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Insightful Quotes about Art and Artmaking

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#61 Chashab



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Posted 26 May 2006 - 08:59 PM

Don't know where I heard this first:

"Process over product."
- Leonardo da Vinci


"The poetry comes when we fill in the things we can't remember."
-Dave Read, photography professor

"Treat your clients like children."
- Le Corbusier

Edited by Chashab, 26 May 2006 - 08:59 PM.

#62 yank_eh



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Posted 28 May 2006 - 02:53 AM

Perhaps not directly about art but encouraging to artists nonetheless:

Proofs weary the truth.
-Georges Braques

#63 yank_eh



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Posted 28 May 2006 - 03:59 AM

"This willingness continually to revise one's own location in order to place oneself in the path of beauty is the basic impulse underlying education."

-Elaine Scarry, On Beauty and Being Just

#64 Chashab



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Posted 31 May 2006 - 10:36 AM

To see the face of God is to behold beauty, and the source of all lesser beauty.

- Randy Alcorn in the book Heaven.

#65 Chashab



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Posted 02 July 2006 - 01:57 PM

Serious art ("fine" or "high" art) is created for the purpose of putting profound ideas, thoughts, and feelings into intelligent and striking forms.

Wesley Hurd

#66 Chashab



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Posted 05 July 2006 - 09:25 PM

True art is only good if it reflects true life. Remember Plato's story in which a group of prisoners locked in a large cave are allowed to see only the shadows of objects rather than the objects themselves? The shadows become their reality until one day one of them escapes into the real world outside of the cave. Suddenly he sees things as they really are. Sadly, much of contemporary Christian art, and particularly Christian music, has been rightly criticized for too often presenting a life of shadows instead of life as it really is.

Jeff Johnson

#67 Chashab



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Posted 11 September 2006 - 08:55 AM

The greatest thinkers are not necessarily those who come up with new answers; they are those who redefine the problems and offer a direction for us to follow in dealing with them.

Ian Johnston, on a lecture on Plato's Republic.

Edit: apparently my link is out of date.

Edited by Chashab, 11 September 2006 - 08:57 AM.

#68 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 29 January 2007 - 09:17 PM

There's something kinda weird about logging in to A&F and finding a quote from Kim Cattrall, of all people, as the "Art Quote of the Day". (Said quote being: "Art is an expression of who you are. Parts that I play are my sculptures.")

#69 Greg Wright

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Posted 29 January 2007 - 09:44 PM

People ask me all the time, “What does that song mean?” Well, if I could say it in other words than are in the song, I would have written another song, wouldn’t I? —Elvis Costello (from the Live with Steve Nieve CDs)

#70 Overstreet


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Posted 29 January 2007 - 10:15 PM

Greg, I love those Costello/Nieve CDs. - Jeffrey Overstreet

#71 Tim Willson

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Posted 30 January 2007 - 12:21 PM

That reminds me of this quote from Kieslowski:

Another question came regarding A SHORT FILM ABOUT KILLING. He denied that it was about capital punishment ("It's about killing").

Q: Did you want to mobilize people?

A: No. You don't understand. You assume that I wanted to accomplish something. Well, let me tell you something. I did not want to accomplish anything, because you can't accomplish anything through film...
...I'm not going to change anything through a movie - I have no such delusions.

Q: What did you want to say?

A: If I could answer in one sentence, I wouldn't need to make the film. Do you know how much trouble it is to take the camera out and set it up with filters?

#72 Ron Reed

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Posted 20 July 2007 - 09:11 PM

I don’t believe the job of a filmmaker is to excite or move the viewer merely through creating special moments. By simply showing the reality, one can make people think about their own and other people’s acts or behaviour, and see and accept reality as it is. It’s from this point that the viewer’s duty to complete a work or a film begins. The viewer must be enticed into reflection on himself and the surrounding world. The combination of the filmmaker’s and viewer’s mind creates a film which will be more durable, original and fruitful than a film which merely aims at telling a story and impressing the viewer.

This is the most essential difference between this kind of cinema and that of Hollywood. In this kind of cinema, the most important subject matter is human beings and their souls. In this kind of cinema, man and his complex inner problems comprise the most important material, whereas in presently fashionable cinema, technique, special effects and exciting stories are considered more important.


In many films, music aims at giving viewers guidance or imposing something on them. Be happy here. Be sad here, scared here, moved there. It’s as if the director is standing by the screen like a conductor, calling on the audience to show their feelings. And the more worked up the audience gets, the more the director gets excited. “I can keep the viewers on the edge of their seats!” But I don’t know how necessary it is to take the viewers hostage. These days technology also helps such hostage-taking with Dolby surround sound systems and other new things. I don’t know how far this game of intimidating poor viewers will go.

Cinema is really a wonderful thing. Any viewer sitting in a seat in a dark movie theatre is turned into an innocent child. And there’s nothing quite as magical as light and darkness. It can send viewers into raptures. Under the circumstances, I suppose this is akin to picking pockets in the dark. By captivating the viewer, we rob him of his reason, which is even worse than emptying his pocket.

What I’m saying is not against music, nor am I against the appropriate use of music in cinema. I’m talking about abusing music.


