Monday, March 26, 2012

Lessons from my lunch with Larry Poons


On being an artist: 
"Painting isn't a career, it's a calling? Do people become monks as a career? No, it's a calling."
"In painting, all there is, is color."
Also: "All there is, is light." (the only reason we see color)
Which is why painting travels at the speed of light. Music travels at the speed of sound BTW.
"You can't think your way to a better painting. You have to make a better painting."
"Don't paint another artist's mistakes. Paint your own mistakes. The only reason we remember any great artists is because they painted their own mistakes. That is called originality."

On Cézanne:
"Look at a Cézanne. He never used the same green twice in the same painting. That is one reason they still look fresh. The other reason is because he captured the light of that day. He painted his own mistakes."

On the state of the art world:
It's okay to be deeply pissed off about everything. Just don't get depressed. Take it out in your work but not yourself. "Do you think Rothko had it all figured out?"

On why very few people can tell the difference between good and bad painting:
"Welcome to the real fucking world."

Movie recommendations:
Ghost Dog
Things to do in Denver when you are Dead

After his own opening, seeing Darby Bannard's and Kathleen Staples' new paintings, seeing George Bethea's latest work was, in his words, "the icing on the cake". I couldn't agree more.

Note that the quotes above are slightly paraphrased from my memory of the conversations that we had over the past two days. They should not be taken as exact quotes but their gist remains as accurate as my recall allows. We also spoke about Clement Greenberg, Helen Frankenthaler, Jules Olitski, Ken Noland and Beethoven. To learn more about the artist, I recommend watching the interview Karen Wilkin conducted with him awhile back which can be found here.
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