Monday, October 30, 2017

How to be an artist by Howard Hodgkin

I recently shared and RECOMMENDED the transcript of a lecture about "How to be an Artist" by Howard Hodgkin on Facebook.  It's an amazingly good read.

Other people thought so too and I stopped counting after it got shared more than 50 times...

Personally I think it should be printed out and tucked away in that file of stuff we reread every so often when we feel in need of giving ourselves a big kick up the proverbial.

Then I realised I hadn't shared and highlighted it on Making A Mark - so here it is.

Below I explain some of the reasons why I think it is such a good read - besides the fact it's very well written for a lecture. I did find myself wondering whether it's a transcript of a recording or of his notes.

Howard Hodgkin

Why is it a good read?

Here are some of the reasons:
  • he commented about the context of being an artist IN ENGLAND
  • He talks about "running the gauntlet of art school" in a country which has more art schools per head that any other country
Once you cross the threshold of an art school, you are not in the real world but nor are you really of course in the academic world because nobody in an art school knows what to ask for in the way of instruction and nobody teaching knows quite what is expected of them to teach. There are no recognised skills that can be passed on and although this is obviously the grossest generalisation, for the most part it is true.
  • he talks about the effect art school has on the people who teach in them
  • and about the need for artists to look after themselves
we have to look after ourselves, we have to build up a reservoir of feeling which is real but which can be tapped on demand. We have to criticise ourselves, we have to be our own audience and our own patrons until somebody else does that for us. 
  •  He comments on the value of collectors and how to treat them
Collectors should be loved, admired, nurtured, flattered and crept to. They are probably the only people in the art world worth really taking seriously; however ridiculous they may be personally, they are for real.
  • he provides a mantra
Artists have to look after themselves and they have to make their audience themselves.
  • He talks about reality
It is no good saying that quality will out. Look at how much bad art is extremely successful. 
  • He talks about inspiration and social position and emotion
  • and he talks about MONEY!
Because if you are wondering how to be an artist the most important thing of all is that you should be paid for doing it. But never, whatever anyone does for you, feel grateful. The gratitude is all on the other side. Whatever you do, however unsuccessful, however creepy, mendacious, self-serving, aesthetically indefensible, morally wrong, however bad an artist you are in fact, never feel grateful when people buy you pictures, never feel grateful when people say nice things about them


Blondheim Art and Stories said...

All very true.
Thanks for all you do
Linda Blondheim

Unknown said...

Some great thoughts and truths here from a wise soul. Thank you for sharing here. Jane

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