Thursday, April 8, 2010

Give up everything.

'To be an artist you have to give up everything, including the desire to be a good artist.'- Jasper Johns


"I said: 'I take it that when you're making art you're often saying to yourself 'It would be interesting to see that."' He answered: 'Or "it would be interesting to do that", which is not the same.'

"Commands to himself to do something often occur in his sketchbook notes. ('Make something, a kind of object, which as it changes or falls apart (dies as it were) or increases in its parts (grows as it were) offers no clue as to what its state or form or nature was at any previous time.') He is one who has always been driven to do things by working on some surface or another with some tool or object or another and/or some medium or another. ('Take a skull. Cover it with paint. Rub it against canvas. Skull against canvas.') While a famously philosophic artist, whose work was a key point of departure for conceptual art, he is anything but a conceptual artist. Just look at a catalogue list of some of his drawings and see how many different techniques and media and original combinations of them are there. Johns is a maker.

"It may be that focusing on the making diminishes thinking about what one intends the work to mean, leaves the unconscious with room in which to operate, allows meaning to accrue without interference. As C├ęzanne said: '. . . if I get at all distracted, if my concentration lapses, above all, if I do too much interpreting ... if I start thinking while I'm painting, if I intervene, then crash! bang! the whole damn thing falls apart.'

Jasper Johns: A Retrospective

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