Experiences, Not Products

There’s a great piece up on the Guardian UK website showing a film of famed painter Sean Scully talking about working, being a father, and other topics. Though I’m not a huge fan of his work, I love what he says here:

“You’re trying to, in a sense, imitate God because you’re trying to be creative. And I can never make anything better than Oisin (his son). That’s my greatest creation.”

and here:

“I’m not sure that I have a destination in mind. I’m on a journey. I don’t expect to arrive.”

and here:

“If you’re plotting art, and trying to make something to get something, you’re not in a state of creative innocence. You’re not making art. You’re doing something else.”

This last bit is fantastic. I find it quirky for an artist like Scully – who has exhibited such consistency and clearly defined formatting for decades – to make that statement. But it is really something I believe in. I tell my students constantly: I couldn’t care less about products – I want experiences. I think that’s part of what Scully is saying there.

I don’t want my students to merely execute skills or master techniques; I want them to live out the sense of being that’s wrapped up in obtaining those skills or using those techniques. Making artwork is physical philosophy… it’s a musing on what it means to be miraculously conscious, purposefully aware, intuitively engaged and intellectually stimulated by a range of actions and tremendously important conditions of the human body/mind.

Above: Sketchbook drawing from 2006… it keeps coming back to me. Some day it’ll resolve into an image.

I saw the Scully story via Two Coats of Paint. Check out that blog.

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