You should always respect what you are and your culture because if your art is going to mean anything, that is where it comes from.
When I conjure these memories, they are of the present to me, because after all, the artist is a kind of enchanter in time.
What I've attempted to do is establish a world through art in which the validity of my Negro experience could live and make its own logic.
The artist has to be something like a whale swimming with his mouth wide open, absorbing everything until he has what he really needs.
The artist confronts chaos. The whole thing of art is, how do you organize chaos?
Black art has always existed. It just hasn't been looked for in the right places.
Painting is a self-disciplined activity that you have to learn by yourself.
Art is the soul of a people.
Sometimes the mind relives things very clearly for us...There are roads out of secret places within us along which we all must move as we go to touch others.
Practically all great artists accept the influence of others. But... the artist with vision sees his material, chooses, changes, and by integrating what he has learned with his own experiences, finally molds something distinctly personnel.
But no one, when you stop to think, has ever equated abstract expressionism as a movement with jazz music. It's based on improvisation. The rhythms, the personal involvement, all of this is part of the jazz experience.
Every artist wants his work to be permanent. But what is? The Aswan Dam covered some of the greatest art in the world. Venice is sinking. Great books and pictures were lost in the Florence floods. In the meantime we still enjoy butterflies.
You put down one color and it calls for an answer. You have to look at it like a melody.
My purpose is to paint the life of my people as I know it.
You don't paint what you see, you paint what you feel.
Painting and art cannot be taught. You can save time if someone tells you to put blue and yellow together to make green, but the essence of painting is a self-disciplined activity that you have to learn by yourself.
Painting is the act of discovery and you're constantly enlarging your horizon or finding yourself every time you paint.
It was not my aim to paint about the Negro in America in terms of propaganda. It is to depict the life of my people as I know it, passionately and dispassionately as Brueghel.
The function of the artist is to organize the facets of life according to his imagination.
If you're any kind of artist, you make a miraculous journey, and you come back and make some statements in shapes and colors of where you were.
I want to see how life can triumph.
Memory embellishes Life. Forgetfulness makes it possible.
The essence of art is to recapturel the fantasy and the imagination of a child again, but without the innocence of a child.
The most difficult object in painting is yourself because you're always at issue
The artist has to be exactly the opposite [of people singing the song, I've gotta be Me,] and transcend himself as he makes judgements.
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