I had a nice visit with J Parker Valentine in my studio last week. She and I have talked a lot about the idea of Provisional Painting: the artist’s choice of what to show and what to leave hidden; when resolution is satisfying and when there is more energy in the open question. From and interview in zing magazine:
"When something leaves my hands, it’s finished and it’s frozen in time in its determined orientation, but if it has not yet left, I can continue to look for alternative solutions. This can be by combining it with something else. This might give the work an unfinished character—an openness to resolve, hence my interest in abstraction, which by nature, is open."
On the way home from New Orleans, I stopped at the Cy Twombly gallery in Houston, of course. When I met Twombly in 2010, I told him it was my favorite place on earth, and he said, “Mine, too.” Instead of writing about the ridiculous emotions that place elicits, I thought I would just share these heartthrob photos of him. You’re welcome!
I’m having a Thomas Roma moment. What photographs! Watch the video. Here’s a quote from his 2010 interview in The Days of Yore.
Artists need to support themselves though, don’t they?
I am not going to give one inch to the “you need to support yourself” argument. I had a student at the School of Visual Arts once. He came to class one week and didn’t have any work because his camera was stolen. I understood that. But the next week he came back and still didn’t have any work because he said he didn’t have enough money to buy a camera. I said, “I’m going to throw you out of the class.” I made him come up to the front of the class and I asked him to stick out his arm. He did. I grabbed his hand and said, “What is that?” He had a Tag Heuer watch. I said, “Sell that watch and buy a camera.” He said, “I can’t sell that watch, my grandmother gave it to me.” So I said, “Sell your grandmother into slavery and buy a camera.” I threw him out of the class.
People who are concerned about money are the ones brushing their teeth three times a day. Maybe you have to live in a way where you don’t even brush your teeth. Maybe you can’t bathe too regularly. Everyone says “I have passion…but I have to go to the movies…or eat at a restaurant…live in a nice place!” People say they need to support themselves, but what that means is that they have to have a certain standard of living. You make it work. There is always a way to make it work.
If you don’t treat your work as if it’s important, and necessary, there is no point. Every creature on earth has the need for food, shelter, and to reproduce. Humans, we are exactly the same way. But we also have this one other drive and that is to express ourselves. That is why poets lock themselves in a garret, even though they get nothing else out of it, even if they never find recognition. But if that drive is not as powerful as those other three, or if you are only using that drive to get at one of the other three—the house in the Hamptons, food, or sex—then what have you done? You’re a mammal, or something! It’s not a luxury what I do. It is a necessity.