Artists Quotes

Most popular artists quotes

An artist is his own fault.
I never practice; I always play.
This place is my psychotherapist.
It's with my brush that I make love.
The artist is seismograph of his age.
An artist cannot do anything slovenly.
Nothing grows in the shade of great trees.
I'm like a prostitute; I'm never off duty.
Every artist writes his own autobiography.


The great artist is the slave of his ideal.
The first quality that is needed is audacity.
Immature artists imitate. Mature artists steal.
Scratch an artist and you will surprise a child.
In my studio I'm as happy as a cow in her stall.
I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers.


I paint objects as I think them, not as I see them.


I have the whole world as my canvas. I paint souls.
Aesthetics is to artists as ornithology is to birds.
The job of the artist is always to deepen the mystery.
I am only a public entertainer, who understands his age.
The artist does not see things as they are, but as he is.
Artistic temperament is a disease that afflicts amateurs.
The artist must bow to the monster of his own imagination.
An artist is somebody who enters into competition with God.
I will always be a thoroughbred hitched up to a rubbish cart.
We eat up artists like there's going to be a famine at the end.
An artist is a dreamer consenting to dream of the actual world.


The artist should be a seeing-eye dog for a myopic civilization.
The defining function of the artist is to cherish consciousness.
A man like Picasso studies an object as a surgeon dissects a corpse.
The moment you cheat for the sake of beauty, you know you're an artist.
Every time an artist dies, part of the vision of mankind passes with him.
The only compensation for the artist is the chance to feed hungry hearts.
The arrogance of the artist is a very profound thing, and it fortifies you.
The critic has to educate the public; the artist has to educate the critic.


Every grain of experience is food for the greedy growing soul of the artist.
What an artist is for is to tell us what we see but do not know that we see.
All artists today are expected to cultivate a little fashionable unhappiness.


What marks the artist is his power to shape the material of pain we all have.
Great artists are modest almost as seldom as they are faithful to their wives.


He clashed his colors together like cymbals and the effect was like a lullaby.
Anyone who sees and paints a sky green and fields blue ought to be sterilized.
Every artist is an unhappy lover.  And unhappy lovers want to tell their story.
To send light into the darkness of men's hearts—such is the duty of the artist.
The artist is simply the medium between his fantasies and the rest of the world.
Artists buy their fruits and vegetables in the Still Life section at the market.
Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.


If you're an artist, you try to keep an ear to the ground and an ear to your heart.
Every production of an artist should be the expression of an adventure of his soul.
An artist cannot speak about his art any more than a plant can discuss horticulture.
If I create from the heart, nearly everything works; if from the head, almost nothing.

head and heart

The strokes of the hammer on the chisel have to be in time with your heartbeat or pulse.
Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures.

art proverbs

The great artists of the world are never Puritans, and seldom even ordinarily respectable.
Life, the raw material, is only lived in potentia until the artist deploys it in his work.
One has a nose. The nose scents and it chooses. An artist is like a pig snouting truffles.
An artist is the magician put among men to gratify—capriciously—their urge for immortality.
To give a body and a perfect form to your thought, this alone is what it is to be an artist.
Copy nature and you infringe on the work of our Lord. Interpret nature and you are an artist.
The progress of an artist is a continual self-sacrifice, a continual extinction of personality.
No great artist ever sees things as they really are. If he did, he would cease to be an artist.


An artist carries on throughout his life a mysterious, uninterrupted conversation with his public.
The integrity of an artist lifts a man above the level of the world without delivering him from it.
This is the artist, then—life's hungry man, the glutton of eternity, beauty's miser, glory's slave.
When you make any kind of artwork, you have to serve it. You could easily call the artist a servant.
The artist is the most interesting of all phenomena, for he represents creativity, the definition of man.
No one has ever written, painted, sculpted, modeled, built, or invented except literally to get out of hell.
The artists must be sacrificed to their art.  Like bees, they must put their lives into the sting they give.
The artist's work, it is sometimes said, is to celebrate. But really that is not so; it is to express wonder.


There are two men inside the artist, the poet and the craftsman. One is born a poet. One becomes a craftsman.
He is the greatest artist who has embodied, in the sum of his work, the greatest number of the greatest ideas.


Artists are the antennae of the race, but the bullet-headed many will never learn to trust their great artists.
Most artists, ashamed of their need for encouragement, try to carry their work to term like a secret pregnancy.


