Category Archives: artists

The Trouble with Artists

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In 1845, Leopold I, King of the Belgians, wrote a letter to Queen Victoria, warning her about people like me. :)

The King of the Belgians to Queen Victoria.

St. Cloud, 10th October 1845.

My Dearest Victoria – All you say about our dear Albert, whom I love like my own child, is perfectly true. The attacks, however unjust, have but one advantage, that of showing the points the enemy thinks weakest and best calculated to hurt. This, being the case, Anson, without boring A. with daily accounts which in the end become very irksome, should pay attention to these very points, and contribute to avoid what may be turned to account by the enemy. To hope to escape censure and calumny is next to impossible, but whatever is considered by the enemy as a fit subject for attack is better modified or avoided. The dealings with artists, for instance, require great prudence; they are acquainted with all classes of society, and for that very reason dangerous; they are hardly ever satisfied, and when you have too much to do with them, you are sure to have des ennuis…

Your devoted Uncle, Leopold R.

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Graffiti by Not For Them Art House

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Bryan Zanisnik’s Big Pivot

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Bryan Zanisnik artist

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The Art of Johan Deckmann

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Marina Abramovic: Pure Process

Marina Abramovic artist

“Once, Picasso was asked what his paintings meant. He said, “Do you ever know what the birds are singing? You don’t. But you listen to them anyway.” So, sometimes with art, it is important just to look.”

“It taught me that the process was more important than the result, just as the performance means more to me than the object. I saw the process of making it and then the process of its unmaking. There was no duration or stability to it. It was pure process. Later on I read—and loved—the Yves Klein quote: “My paintings are but the ashes of my art.”

“Art is not just about another beautiful painting that matches your dining room floor. Art has to be disturbing, art has to ask a question, art has to predict the future.”

“For the first three months, I place each student at a table with a thousand pieces of white paper and a trash can underneath. Every day they have to sit at the table for several hours and write ideas. They put the ideas they like on the right side of the table; the ones they don’t like, they put in the trash. But we don’t throw out the trash. After three months, I only take the ideas from the trash can. I don’t even look at the ideas they liked. Because the trash can is a treasure trove of things they’re afraid to do.”

“What you’re doing is not important. What is really important is the state of mind from which you do it.”

“Make it simple. Increase contact. Remove barriers.”

“I am only interested in the ideas that become obsessive and make me feel uneasy. The ideas that I’m afraid of.”

“It’s so easy to do things you like. But then, the thing is, when you’re afraid of something, face it; go for it. You become a better human being.”

“Then I woke up and the reality of the dream was stronger than the reality of the day.”

“The world doesn’t need an artist who shows reality as it is.”

All quotes by Marina Abramovic

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Heir To Every Possibility

Louise Nevelson portrait

“Art is the essence of awareness.”

“I don’t demand that all work be a masterpiece. What I am doing is the right thing for me – that is what I am and this is living. It reflects me and I reflect it.”

“I seek truth. What I seek is anything that will work for me. I’ll use a lie if it works, and that [becomes] the truth.”

“What we call reality is an agreement that people have arrived at to make life more livable.”

“We must create our own world.”

“No matter how individual we humans are, we are a composite of everything we are aware of. We are a mirror of our times.”

“I have never liked the middle ground – the most boring place in the world.”

“Greatness breaks laws.”

“Humans really are heir to every possibility within themselves, and it is only up to us to admit it and accept it. You see, you can buy the whole world and you are empty, but when you create the whole world, you are full.”

All quotes and artwork by Louise Nevelson (born September 23, 1899 – died April 17, 1988)

Louise Nevelson artwork

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Louise Nevelson artist

Louise Nevelson sculpture

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Louise Nevelson

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The Magic of Making Mistakes

magic creative process

Bad things that mean nothing.

I loved this video (embedded below) by New Yorker Magazine about Liana Finck. Not only did it make me miss New York, but the part were she takes two hours to create bad drawings really stood out for me.

Lately I’ve been seeing (in myself and others) an all or nothing mindset when it comes to creativity, and life choices in general. Like we have to do things perfectly the first go-around or it’s a waste of time. We often forget how important process is. And mistakes are part of the process.

Doing things terribly. Trying things out. Having to make changes. Losing investments. Looking foolish. Not getting the results we were hoping for. Things not working out. Failure to meet expectations. Feeling silly. Experiencing regret. Of course all of that is hard to accept. But how will you grow and evolve if you aren’t willing to be uncomfortable?

I’ve mentioned this before, but I erased an entire website that I created because ONE PERSON (that I respected) criticized it. I felt like I had failed and I deleted the whole thing. Which was not a good idea. I really wish that I could have let that work live and allowed myself to be vulnerable and publicly (or even privately) evolve. I wish that I wasn’t so hasty and reactive, and would have accepted the creative process and continued to explore ideas without the self-imposed pressure of having to be perfect.

Another example is in my personal life. I left New York and moved to North Carolina, then Oregon, then California. All of those moves were a huge risk that came with a hefty price. I invested so much time, money and effort. It was emotionally, mentally and physically super-taxing.

Looking back, the loud voice in me says, “Oh f*ck! What did you do? Ugh. What a loss.” But there is a softer, wiser, all-seeing voice that whispers, “What if those mistakes were exactly what you needed for your highest evolution? What if they lead to something amazing, beyond your current understanding? Everything is fine. Keep going. Don’t be afraid to get banged up a little.”

Just like any vehicle, this body is not forever. My life is my greatest adventure and greatest work of art. I don’t want to waste it by playing safe. I have to remind myself of that, over and over. I constantly need reminders.

I’m so grateful for the experiences I had this week that reinforced the idea that stepping into the Unknown is worth it. Looking silly is worth it. Losing money is worth it. Wasting time is worth it. Following your curiosity is worth it. Allowing yourself to be childlike is worth it. Doing bad things and making mistakes is worth it.

It’s all part of the creative process.

:)

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Richard Haines: What I Saw Today

Richard Haines illustration

Richard Haines Illustrator

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Haines+Brooklyn+Bros

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Robert Therrien: Sense of Wonder

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I just found out that artist Robert Therrien passed away this year. I’m so grateful that his work lives on. It reminds me to live with a sense of wonder and appreciation. –Thank you, Robert! ♥ Thank you for sharing your unique talent and magnificent perspective.

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