I am an abstract painter originally from London, now living and working in Rome.
I have chosen painting as my discipline.
Only I am able to generate this. It can and should never be imposed from outside.
I am alone in the studio. I do not have a gallery that represents me, so I’m not cranking out paintings, but I am making them. I try not to repeat myself, I find things that I like, and see where they lead. Usually they are just beyond my vision. Primarily I’m there to help myself, but who knows maybe others as well. I realize that like in poetry if others are not prepared to get it, they won’t.
The writer and poet Lewis Hyde in his book “The Gift” claims there is a difference between the practice of art and common forms of earning a living “Art is not a commodity, it’s a gift”, he says, “The part of the work that cannot be made is the part that must be received”. In this, humility and integrity are vital. He goes on to say “We cannot have this gift except by supplication, by courting, by creating within ourselves that begging bowl to which a gift is drawn”.
“Of course a work of art can survive without a market but there must be a gift otherwise there is no art”
“A gift is something we do not receive through an act of will, it is bestowed on us. While we are working, an idea may pop into our head, a tune begin to play, a phrase come to mind, a colour fall into place. Usually the artist doesn’t see his work as authentic, doesn’t feel engaged or exhilarated by it until this gratuitous element has appeared”
As Hyde maintains “An essential portion of any artist’s labour is not creation so much as invocation. Along with a true creation comes the uncanny sense that I the artist have not made the work”.
If you see what others have said, DH Lawrence on writing for example, “Not I, not I, but the wind that blows through me”
In his movie “They’ll love me when I’m dead” Orson Welles says “The greatest things in movies are divine accidents. The definition of a film maker is a man who presides over accidents. It’s the one thing that keeps films from being dead. Every time an accident would happen, Boom – Genius would come out. Yes, fishing for accidents, that’s what I do. I’m not an orator, I’m a medium”.
An artist takes time working the ground in a painting. For me it’s all about my own experiences, they are the context as the work moves forward. With time, the work begins to get to you, and you start acting with greater conviction, to a point when life seems to be flowing through you.
You may trip up, but that in itself alters the situation. Things happen unexpectedly, spontaneously, they are of the moment, at a time when the artist least expects it. They are a surprise, an awakening, and seem to be essential. These surprises may take the form of “slips” of one sort or another, “mistakes”, “interruptions”, “chemical reactions”, “time lapses”, or any other “unplanned or unexpected event”. Of course all this happens unconsciously but it keeps the artist involved right up to the final “release” or “moment of recognition” when the painting takes on a life of its own.
Flannery O’Connor puts it this way, “I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say”, Rilke on the other hand called it “a carefree letting go of oneself not caution but rather a wise blindness”. These are the moments that fire artists with a passionate love for what they do and with it a strong desire to carry on.
In short, follow the work, find out where it leads, and move on accordingly. While culture saves the world from itself, art as I see it lies beyond what we know. I, myself work with paint, and for some reason or other feel fulfilled doing so.