My portraits are half what I see and the other half is invented or dictated by the person and the painting.
When you sit for an hour and a half in front of somebody, he or she shows about twenty faces. And so it's this crazy chase of, Which face? Which one is the one?
Maybe poets express more directly a sense of sympathy for other human beings. Painting is a little bit more of a retreat from human beings in real life; painting is more about the extreme moments when speech doesn't help anymore.
Painting is like making love. You cannot ask, 'How do you do it?' But, hopefully, it is beautiful.
There's poetry in the world. Poetry doesn't belong just to the poets. You know, you can look at the most premeditated, cold blooded movie and find poetry in it.
I never paint a portrait from a photograph, because a photograph doesn't give enough information about what the person feels.
I repeatedly refuse to make any practical decisions. I get a feeling of nausea about practicality.
We are not naturally intelligent, or happy. In fact, every day it is harder to remain intelligent. It seems often that people get intelligent through pain, but you can't be sure because nobody really can say, "I've been suffering."
In India and in New York the economy is naked. People are starving physically in India, and emotionally in New York.
A photograph to me is always a reminder of how the person was on a certain day in that certain light fixed. When I look at a watercolor of that same person, it seems to me alive, more open than a photograph.
When I look at a drawing of a person, I look at that person as living.
Fashion is the pursuit of perfection, Style is the acceptance of one's flaws.
To me the poets are closer than I am to the idea of voice, to a sort of primeval song that we all participate in.
I first think of intelligence. You need it for surviving in Italy because Italy is so pompous.
If you want to compete in Italy, the only accepted ways are brute force, or cunning. Like Machiavelli says, "Fronte otra forze." And neither of these two "virtues" is suited to an artist. The artist has to stay intelligent.
And dilettantism is a humorous way to survive. Everybody understands you for it and everybody hates you for it. And not everybody chooses to be a dilettante. Many choose cunning and brute force.
It is very scary to think mechanically about someone you know. That means that the second time you meet a person is useless. Which I tend to believe anyway.
In my head I am in one of those Buddhist caves where you see a thousand Buddha faces on the wall. In my head I am on my seventeen-year-old acid trip, when I saw my personas fall one minute after another, as if I was dying every moment.
I'm at the age where I don't need an acid trip to feel naked... to feel that I don't exist. Now a self-portrait is almost a reminder to me that I do exist.
That moment when the person actually dictates the way I do the portrait is when the intimacy arrives.
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