*an ongoing series of quotations – mostly from artists, to artists – that offers wisdom, inspiration, and advice for the sometimes lonely road we are on.
Most artists are not as estranged from their fellow human beings, as bereft of reasons for existing, or as alienated from the common values and enthusiasms of the world as are the outsider characters created by existential writers like Kafka, Camus, and Sartre. But insofar as artists do regularly feel different from other people, a differentness experienced both as a sense of oddness and a sense of specialness, they identify with the outsider’s concerns and come to the interpersonal moment in guarded or distant fashion.
In part, artists are outsiders because of the personal mythology they possess. This mythology is a blend of beliefs about the importance of the individual, the responsibility of the artist as a maker of culture and a witness to the truth, and the ordained separateness of the artist. Artists often stand apart on principle, like Napoleonic figures perched on a hill overlooking the battle.
The artist may also find himself [sic] speechless in public. Around him people chat, but he has little to offer. Too much of what he knows and feels has gone directly into his art and too much has been revealed to him in solitude – infinitely more than he can share in casual conversation.
Eric Maisel, A Life in the Arts: Practical Guidance and Inspiration for Creative and Performing Artists
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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.
Balancing intuition against sensory information, and sensitivity to one’s self against pragmatic knowledge of the world, is not a stance unique to artists. The specialness of artists is the degree to which these precarious balances are crucial backups for their real endeavor. Their essential effort is to catapult themselves wholly, without holding back one bit, into a course of action without having any idea where they will end up. They are like riders who gallop into the night, eagerly leaning on their horse’s neck, peering into a blinding rain. And they have to do it over and over again. When they find that they have ridden and ridden – maybe for years, full tilt – in what is for them a mistaken direction, they must unearth within themselves some readiness to turn direction and to gallop off again. They may spend a little time scraping off the mud, resting the horse, having a hot bath, laughing and sitting in candlelight with friends. But in the back of their minds they never forget that the dark, driving run is theirs to make again. They need their balances in order to support their risks. The more they develop an understanding of all their experience – the more it is at their command – the more they carry with them into the whistling wind.
Anne Truitt in Daybook: The Journal of an Artist