Q: Do you have any essential words that you live by?
A: I certainly do! When I left the active duty Navy in 1989, my co-workers threw a farewell party. One of the parting gifts I received was a small plaque from Tina Greene, a young enlisted woman whom I had supervised. The words on the plaque deeply resonated with me, since I was about to make a significant, risky, and scary career change. It was the perfect gift for someone facing the uncertainty of an art career.
Many years later Tina’s plaque is still a proud possession of mine. It is hanging on the wall behind my easel, to be read every day as I work. It says:
“Excellence can be attained if you…
Care more than others think is wise…
Risk more than others think is safe…
Dream more than others think is practical…
Expect more than others think is possible.”
Comments are welcome!
Pearls from artists* # 529
Posted by barbararachkoscoloreddust
* an ongoing series of quotations – mostly from artists to artists – that offers wisdom, inspiration, and advice for the sometimes lonely road we are on.
All sorts of novelists, composers, choreographers, poets, and painters find themselves engaged in the challenges of authority and freedom that are the lifeblood of the arts. Art is a way of life – and not only or even essentially for geniuses. An artistic community – to whatever degree it may be joined by social, economic, or other concerns – is fundamentally united by the imperatives of a vocation as they are shaped in a particular time. Genius doesn’t emerge ex nihilo. And it doesn’t have a unique relationship with authority and freedom. Whatever truth there is to Walter Benjamin’s comment, apropos of Proust’s novel, that certain masterpieces begin or end a genre, it’s usually true that every masterpiece reaffirms the fundamental character of a form. For every epochal achievement that we may see as an assertion of unexpected degrees of freedom (Beethoven’s final quartets or Shakespeare’s last plays), there are others that reaffirm the pressure of tradition (an example is Raphael’s neoclassical designs for tapestries representing scenes from the lives of Saint Peter and Saint Paul). For every creative spirit, the great as well as the merely good, there is a sense in which the wager is the same.
Jed Perl in Authority and Freedom: A Defense of the Arts
Comments are welcome!
Posted in 2022, An Artist's Life, Art in general, Art Works in Progress, Inspiration, Pearls from Artists, Quotes
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