Once in a while you get to actually meet a hero. We were in the crammed auditorium to see and listen to Wayne Thiebaud in conversation with the noted art critic Kenneth Baker at UC Davis, yesterday, ruminating on the artistic process, the amount of habit and dedication needed to continually explore what it is of interest to the artist to stay in process, to live in reference to the thousands of years of art history of which we are all part, and to put down a lot of paint. At 90, he is up and at work (work, as he quoted Matisse, "Is his paradise") at 6:30 until he goes and plays tennis for two hours. He then has lunch with his wife, and after that returns to the studio for a few more hours to produce over 100 paintings a year, of which he says many are disasters and thus DESTROYED, but that disasters fuel the successes. GO TO THE SHOW AT THE CROCKER and see the successes.
Baker teased out many comments on the need for art, that artists have to love making painted worlds, that art is a terrible career choice (great laugh from the audience of artists) but a great privilege at the same time. He paid homage to the world of commercial art from which he came, his love of cartoons, and how caricature, close to his heart, influences how he sees shape in his paintings. Thiebaud expressed how linked he is to looking at art for inspiration, and to drawing, both objective and from memory as a gateway to painting. Baker made the observation, at the end that art "sums up the inexpressible feelings about our lives through the visual compaction of information" Thiebaud said, "I painted cupcakes because I like cupcakes".
AUGH! I could go on, but the primary takeaway is this: Get up, go to the studio, paint!
Labels: Meeting Mr. T.