When I’m happy I notice things around me.
I like the boring as it’s only when you are bored that you can see.
—Julian Opie in a Q&A and The Guardian. I always think it’s interesting when artists acknowledge mood (or mental health, or period pain) and the way it affects their practice. I feel we don’t do this much, maybe because of romantic “muse descending” clichés?
That old question ‘must I always know nothing?’ no longer haunts, but consoles. Because the day I stop feeling like a beginner might be the day I know it’s time to put down the pen.
—Novelist Charlotte Wood in SMH. I had the luck of hearing her speak at an event for AGNSW’s The Lady & The Unicorn exhibition (one of her books mentions the tapestries) and I remember thinking she had a really interesting take on doubt and the importance of making peace with it. I’m sure a lot of visual artists face this too.
My hands are like my heart and head all in one.
—Sarah Contos on figuring it out as you go along, in Artist Profile.
Most of my writing usually feels to me like a bad idea, which makes it hard for me to know which ideas feel bad because they have merit, and which ones feel bad because they don’t.
—Maggie Nelson in The Argonauts, a book that pushed at all kinds of boundaries with a raw, searching honesty. This line made me see doubt as something to aspire to.
For me being an artist is like being an anatomist, taking things apart in order to make sense of them.
—Kate Scardifield in Museum Magazine, talking about her exhibition Soft Topologies, currently at UTS Gallery.
I think of drawing as a dance. And a dance is a drawing in space. If you don’t appreciate dancing, these things aren’t possible to create.
—Geta Brătescu in the New York Times.
Looking is, I feel, a vital aspect of existence. Perception constitutes our awareness of what it is to be human, indeed what it is to be alive.
—The indefatigable Bridget Riley. I’m not sure when she first said this. It’s resurfaced in press for her exhibition of new work at David Zwirner in London.