Pearls from artists* # 262August 23, 2017
* an ongoing series of quotations – mostly from artists, to artists – that offers wisdom, inspiration, and advice for the sometimes lonely road we are on.
It may have been easier to paint bison on the cave walls long ago than to write this (or any other) sentence today. Other people, in other times and places, had some robust institutions to shore them up: witness the Church, the clan, ritual, tradition. It’s easy to imagine that artists doubted their calling less when working in the service of God than when working in the service of self.
Not so today. Today almost no one feels shored up. Today artwork does not emerge from secure common ground: the bison on the wall is someone else’s magic. Making art now means working in the face of uncertainty; it means living with doubt and contradiction, doing something no one much cares whether you do, and for which there may be neither audience nor reward. Making the work you want to make means setting aside these doubts so that you may see clearly what you have done, and thereby see where to go next. Making the work you want to make means finding nourishment within the work itself. This is not the Age of Faith, Truth, and Certainty.
David Bayles and Ted Orlando in Art & Fear: Observations On the Perils (and Rewards) of ARTMAKING
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