Why write an artist’s manifesto?
As artists and creators, we continually step into the unknown, the terra incognita, and grapple with the perils of self doubt, fear, inner criticism, second guessing, procrastination, ennui and even resignation.
An artist’s manifesto is a response to these perils of creating.
I’m inspired by the structure and the sermon-like feel of artist’s manifestos. I love the notion of creating a personal manifesto and in particular, an abstract artist’s manifesto imploring oneself to remember the deep underpinnings of why you create.
Today, I’m featuring artist’s manifestos by 15 artists.
I am an artist because I was born like one.
My art reflects and expresses the world that I live in, the feelings that I have, and it does so using this body that is mine, my eyes, my hands, the feet that support me.
And while expressing this onto the paper or the canvas or with clay or any other material I feel the sun on my skin, the wind, the rain, the snow, I hear the music, the birds, the sea, I may even sing along.
My art has been a tool to please others from the beginning – making them happy by giving them a piece of myself. And being disappointed when they tore it to pieces or threw it in the garbage bin.
Now my art is not created with such purpose any more, and when it resonates with something in another person it is like seeing a kindred spirit reaching out.
So it is as real as my breath, my walk, my talk.
It is part of me, and that is enough.
I must make art.
I create with paint, I construct,
and I draw.
I choose to continue to learn new things
and keep my mind
and spirit open
I embrace new ideas and new possibilities.
I believe that my love of making is a gift from
a higher plane and it is my
joy to create.
I am committed to developing
I am committed to making
my most authentic
I am committed to doing something
toward the development of my work everyday.
I will turn away from fear
I will trust in myself and in
I will honor my gift.
I paint because it feels good to be recording something that has given me pleasure,,,a sketch is so much more than a photograph to bring back the day and time and place,
I feel most like myself when I’m creating, It is blissful and time is very altered, and very special, It’s a non thinking peaceful meditation,,,there’s a humming in it,,,with
a coming out of it being the only way to know that I was in it.
But then, there’s a listening for a sense of what is needed when it is going really well,,,,the best paintings almost paint themselves, and a lot of them try to co-operate even
when the timing is awkward. It’s a dialogue without words.
I am still catching myself TRYING too hard,
The best place to start is to PLAY,,,, to just relax and enjoy making marks . cutting papers, collaging, using all sorts of tools, and colors and it doesn’t have to be ORIGINAL,,,
Sometimes I find that I overpainted something that was better than the finished layer, Easy come, easy go,,,
It is living in the present and appreciating the gift of being able to do it, Eckhart Tolle would approve,
I feel very alive and blissful and go beyond the words to express it.
I want to encourage others to find their outlet because I think we are all creators..and there are so many ways to spread joy,
I think it was Hokusai who, at aged ninety plus, said that he was “almost getting it”,,,,
I feel that way and feel blessed at being able to be an artist,
I paint because when I do, I am in good company. My company is the universe and my beloved guides that come from time to time to “look in” on me in my studio, through thoughts, whispers in my mind, intuition and urges. I smile when I recognize their input. And I know. A sense of knowing comes. As if I belong. And I’m loved.
Sometimes I feel guided in surprising, delightful ways, after the fact. As if I just couldn’t see it until I take a step back…..other times I am guided through mysterious and dark passages only to love them too in the end.
It’s all love. It embraces me. I am clay. “I am the hole in the flute”.
I paint to communicate with the universe. That I’m here. That I’m in awe.
When I try to say something with paint, it’s there, telling me how. I am listened to and guided all the time.
I’ve always been an artist even when I wasn’t being an artist.
I’ve lived “over there”, in this field of all possibility, all my life. A place, a field, a root in it, somewhere else.
Am I really where I stand today? Does being “there” or “here” matter? If your feet stand here, on this studio floor, are you really here? Or are you elsewhere, everywhere. Are you in your feet or in your mind? Where does one live?
Favorite tool: charcoal sticks and shapers and wedges. They smear so nicely. But also can be hard edged.
Favorite material: watercolors, love the flowing softness, so uncontrollable and unpredictable.
Like best during painting process: seeing how one thing massively changes everything, radically. How Radically different things look if I put a mark or paint over a field…sometimes the smallest thing tie things up and finds balance, forgiveness. How doing one thing here affects the whole painting there. My mark here affects the balance of the universe. I find a happy off-balance. I’m looking to play. My playmates.
Green, my favorite color. So complicated. Growth, voluptuous fullness, luscious, lush, sensual, happy, fresh, thirst quenching, freeing, evermore forever. I am forever. I am green…it’s the color of love. The universe gives us green. I am so thankful.
I break rules I’ve been taught because I know there are an infinite number of paths to the same goal. I find one, my own, for now. There is no right or wrong.
Soft versus hard, scratchy versus lush. Happy off-balance. Surprise and delight. Play. The spirits have come to play with me. I listen. I am in their hands.
A dance versus the floor. Here I am, dancing on this floor today, over here. Expressing the beauty and joy of this dance is reflected on my movements right now, on this stage, to this song. Tomorrow I might dance on a different floor to a different song. I love to dance. It is the movement of love that the universe is trying to express to each of us.
I paint as a response to my senses. I hear, I feel, I smell, I taste, I see the hidden that needs to be revealed. I think that maybe it’s my own sixth sense. To make marks where there were none in evidence. An undetachable connection to the natural world inside and out. Within my minds eye or beyond to the atmospherics. A sensitivity to the untouchables of life, the less obvious. I thrill at the breath revealed on an icy cold day as it suddenly appears before me. The reflections or shadows of objects which change over time or the pictures inside closed eyes. I love the morning chorus at dawn, the splash on a lake with its mystery below….the fog lifting from the trees.
