Friday, January 23, 2009

Agnes Martin: Advice to Young Artists

Advice to Young Artists

The life of an artist is inspired, self sufficient and independent (unrelated to society).
The direction of attention of an artist is towards mind in order to be aware of inspiration.
Following inspiration life unfolds free of any influence.
Finally the artist recognizes himself in the work and is happy and contented.  Nothing else will satisfy him.
An artist's life is an unconventional life.  It leads away from the example of the past.
It struggles painfully against its own conditioning.  It appears to rebel but in reality it is an inspired way of life.

And from the essay, Beauty is the Mystery of Life:

Art work is the only work in the world that is unmaterialistic.  All other work contributes to human welfare and comfort.  You can see from this that human welfare and comfort are not the interests of the artist.  He is responsible because his life goes in a different direction.  His mind will be involved with beauty and happiness.  It is possible to work at something other than art and maintain this state of mind and be moving ahead as an artist.  The unmaterial interest is essential.

And from a lecture Agnes Martin gave at Cornell University in 1972:

That which takes place by surprise, moments of happiness, that is inspiration.  Inspiration is there all of the time for everyone whose mind is not clouded over with thoughts, whether they realize it or not.  Inspiration is pervasive but not a power.  It is a peaceful thing.  It is a consolation even to plants and animals.  Do not think that it is unique.  If it were unique, no one would be able to understand your art work.  All of the moments of inspiration added together make what we call sensibility, and a development of sensibility is the most important thing for children and adults.

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