Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Painters are different creatures from ordinary people or painting is a filthy process

Quote from the book What Painting Is by James Elkins.

"… even the most commercially minded artist has to wrestle with raw materials, and get filthy in the process. Except for a few nineteenth-century painters who worked in impeccable three-piece suits complete with watch chains and boutonnieres, painters have usually managed to coat themselves in spots and smears, and so to bring their work home with them like the smell on a fisherman. In an art school or a studio it is always possible to tell which artist spends the most time working, because the paint gradually finds its way onto every surface and every possession.  …   Sooner or later every one of a painter's possessions will get stained. First to go are the studio clothes and the old sneakers that get the full shower of paint every day. Next are the painter's favorite books, the ones that have to be consulted in the studio. Then come the better clothes, one after another as they are worn just once into the studio and end up with the inevitable stain. The last object to be stained is often the living room couch, the one place where it is possible to relax in comfort and forget the studio. When the couch is stained, the painter has become a different creature from ordinary people, and there is no turning back."

James Elkins, 1999, What painting is: Routledge, New York and London, pp. 147-148.

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