I don't know if color chose me or I chose color, but since childhood I've been married to color in its pure state.
I've said it about myself but I really meant it about all artists. I think that all artists are two-headed calves.
The torpid artist seeks inspiration at any cost, by virtue or by vice, by friend or by fiend, by prayer or by wine.
It was Sophie who, by the example of her work and her life, both of them bathed in clarity, showed me the right way.


We artists cannot tread the path of Beauty without Eros keeping company with us and appointing himself as our guide.
It is frequently the tragedy of the great artist, as it is of the great scientist, that he frightens the ordinary man.
Great innovators and original thinkers and artists attract the wrath of mediocrities as lightning rods draw the flashes.

mediocrity thinking

Every artist joins a conversation that's been going on for generations, even millennia, before he or she joins the scene.
I go to my studio every day, because one day I may go and the angel will be there.  What if I don't go and the angel came?
The test of the artist does not lie in the will with which he goes to work, but in the excellence of the work he produces.
Artists to my mind are the real architects of change, and not the political legislators who implement change after the fact.


The artist uses the talent he has, wishing he had more talent. The talent uses the artist it has, wishing it had more artist.


With the pride of the artist, you must blow against the walls of every power that exists, the small trumpet of your defiance.
The artist produces for the liberation of his soul.  It is his nature to create as it is the nature of water to run down hill.
The artist uses the talent he has, wishing he had more talent.  The talent uses the artist it has, wishing it had more artist.


The artist is not a reporter, but a Great Teacher.  It is not his business to depict the world as it is, but as it ought to be.
He always did have that 'touch of madness' that marks the true artist and breaks the hearts of the young girls from fine homes.
Artists are exposed to great temptations: their eyes see paradise before their souls have reached it, and that is a great danger.
The artist must be in his work as God is in creation, invisible and all-powerful; one must sense him everywhere but never see him.
I have often described the artist as the seismograph of his age.  He is the rabbit in the submarine or the canary in the coal mine.
Every man's work, whether it be literature, or music or pictures or architecture or anything else, is always a portrait of himself.


An artist is a man of action, whether he creates a personality, invents an expedient, or finds the issue of a complicated situation.


The artist's world is limitless. It can be found anywhere, far from where he lives or a few feet away. It is always on his doorstep.
I talk about the gods, I am an atheist. But I am an artist too, and therefore a liar. Distrust everything I say. I am telling the truth.
An artist is someone who uses bravery, insight, creativity, and boldness to challenge the status quo. And an artist takes it personally.
Children, like animals, use all their senses to discover the world.  Then artists come along and discover it the same way, all over again.
Great artists are people who find the way to be themselves in their art.  Any sort of pretension induces mediocrity in art and life alike.


The soil that had nourished the roots of my art was Vitebsk [his home town in Russia]; but my art needed Paris as much as a tree needs water.
With this painting, I tried to make everything breathe faith, quiet suffering, religious and primitive style and great nature with its scream.
An artist must be a reactionary.  He has to stand out against the tenor of his age and not go flopping along; he must offer some little opposition.
I think most artists create out of despair. The very nature of creation is not a performing glory on the outside, it's a painful, difficult search within.


The wretched Artist himself is alternatively the lowest worm that ever crawled when no fire is in him: or the loftiest God that ever sang when the fire is going.
An artist or writer is a specimen human being who just goes about the world hoping to be a bundle of nerve endings that take in everything and transform it into a voice.
The artist is a receptacle for emotions that come from all over the place: from the sky, from the earth, from a scrap of paper, from a passing shape, from a spider's web.
The free play of art cannot be enjoyed on an empty stomach.  Only after the dinner do we bring the artist onto the stage. His function is not to nourish but to intoxicate.
It is possible...that the artist is both thin-skinned and prophetic and, like the canary lowered into the mine shaft to test the air, has caught a whiff of something lethal.
The artist, like the God of the creation, remains within or behind or beyond or above his handiwork, invisible, refined out of existence, indifferent, paring his fingernails.


The artist is a receptacle for the emotions that come from all over the place: from the sky, from the earth, from a scrap of paper, from a passing shape, from a spider's web.
The serious like an object caught by a wave and swept to shore. He's obsessed by his material; it's like a venom working in his blood and the art is the antidote.
The most demanding part of living a lifetime as an artist is the strict discipline of forcing oneself to work steadfastly along the nerve of one's own most intimate sensitivity.
All artist should be well read in the best books, and thoroughly high bred, both in heart and bearing. In a word, he should be fit for the best society, and should keep out of it.
Art is a personal gift that changes the recipient. An artist is an individual who creates art. The more people you change, the more you change them, the more effective your art is.


