*an ongoing series of quotations – mostly from artists, to artists – that offers wisdom, inspiration, and advice for the sometimes lonely road we are on.
Science is concerned with the general, the abstract, and the knowable. In contrast, art deals with the particular, the unknowable, the singular. This applies not just to the content of artistic works but also to the way this content is received. Even in the case of a film or concert attended by large numbers of people, the artistic experience remains a fundamentally solitary one. Each one of us lives the work from the work alone. Whatever sense of togetherness accompanies the experience comes precisely from the fact that, faced with the singularity of the aesthetic moment, each percipient feels his aloneness before the radical mystery that enfolds us all. Wherever an act of creation is shared with others, then, there is individuation – not just for the author of the work but for the audience too. The singularity of art awakens us to our own singularity, and through it to the singularity in the Other. I have argued that artifice unifies by imposing a univocal image that replicates itself indefinitely in each spectator. True art tears the spectral out of the mass of sameness, calling forth from the numberless crowd a new people and a new communion.
Reclaiming Art in the Age of Artifice: A treatise, Critique, and Call to Action
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* an ongoing series of quotations – mostly from artists, to artists – that offers wisdom, inspiration, and advice for the sometimes lonely road we are on.
The writer doesn’t need economic freedom. All he needs is a pencil and some paper. I’ve never known anything good in writing to come from having accepted any free gift of money. The good writer never applies to a foundation. He’s too busy writing something. If he isn’t first rate he fools himself by saying he hasn’t got time or economic freedom. Good art can come out of thieves, bootleggers, or horse swipes. People really are afraid to find out just how much hardship and poverty they can stand. They are afraid to find out how tough they are. Nothing can destroy the good writer. The only thing that can alter the good writer is death. Good ones don’t have time to bother with success or getting rich…
Nothing can injure a man’s writing if he’s a first-rate writer. If a man is not a first-rate writer, there’s not anything that can help it much. The problem does not apply if he is not first-rate, because he has already sold his soul for a swimming pool.
William Faulkner in Writers at Work: The Paris Review Interviews First Series, edited and with an introduction by Malcolm Cowley
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A: Recently I answered a question about why I create, but now that I think about it, the same answer applies to what I want to do as an artist in the future:
~ to create bold and vibrant pastel paintings and photographs that have never existed before
~ to continue to push my primary medium – soft pastel on sandpaper – as far as I can and to use it in more innovative ways
~ to create opportunities for artistic dialogue with people who understand and value the work to which I am devoting my life
The last has always been the toughest. I sometimes think of myself as Sisyphus because expanding the audience for my art is an ongoing uphill battle. Many artist friends tell me they feel the same way about building their audience. It’s one of the most difficult tasks that we have to do as artists. I heard Annie Leibovitz interviewed on the radio once and remember her saying that after 40 years as a photographer, everything just gets richer. Notice that she didn’t say it gets any easier; she said, “it just gets richer.” I have been a painter for nearly 30 years and a photographer for 11. I agree completely. All artists have to go wherever our work goes. Creating art and watching the process evolve is an endlessly fascinating intellectual journey. I wouldn’t want to be spending my time on earth doing anything else!
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