Conversation about art, artists, creativity w. Tharp, Miller, Walker, Petit

I love that I can have a sit down with my heroes on a warm Saturday night and just shoot the shit.  Tonight we contemplated creativity, the artist and the why.

Here are some highlights:

Twyla Tharp (china marker on newsprint)

I believe that we all have strands of creative code hard-wired into our imaginations.  These strands are as solidly imprinted in us as the genetic code that determines our height and eye color, except they govern our creative impulses.  They determine the forms we work in, the stories we tell, and how we tell them.  I’m not Watson and Crick; I can’t prove this.  But perhaps you also suspect it when you try to understand why you’re a photographer, not a writer,or why you always insert a happy ending into your story, or why all your canvases gather the most interesting material at the edges, not the center.  In many ways, that’s why art historians and literature professors and critics of all kinds have jobs; to pinpoint the artist’s DNA and explain to the rest of us whether that artist is being true to it in his or her work.  I call it DNA; you may think of it as your creative hard-wiring or personality. – Twyla Tharp, The Creative Habit

Henry Miller (china marker on newsprint)

The practice of any art demands more that mere savoir faire.  One must not only be in love with what one does, one must also know how to make love.  In love self is obliterated.  Only the beloved counts.  Whether the beloved be a bowl of fruit, a pastoral scene, or the interior of a bawdy house makes no difference.  One must be in it and of it wholly.  Before a subject can be transmuted aesthetically it must be devoured and absorbed.  If it is a painting it must perspire with ecstacy…  The anatomy books will tell you one thing, or many things, but looking at an eye or an ear to render it in form, texture, color yields quite another kind of knowledge.  Suddenly you see– it’s not an eye or an ear but a little universe composed of the most extraordinary elements having nothing to do with sight or hearing, with flesh, bone, muscle, cartilage. – Henry Miller, To Paint is to Love Again

Alice Walker (china marker on newsprint)

… these grandmothers and mothers of ours were not Saints, but Artists; driven to a numb and bleeding madness by the springs of creativity in them for which there was no release.  They were Creators, who lived lives of spiritual waste, because they were so rich in spirituality- which is the basis of Art– that the strain of enduring their unused and unwanted talent drove them insane…. What did it mean for a black woman to be an artist in our grandmothers’ time?  In our great-grandmothers’ day?  It is a question with an answer cruel enough to stop the blood…  Our mothers and grandmothers have, more often than not anonymously, handed on the creative spark, the seed of the flower they themselves never hoped to see; or like a sealed letter they could not plainly read.  – Alice Walker, In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens

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Philipe Petit (china marker on newsprint)

There is no such thing as motivation in my world.  As an artist, I am driven, I am compelled, I am thrust forward by a force so rooted inside me, so convincing, that it seems futile to try to explain it.  Although it has a name: passion.  Passion is the mortar that holds my creative assemblies together.  It is the motor of my actions.  Because it is in perpetual motion, it has an impatient edge to it.  It is urgent.  And because it invites my arts to grow, it is essential. – Philipe Petit, Creativity- the perfect crime

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