Pearls from artists* # 135

 

Chalcatzingo (Mexico)

Chalcatzingo (Mexico)

* an ongoing series of quotations – mostly from artists, to artists – that offers wisdom, inspiration, and advice for the sometimes lonely road we are on.

[Meredith Monk on beginning a new piece and whether it gets easier over time].

I always say that the fear is overwhelming at the beginning.  It’s like jumping off a cliff.  You have absolutely no idea what is going on.  It is like being a detective.  You try to follow every clue that comes up.  Some of them are McGuffins, but I think that is what the process is.  It starts out with fear, and I think that’s a good thing.  If you know what you are doing already, what is the point in doing it?  It is always like hanging out and tolerating pain and the fear of the unknown.  Then usually what happens is that a little something will come up.  If I am sitting at the piano – and I remember sitting at the piano and almost shaking at the beginning of this piece – one little phrase will come up.  And then you get a little interested in that one little phrase.  Or I say to myself, “Step by step.”  Another thing I say to myself, “Remember playfulness, Meredith?”

What happens at a certain point is that the thing itself starts coming in and you realize that you are more interested than you are afraid.  You are in this thing, whatever it is, and fear is useless at a certain point.  But at the beginning, it is not bad.  It is saying that you are risking.  I think that taking the chance on risking is something that keeps you young.  I’ll tell you, what you are saying about my skills – I don’t find it easier.  It is just as hard as it ever was.  I don’t think, “Now I have these skills.”  I don’t think in those terms at all.

… When you are making something new, you aren’t going to be able to use the same technique that you used on something else.  Maybe other people think it is easier as they go along.  I think part of the challenge is not to rely on things that you know, and to keep on listening.  It is really a process of listening to what something needs.  What’s right for it.   

Conversations with Meredith Monk by Bonnie Marranca

Comments are welcome!  

 

About barbararachkoscoloreddust

New York Artist Barbara Rachko www.barbararachko.com shares her perspective on pastel painting, photography, and the creative inspiration she finds in ancient Mesoamerican civilizations, mythology, and travel to remote places, like her new favorite destinations, Bali and Sri Lanka.

Posted on March 18, 2015, in An Artist's Life, Art in general, Creative Process, Inspiration, Mexico, Pearls from Artists, Photography, Quotes, Working methods and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. I’ve been at artmaking now for over 50 years. I continue on because I’ve had a kind of effortless way of going about it. It’s been as easy as participating in a pleasant but steadily more challenging conversation. However – on second thought – it really is a monologue, usually done without words. I respond to each addition on canvas or paper to what I’ve done just before and rarely do to myself while making decisions. It’s absolutely wonderful when and if I like what I’ve just added or taken away. That’s why I’ve found it natural to continue on with my artmaking, even if sales have so far been spotty. After all, I haven’t been too mindful of what people usually like in an artwork..all these years.

  2. Thanks for that wonderful piece with Meredith Monk. It was illuminating and inspiring to me

    Create Your Best Day! Alli

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    • Thanks, Alli. Meredith Monk continues to be a huge inspiration as an artist with tremendous courage, someone who has been working over fifty years, who continues to grow and who still surprises as she’s making and presenting her work. I once sat directly behind her watching Marina Abromovic perform at the Park Avenua Armory and could barely keep my eyes on the stage!

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