Soo, digging around on Googles Archives, I saw a post from Richard Schmid (if you don't know who this is, Google him now) and he had a pile of stuff from his discontinued "random thoughts/ notes from the studio" section.
I dunno, I read a few of them and they made me think for a bit. "Making someone think for a bit" is surely more than most internet posts have ever achieved so I thought I'd throw them up here, might make for more interesting talking points than the usual fare..
Copyright Schmid etc.
1. Why did you go to art school (or decide to take up painting) in the first place?
2. Did you think you were an artist before you began art studies, or did you think that learning how to paint would make you an artist after you knew enough?
3. How do you see yourself now? Do you think you are a "real" artist?
4. If so, is being an artist what you expected?
5. What does it mean to be an artist, and how would you define one?
6. Do you think you are any different than non-artists?
7. Why do you paint? To get rich? To get attention? For fame or adulation, or because it's fun and sort of elite? Is it a way of ducking out of other ways of making a living?
8. Do you do it in response to a real need for self-expression; if so, what are you trying to say?
9. Do you see your job as simply creating beautiful things that people can recognize and enjoy?
10. Are you happy with the subjects you are doing? Are you painting them the way you really want to?
11. Does your work reflect your true impulses?
12. Are you actually taking the risks you would like to be taking?
13. Are you too chicken to explore certain ideas?
14. Would you be producing what you do if you didn't have to make a living from it?
15. Do you reject ideas because you think they won't sell, or because they are taboo, or because people might not understand, or think you were a little nuts?
16. Do you think anyone gets the point of your work anyway?
17. And what is the point? Can it be expressed in any other terms except art itself?
Note: I continue here with some rather philosophical "WE" questions, perhaps best brought up in discussion with others, with my disclaimer or at least apologies for any semantic confusion or arguments that might ensue.
18. Does what we do as artists mean anything? And what does "mean" mean anyway?
19. Suppose we do produce work that resonates (for want of a better word) within us, and gives us some certainty that we have really touched upon the stuff of true art. What difference would it make in the long run—especially in a world that often seems largely indifferent to us? (And is it really indifferent?)
20. Why do we work ourselves silly trying to perfect a painting? Is it to simply have a personal sense of accomplishment? Or is it our actual intention to communicate to others our ideas and visions of what we think we know about life and the world we live in? On a more intimate level, do we intend others to see what we see, and then perhaps feel what we feel?
21. Do we as artists feel that we have a social or political function? Should our work influence or arouse our viewers toward social justice, or some "spiritual" truth, or environmental awareness, or how beautiful or nasty the world is, and so on?
22. Or is it our function simply to achieve excellence, the way nature does—without the need for justification or explanation?
23. Should we work in order to reach a point of virtuosity where painting becomes as easy as drawing a breath, so we can then ease into the pure joy of creating and enjoy it like bird watching or a good meal—as an end in itself?
24. Is our art perhaps something else, possibly an extension of our relationship with ourselves? Is it self-serving (in a good sense)? Should we indulge in the process of creation as a way of entering into a purely personal and possibly even mystical (I hate that word) situation? (Am I really writing this?)
25. And is the work that emerges from such lofty thoughts merely a record of that purely private experience?
26. In other words, should we seek insights so we may paint, or should we paint in order to have insights? Or is there a point to be reached where there is no distinction between those things?
BY THE WAY-- THESE ARE QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO ASK YOURSELVES, SO PLEASE DO NOT SEND ANY OF YOUR ANSWERS TO ME!!
27. Finally, are we all just grown up kids playing with paint?
As with the man himself I don't expect answers, I just thought some of them were interesting questions.. I might have answers in 10 years.