The Prompter Room

For Friday, December 28, 2018:


I know artists whose medium is life itself, and who express the inexpressible without brush, pencil, chisel or guitar.  They neither paint nor dance.  Their medium is Being.  Whatever their hand touches has increased life … They are the artists of being alive.

Frederick Franck (h/t RAB)


The Prompter Room

For Tuesday, December 18, 2018:


Artists are people driven by the tension between the desire to communicate and the desire to hide.

Donald Wood Winnicott (h/t MjP)


[Personal note: I think I can safely add, at least for many of us, ‘driven by the need to communicate and the need to hide.’]

The Prompter Room

For Tuesday, June 12, 2018:


The artistic creation of the poet, painter, photographer, and writer is a reflection of the artist’s inner world. The agenda of consciousness that spurs all forms of art is not to represent the outward appearance of things, but to portray its inward significance to the creator. A great poem, painting, photograph, and written composition fully express what the creator feels, in the deepest sense, about the distinctively depicted image that captured their imagination.

Kilroy J. Oldster, DEAD TOAD SCROLLS (h/t TWC)


The Prompter Room

For Tuesday, May 8, 2018:


… However glorious the history of art, the history of artists is quite a different matter. And in any well-ordered household the very thought that one of the young men may turn out to be an artist can be a cause for general alarm. It may be a point of great pride to have a Van Gogh on the living room wall, but the prospect of having Van Gogh himself in the living room would put a good many devoted art lovers to rout …

Ben Shahn, ‘On Nonconformity,’ THE SHAPE OF CONTENT

The Prompter Room

For Friday, August 25, 2017:


This is precisely the time when artists go to work. There is no time for despair, no place for self-pity, no need for silence, no room for fear. We speak, we write, we do language. That is how civilizations heal.

I know the world is bruised and bleeding, and though it is important not to ignore its pain, it is also critical to refuse to succumb to its malevolence. Like failure, chaos contains information that can lead to knowledge — even wisdom. Like art.

Toni Morrison, “No Place for Self-Pity, No Room for Fear,” in the 150th anniversary issue of The Nation.

The Prompter Room

For Tuesday, April 11, 2017:


Art replaces the light that is lost when the day fades, the moment passes, the evanescent extraordinary makes its quicksilver.  Art tries to capture that which we know leaves us, as we move in and out of each other’s lives, as we all must eventually leave this earth.  Great artists know that shadow, work always against the dying light, but always know that the day brings new light and that the ocean which washes away all traces on the sand leaves us a new canvas with each wave.

Elizabeth Alexander, THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD

The Prompter Room

For Friday, March 31, 2017:


If sometimes our great artists have been the most critical of our society, it is because their sensitivity and their concern for justice, which must motivate any true artist, make [them] aware that our Nation falls short of its highest potential.  I see little of more importance to the future of our country and our civilization than full recognition of the place of the artist.

… We must never forget that art is not a form of propaganda; it is a form of truth …

John F. Kennedy – Eulogy for Robert Frost, October 26, 1963, Amherst College

The Prompter Room

For Friday, March 24, 2017:


For [Marcel] Proust, the great artists deserve acclaim because they show us the world in a way that is fresh, appreciative, and alive … The opposite of art, for Proust, is something he calls habit … a blanket or shroud of familiarity that … dulls our senses …

The trick, in Proust’s eyes, is to recover the powers of appreciation of a child in adulthood, to strip the veil of habit and therefore to start to look upon daily life with a new and more grateful sensitivity.

This … is what one group in the population does all the time: artists.  Artists … strip habit away and return life to its deserved glory.


The Prompter Room

For December 30, 2016:


… And this is also true.  In creative work – creative work of all kinds – those who are the world’s working artists are not trying to help the world go around, but forward.  Which is something altogether different from the ordinary.  Such work does not refute the ordinary.  It is, simply, something else.  Its labor requires a different outlook – a different set of priorities.  Certainly there is within each of us a self that is neither a child, nor a servant of the hours.  It is a third self, occasional in some of us, tyrant in others.  This self is out of love with the ordinary; it is out of love with time.  It has a hunger for eternity.

Mary Oliver, UPSTREAM (pgs. 26-27)