A: I tend to follow wherever the work leads, rather than directing it. I have never been able to predict where it will lead or what more might be added.
Travel is essential for inspiration. Besides many Mexican sojourns, I have been to Bali, Sri Lanka, South India, Guatemala, Honduras, Brazil, Peru, Argentina, Paraguay, and other places. A second trip to India is upcoming, to Gujarat and Rajistan this time.
Last year I had the opportunity to go to Bolivia. In La Paz I visited the Museum of Ethnography and Folklore, where a stunning mask exhibition was taking place. As soon as I saw it, I knew this would be the inspiration for my next series, “Bolivianos.” So far I have completed six “Bolivianos” pastel paintings with two more in progress now. This work is getting a lot of press and several critics have declared it to be my strongest series yet.
Comments are welcome!
*an ongoing series of quotations – mostly from artists, to artists – that offers wisdom, inspiration, and advice for the sometimes lonely road we are on.
Interviewer: Do you think criticism helps any?
Capote: Before publication, and if provided by persons whose judgment you trust, yes, of course criticism helps. But after something is published, all I want to hear is praise. Anything less is a bore, and I’ll give you fifty dollars if you produced a writer who can honestly say he was ever helped by the prissy carpings and condescensions of reviewers. I don’t mean to say that none of the professional critics are worth paying attention to – but few of the good ones review on a regular basis. Most of all, I believe in hardening yourself against opinion. I’ve had, and continue to receive, my full share of abuse, some of it extremely personal, but it doesn’t faze me any more. I can read the most outrageous libel about myself and never skip a pulsebeat. And in this connection there is one piece of advice I strongly urge: never demean yourself by talking back to a critic, never. Write those letters to the editor in your head, but don’t put them on paper.
Truman Capote in Writers at Work: The Paris Review Interviews First Series, edited, and with an introduction by Malcolm Crowley
Comments are welcome!