remove again. In this process I don’t actually reveal what was beneath. If I wanted to do that, I would have to think what to reveal (figurative pictures or signs or patterns): that is, pictures that might as well be produced direct. It would also be something of a symbolic trick:
bringing to light the lost, buried pictures, or something to that effect. The process of applying , destroying and layering serves only to achieve a more varied technical repetoire in picture-making.

8 December 1992
Artist: more of a title than a job description.It’s a word that still earns you considerable respect. People associate it with splendor and misery, with the attainment of freedom and with unexampled independence. Artists’ lives seem exceptional and exotic: they are ahead of their time; their works are among the loftiest works of the human race; their undaunted courage defies the incomprehension of the philistines and the persecution of the dictatorships. Artists are the truly creative ones, the geniuses; their fame and the fame of their works derives from their God-given talents and from their passionate devotion to their work, which they perform with intuition and intelligence on behalf of the community. They are always progressively minded and critical of society, always on the side of the oppressed; and rich or poor, they are always priviledged.

Understandably , everyone would rather be an artist than endure the shame of some ordinary occupation. But the artist’s image is going to be adjusted, sooner or later, when society realizes how easy it is to be an artist, and to set down (on or off the canvas) something that no one can understand and consequently no one can attack; how easy it is to inflate one’s own importance and put on an act that will fool everyone else and even oneself. By then, if not before, the title of artist will induce nausea.

The Daily Practice of Painting – Gerhard Richter


Art Quote of the Day

“Art schools and art departments try to help students develop a “style” ( or “voice” or “manner” or “set of concerns”). That seems natural enough , but it also puts constraints on what can be done.  Many artists that we call “great” did not have distinctive styles until they were well past the age when most students get their degrees.Rembrandt was still struggling with basic matters of technique.  Titian was a virtuoso, but his later styles had not begun to appear.  Other arts have similar examples.  Robert Frost’s first book of poetry appeared when he was thirty-nine, and

Wallace Stevens when he was forty-three.  Could anything useful have been said to them when they were eighteen or twenty?  In premodern China, the idea of developing a style of one’s own was scarcely promulgated at all, and some of the greatest Chinese painters spent their entire lives emulating one predecessor or another.

In part the difficulty that teachers have with students who have many styles is that it seems they can’t be taught.  If a student is approaching the  M.F.A. and is still showing abstract work alongside realist pieces, or doing aluminum sculpture along with prints and holograms, it begins to look as if they haven’t learned how to choose.  And that is because teachers naturally look for what is called in poetry a “voice”: a single identifiable set of concerns or styles, a character or a manner.  The ideal student is in between a monomaniac who keeps to one style, and a schizophrenic who can’t decide on  a personality.  A student’s work has to be fairly coherent- otherwise it won’t seem “right”

Why Art Cannot Be Taught by James Elkins

Art Quote of the Day

“What an artist chooses to represent or work from is one  of the factors that makes every individual’s art distinctive and original.  It can help if you have a good story to tell.  Or if you have genuinely original ideas. The themes , concepts and ideas an artist works with will often recur, even across long periods in time as in the remarkable career of Marcel Duchamp, a truly original creative mind, whose last work, Etants Jonnes, put together in secret over many years and revealed in 1969 referred back to pieces Duchamp had made before World War I.

The career of the painter Philip Guston (1913-1980) was marked by extraordinary shifts in style that covered many of the major movements of the twentieth century.  After beginning figuratively, Guston became a leading abstract painter only to abruptly give up abstraction, saying it was a lie and a sham. (“anything but this,” he said)

“{Guston} began to draw and paint a repentant catalogue of all the mundane objects that had been excluded  from his art of the past quarter century: old shoes, rusted nails, mended rags, brick walls, cigarette butts, empty windows,naked light bulbs, wooden floors,faces with day old stubble.”    Kirk Varnedoe & Adam Gapnik

The Artist’s Mentor – Inspiration from the World’s Most Creative Minds – Ian Jackman, editor

Art Quote of the Day

“For many, the notion of the artist’s creative process is shaped by the Hollywood image of the isolated, mad genius stabbing the air for ideas and then suddenly realizing them, fully formed, on a canvas, a piece of stone, or in brisk musical notation.  We all know that films can’t help but stereotype their subjects, and these often romanticized characterizations seem to substitute  affectations for what is really a complex and amazing process.  Let me suggest instead a more realistic version of the artist in the midst of a creative process.

The artist enters the studio, armed with an idea for a painting (or sculpture,song,etc.). Often, the idea appears to the inner eye somewhat formed, but until it is physically manifest, its outline is, at best, a bit cloudy.  Marks are made, colors are applied, and the object is set in motion.  The creative spark is now lit, but the fire needs tending.  It is INSTINCT and the willingness to trust it that now comes into play.  As counterintuitive as it seems, the intuition  involves countless subjective considerations and small judgments.  Judgments? Yes! Not rational judgments or evaluations, but intuitive decisions-each one propelling the work of art beyond its limits.  The artist must then trust (or distrust) those leaps , only to leap again and again, possibly in different and even contradictory directions.  Imagine Jackson Pollock moving and  dancing with the paint, using his eye and his intuition to direct his hand in order to bring a new world into clear view.  The creative spark allowed him to begin- to see something that he felt needed  to be rendered visible- but intuition and the audacity to trust it propelled the paintings  into greatness and, finally , into history.”

Gregory Amenoff, New York City 2006 – foreword to the book Art From Intuition – Overcoming Your Fears and Obstacles to Making Art by

Dean Nimmer

Art Quote of the Day

” There’s a pervasive myth, shared by artists and non-artists alike, that art is a product of genius, madness or serendipity.  Wrong. Art is not the chance offspring of some cosmic ( or genetic) roll of the dice.  Art is mostly a product of hard work. When you look back on the results of a lifetime of artmaking, even the role that talent played is insignificant.  Living life productively, however, is very significant.  If you learn to live your life productively, your artwork will take care of itself.  If you do not live your life productively, nothing will save your artwork – not even talent.  One of the less-advertised truths about art-making is that it’s more important to be productive than to be creative.  If you are productive, your creativity will take care of itself.  If you are not productive – well, if you’re not productive , then how exactly is it you intend to be creative?”

-Ted Orland, from the book THE VIEW FROM THE STUDIO DOOR –