The romantic artist, off alone in his storm-battered castle, fuming whole worlds from his brain, reflects his culture's most persistent myth, of God creating from a primal loneliness.
For in almost every artist's nature is inborn a wanton and treacherous proneness to side with the beauty that breaks hearts, to single out aristocratic pretensions and pay them homage.
I have only too much of a wife in this art of mine, who has always kept me in tribulation, and my children shall be the works I leave, which, even if they are naught, will live for a while.
The Artist is he who detects and applies the law from observation of the works of Genius, whether of man or Nature. The Artisan is he who merely applies the rules which others have detected.


The aim of every artist is to arrest motion, which is life, by artificial means and hold it fixed so that a hundred years later, when a stranger looks at it, it moves again since it is life.


When I say artist I don't mean in the narrow sense of the word—but the man who is building things....  It's all a big game of construction—some with a brush—some with a shovel—some choose a pen.
No artist is pleased....  No satisfaction whatever at any time....  There is only a queer divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.
When artists create pictures and thinkers search for laws and formulate thoughts, it is in order to salvage something from the great dance of death, to make something that lasts longer than we do.

death thinking

There is a chord in every human heart than has a sigh in it if touched aright. When the artist finds the keynote, which that chord will answer to, in the dullest as in the highest—then he is great.
In any community of a thousand souls there will be nine hundred doing the work, ninety doing well, nine doing good, and one lucky dog painting or writing about the other nine hundred and ninety-nine.


The refusal to rest content, the willingness to risk excess on behalf of one's obsessions, is what distinguishes artists from entertainers, and what makes some artists adventurers on behalf of us all.
All my life as an artist I have asked myself: What pushes me continually to make sculpture?  I have found the answer—at least the answer for myself.  Art is an action against death.  It is a denial of death.


We all know that Art is not truth. Art is a lie that makes us realize truth, at least the truth that is given us to understand. The artist must know the manner whereby to convince others of the truthfulness of his lies.


It is the artists who make the true value of the world, though at times they may have to starve to do it. They are like earthworms, turning up the soil so things can grow, eating dirt so that the rest of us may eat green shoots.
The great joy of the artist is to become aware of a higher order of things, to recognize by the compulsive and spontaneous manipulation of his own impulses the resemblance between human creation and what is called "divine" creation.
An artist is a creature driven by demons.  He doesn't know why they chose him and he's usually too busy to wonder why.  He is completely amoral in that he will rob, borrow, beg, or steal from anybody and everybody to get the work done.
In other countries, art and literature are left to a lot of shabby bums living in attics and feeding on booze and spaghetti, but in America the successful writer or picture-painter is indistinguishable from any other decent businessman.

America art

The artist is the opposite of the politically minded individual, the opposite of the reformer, the opposite of the idealist. The artist does not tinker with the universe, he recreates it out of his own experience and understanding of life.
To many people artists seem
undisciplined and
Such laziness, with such
great gifts,
seems little short of
One mystery is how they
the things they make so
another, what they're
doing with
their energy and time.
Artists are generally soft-spoken persons who are concerned with their inner visions and images. But that is precisely what makes them feared by any coercive society. For they are the bearers of the human being's age-old capacity to be insurgent.
If the artist does not fling himself, without reflecting, into his the soldier flings himself into the enemy's trenches, and if, once in this crater, he does not work like a miner...he is simply looking on at the suicide of his own talent.


Very few people possess true artistic ability. It is therefore both unseemly and unproductive to irritate the situation by making an effort. If you have a burning, restless urge to write or paint, simply eat something sweet and the feeling will pass.
If there is any reason to single out artists as being more necessary to our lives than any others, it is because they provide us with light that cannot be extinguished. They go into dark rooms and poke at their souls until the contours of our own are familiar to us.
The true artist is not proud, he unfortunately sees that art has no limits; he feels darkly how far he is from the goal; and though he may be admired by others, he is sad not to have reached that point to which his better genius only appears as a distant, guiding sun.

musicians pride

The artist of to-day...walks at first with his companions, till one day he falls through a hole in the brambles, and from that moment is following the dark rapids of an underground river which may sometimes flow so near the surface that the laughing picnic parties are heard above.