I don’t believe a film is to be understood. Do we understand a piece of music? Do we understand a painting, or the exact meaning of a poem? It is ambiguity that attracts us to a work, not understanding the subject or story. However, human beings are standing between heaven and hell because of their existential ambiguity, and art displays this ambiguity. Pascal, a French philosopher, said that you cannot show a single event in somebody’s life and claim to have said everything about him. The secret department of the soul prevents this, and this is what becomes the plinth, the basis of the art of cinema.

I believe we can make the viewer experience mental effort by using omission. He can become involved in the making of the film through his imagination. For the creative viewer, this involvement is more involving than false climaxes or the playing of ridiculous guessing games. Once again I would like to quote Bresson, who said “We create not by adding but by subtracting.” This is exactly the opposite of resorting to symbols, allegories and signs.

Abbas Kiarostami, "10 On Ten"

Edited by Ron, 21 July 2007 - 12:55 PM.

#73 Hal Moran

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Posted 02 December 2007 - 05:44 PM

Seeing is forgetting the name of the thing you are looking at.

#74 StephE



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Posted 14 December 2007 - 08:30 PM

From Annie Dillard's Holy the Firm:

"How can people think that artists seek a name? A name, like a face, is something you have when you're not alone. There is no such thing as an artist: there is only the world, lit or unlit as the light allows. When the candle is burning, who looks at the wick? When the candle is out, who needs it? But the world without light is wasteland and chaos, and a life without sacrifice is abomination.

What can any artist set on fire but his world? What can any people bring to the altar but all it has ever owned in the the thin towns or over the desolate plains? What can an artist use but materials, such as they are? What can he light but the short string of his gut, and when that's burnt out, any muck ready to hand?

His face is flame like a seraph's, lighting the kingdom of God for the people to see; his life goes up in the works; his feet are waxen and salt. He is holy and he is firm, spanning the long gap with the length of his love, in flawed imitation of Christ on the cross stretched both ways unbroken and thorned. So must the work be also, in touch with, in touch with, in touch with; spanning the gap, from here to eternity, home."

#75 yank_eh



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Posted 16 August 2008 - 04:36 PM

"... we ought to read only the kind of books that wound and stab us.  ...we need the books that affect us like a disaster, that grieve us deeply, like the death of someone we loved more than ourselves, like being banished into forests far from everyone, like a suicide. A book should be an axe to break the frozen sea inside us."

-Kafka, Letter to Oskar Pollak, 27 January 1904

#76 jsmwriter



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Posted 17 December 2008 - 08:10 PM

Here are some quotes from my book Finding Divine Inspiration.

“Everything happening, great and small, is a parable whereby God speaks to us, and the art of life is to get the message.”

—Malcolm Muggeridge

“We [U2] have to write songs that raise the temperature of the room and find words for feelings you can’t express. And then, as Quincy Jones says, you wait for God to walk through the door. Because in the end, craft isn’t enough.”

- Bono, USA Today

My life’s journey has finally arrived, after a stormy sea, in a fragile boat, at the common port, through which all must pass to render an account and explanation of their every act, evil and devout. So now I fully recognize how my fond imagination, which made art for me an idol and a tyrant, was laden with error…. Neither painting nor sculpting can any longer quieten my soul, turned now to that divine love which on the cross, to embrace us, opened wide its arms.”

“God is really only another artist. He invented the giraffe, the elephant, and the cat. He has no real style. He just keeps trying other things.”

—Pablo Picasso

The obedience that comes out of listening to God puts us securely in our truest vocation. It is a radical place to be—a place of freedom from the words of the world, the flesh, and the devil. No longer slaves to sin, but alive to God’s voice, we a brought into that spacious place of genuine creativity. ---Leanne Payne

More later!

#77 Concord



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Posted 02 February 2009 - 04:28 PM

"No work of art is necessarily followed by a second work that is necessarily better. Given the methodologies of science, the law of gravity and the genome were bound to be discovered by somebody; the identity of the discoverer is incidental to the fact. But it appears that in the arts there are no second chances. We must assume that we had one chance each for The Divine Comedy and King Lear. If Dante and Shakespeare had died before they wrote those poems, nobody ever would have written them."

-- Wendell Berry, from his Harper's article Faustian Economics of May last year.

Edited by Concord, 02 February 2009 - 04:28 PM.




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Posted 10 April 2009 - 11:25 PM

Those are some great quotes...
"Turn to Dios and he will make you millions!" - DDLV

"Life is a tragedy when seen in close-up, but a comedy in long-shot." - Charlie Chaplin

#79 Justin Hanvey

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Posted 27 September 2012 - 02:28 PM

Two John Ruskin quotes, both from his meditation on Gothic Architecture, which I love.

"Better the rudest work that tells a story or records a fact, than the richest without meaning."

"Understand this clearly: You can teach a man to draw a straight line, and to cut one; to strike a curved line, and to carve it; and to copy and carve any number of given lines or forms, with admirable speed and perfect precision; and you find his work perfect of its kind: but if you ask him to think about any of those forms, to consider if he cannot find any better in his own head, he stops; his execution becomes hesitating; he thinks, and ten to one he thinks wrong; ten to one he makes a mistake in the first touch he gives to his work as a thinking being. But you have made a man of him for all that. He was only a machine before, an animated tool."