BY SOFO ARCHON
What is art? What does it mean to be an artist? Here are some of my favorite quotes on being an artist and the nature of art from the pioneering historian and philosopher of art Ananda Coomaraswamy, who was one of the main figures that introduced ancient Indian art to the West.
1. “Art is nothing tangible. We cannot call a painting ‘art’ as the words ‘artifact’ and ‘artificial’ imply. The thing made is a work of art made by art, but not itself art. The art remains in the artist and is the knowledge by which things are made.”
2. “The man incapable of contemplation cannot be an artist, but only a skillful workman.”
3. “The most awkward means are adequate to the communication of authentic experience, and the finest words no compensation for lack of it. It is for this reason that we are moved by the true Primitives and that the most accomplished art craftsmanship leaves us cold.”
4. “Industry without art is brutality.”
5. “We ‘preserve’ folk songs, at the same time that our way of life destroys the singer…we are proud of our museums, where we display the damning evidence of a way of life that we have made impossible.”
6. “However necessary it may be to say “I” and “mine” for the practical purposes of everyday life, our Ego in fact is nothing but a name for what is really only a sequence of observed behaviors.”
7. “The artist is not a special kind of man, but every man is a special kind of artist.”
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