Pearls from artists* # 580

October 11, 2023

Barbara’s Studio

*an ongoing series of quotations – mostly from artists, to artists – that offers wisdom, inspiration, and advice for the sometimes lonely road we are on.

Love is the spirit that motivates the artist’s journey. The love may be sublime, raw, obsessive, passionate, awful, or thrilling, but whatever its quality, it’s a powerful motive in the artist’s life. The actor Derek Jacobi distinguished this special deeply rooted drive from mere desire in the following way:

You have to have an absolute obsession and compulsion to act, not just desire; it’s just not enough to have talent and want to express it, it’s not enough. It’s got to be more deeply rooted, more abrasive. The fire in the belly has got to be there. If there’s no fire, you can’t do it.

What is it that the artist loves? It is first and foremost the sheer power of whatever medium has attracted him. This is why he’s an artist and not a botanist or an archeologist: an art form has gotten under his skin. It may be the power of the book that gripped him, the power of dance, the power of music, the power of the image, or the power of the play.

Eric Maisel in A Life in the Arts: Practical Guidance and Inspiration for Creative and Performing Artists

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