Pearls from artists* # 468
*an ongoing series of quotations – mostly from artists, to artists – that offers wisdom, inspiration, and advice for the sometimes lonely road we are on.
Why does art elicit such different reactions from us? How can a work that bowls one person over leave another cold? Doesn’t the variability of the aesthetic feeling support the view that art is culturally determined and relative? Maybe not, if we consider the possibility that the artistic experience depends not on some subjective mood but on an individually acquired (hence variable) power to be affected by art, a capacity developed through one’s culture in tandem with one’s unique character. For evidence of this we can point to works that seem to ignore cultural boundaries altogether, affecting people of different backgrounds in comparable ways even though a specific articulation of their personal responses continues to vary. Consider the plays of William Shakespeare or Greek theater, or the fairy tales that have sprung up in similar forms on every continent. We could not be further removed from the people who painted in the Chauvet Cave, nor could we be more oblivious as to the significance they ascribed to their pictures. Yet their work affects us across the millennia. Everyone responds to them differently, of course, and the spirit in which people are likely to receive them now probably differs significantly from how it was at the beginning. But these permutations revolve around a solid core, something present in the images themselves.
J.F. Martel in Reclaiming Art in the Age of Artifice: A Treatise, Critique, and Call to Action
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Pearls from artists* # 28
* an ongoing series of quotations – mostly from artists, to artists – that offers wisdom, inspiration, and advice for the sometimes lonely road we are on.
We have talked a good deal about our duty, and how we could attain the right goal, and we came to the conclusion that in the first place our aim must be to find a steady position and a profession to which we can entirely devote ourselves. It is wise to do so, for life is but short and time passes quickly; if one is master of one thing and understands one thing well, one has at the same time insight into and understanding of many things.
One must especially have the end in mind, and the victory one would gain after a whole life of work and effort is better than one that is gained earlier. Whoever lives sincerely and encounters much trouble and disappointment, but is not bowed down by them, is worth more than one who has always sailed before the wind and has only relative prosperity. One must never trust the occasion when one is without difficulties.
Irving Stone with Jean Stone, editors, Dear Theo: The Autobiography of Vincent Van Gogh
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