* an ongoing series of quotations – mostly from artists, to artists – that offers wisdom, inspiration, and advice for the sometimes lonely road we are on.
Francis Bacon interview with David Sylvester
DS: What do you think are the essential things that go to make an artist, especially now?
FB: Well, I think there are lots of things. I think that one of the things is that, if you are going to decide to be a painter, you have got to decide that you are not going to be afraid to make a fool of yourself. I think another thing is to be able to find subjects which really absorb you to try and do. I feel without a subject you automatically go back into decoration because you haven’t got the subject which is always eating into you to bring it back – and the greatest art always returns you to the vulnerability of the human situation.
The Art Life: On Creativity and Career by Stuart Horodner
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It is very difficult to describe the creative experience in such a way that it would cover all cases. One of the essentials is the variety with which one approaches any kind of artistic creation. It doesn’t start in any one particular way and it is not always easy to say what gets you going.
I’ve sometimes made the analogy with eating. Why do you eat? You’re hungry. You are sort of in the mood to eat, and if you are in the mood to eat, the food tastes better; you’re more interested in what you’re eating. The whole experience is more “creative.” It’s the hunger that stimulates you to eat. It’s the same thing in art; except that, in art, the hunger is the need for self-expression.
How does it come about that you feel hungry? You don’t know, you just feel hungry. The juices are working, and suddenly you are aware of the fact that you want a piece of bread and butter. It’s about the same in art. If you pass your life in creating works of art in one field or another, you recognize the “hunger” signs and you are quick to take advantage of them, if they’re accompanied by ideas. Sometimes, you have the hunger and you don’t have any ideas; there’s no bread in the house. It’s as simple as that.
AAron Copland in The Creative Experience: Why and How Do We Create?, Stanley Rosner and Lawrence E. Abt, editors
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