Then to scribe marks on paper with a stick and make them appear like magic. To not know is so good. Just to let it happen is best.To bring out the unexpected, the surprise, the hidden. Reaching through the known to the unknown is where the thrill lies! It’s waiting for me around the unexplored corner.
Then to lay layer onto layer with dry and wet, scratching again, removing, rubbing out even. It’s a revelation within this small space you occupy in a universe of possibilities.
I am leaving my mark, my legacy, for eternity, for anyone to observe if they will. Good bad or indifferent, it’s there. My life is enriched so much through this. My philosophy , my rule of thumb is that …..the more you explore, the better it becomes and the more you get from it.
To Create I Believe:
I am an artist
I dare to experiment
I trust my process
Allow freedom to reign
Remove self doubt
Train my eye to see
Train my heart to feel
Power of constraint
My organic shapes
Jump in and see what transpires
On the canvas
Off the canvas
Images and ideas from:
Experiences of life
I will trust myself
I will experiment
I will be true to myself because:
I gain peace
I gain tranquility
I gain a sense of purpose
I love seeing what shows up on the canvas
May I forever be open to:
Works of wonder
From what only I can do, because it is my lexicon, my marks, my passion and reality
Tamar Arbel Elisha
ART IS IMPORTANT
– Art stimulates creativity
– Creativity allows you to think ‘outside the box’
– Thinking outside the box stimulates creative problem solving
– Solving problems, whether culturally, politically or socially will enhance well-being
– Enhanced well-being creates healthier individuals
– Healthier individuals = a healthier society
– Healthier societies create a healthier, more peaceful world
THE WORLD NEEDS ART
Kim Blair http://kimblairartist.blogspot.com
The abstract forms by which I create has become MY VOICE.
I have culled elements from AFRICAN WOOD-CARVING & zinc-plate-ETCHING
to produce ON PAPER
A 3-dimensional form of expression….
Mine is a SPECIFIED ARTICULATION PURPOSED for the HARNESSING OF MYSTERY…
….it is through this consumate form of expression that I present to the world
my unique vision as an artist….
I DANCE A LINE
I INTONATE A TEXTURE
I RENDER COLOR & SHAPE
THOUGHT & FEEL….
I ENGENDER A NARRATIVE
….to BECKON a viewer
to TAKE PAUSE…..
NOT to hear what I have to say…
…but rather to AWAKEN what’s IN THEIR OWN
…..and ruminate THE RICHNESS that is
I create PLATFORMS by which others may glimpse an opportunity
TO SEE resonantly
the WEALTH & SPLENDOR that is in
their OWN WORLD…..
Anyone & Everyone that engages a work of art
brings to it THEIR OWN
set of PERSONAL EXPERIENCES…..
POINTS OF VIEW….
MENTAL-WIRING for BEAUTY…
and so I generate by virtue of my artforms…
a dynamic exchange….
…..by pulling from that UNIVERSAL MYSTERY
common to us all….
I bring to the surface…..
….into our physical world…..
a series of ENCAPSULATIONS…..
….for OTHERS to partake & gestate.
Some may “get” what I am saying….. some may not….
….but it is ONLY for me to produce the waters for others to drink…
….it is for THEM to AWAKEN TO THEMSELVES….
This is me….. BEING an artist…..
This is me…. UTTERING with the VOICE I’ve been given….
This is me participating as a GLOBAL CITIZEN
in this dance we call LIFE.
I am grateful to the Creator of this Universe
for endowing me with this gem of an expression….
…..for the harnessing of mystery…..
…..to ELICIT from others….
…the enriching nature that is
I’m an artist.
Making art is how I process this thing called being human.
I create in order to make sense of my world. I feel deeply through colors, forms, and abstract ideas.
You may think I’ve always been this way. Born as a creative, intuitive and expressive.
Yes, I was born that way like us all. And no, once I grew up I abandoned what was once my nature.
I adapted, contracted, and forgotten. I lived in fear, self-doubt, seeking for a life recognized and validated by others. I wanted to be liked and so I kept on pleasing.
The more I leaned on the outside the more empty I felt on the inside.
Till one day I realized there was no one home in this body. I wept and grieved for my misplaced soul and for the lonely home.
So I picked up the brush and I painted. I drew and drew for no one else but me.
I am done with abandoning ME.
I am done with waiting for someone to tell me “you are an artist”.
I am done with not being enough.
I am done with playing it safe and small.
I am done with the fear of becoming more of me.
I am done with self-denial.
I am done with distracting myself with fluff.
I’m committing to living.
I’m committing to expressing my humanness.
I’m committing to stepping towards the unknown.
Artists are those daring enough to challenge their fears.
Artists are those in the arena day and night.
Artists are truth seekers, adventurers who can’t let go of their fascination towards what’s possible.
They are doers, crafters, experimenters.
They never stop learning, growing, searching.
They show up not because they dare but because they are scared.
Yet ultimately they know the fear of NOT creating outweighs the fear of failing.
It’s not optimism that’s their ally. It’s disciplined courage. It’s showing up in the place that they ought to be.
I’m an artist.
It’s showing up in the place that they ought to be. At their desk, in the studio.
Starting anew each day regardless of how inspired or uninspired they feel.
Their role is to be the channel. And being available and open is half the battle. Building and letting go of expectation each step of the way.
Learning to protect the inner artist from self-judgement and self-sabotage. This is all part the work.
This is what it takes to show up everyday. Not talking about or around the work, but doing the work.
Not dwelling on yesterday or daydreaming on tomorrow, but being with today.
With this moment.
With a simple decision.
The difference between a hobbyist and an artist is in how serious they take their art. Not the finished result of their art, but the process of art-making.
It’s a decision of lifestyle.
It’s a drive to follow the heartbeat.
It’s an obsession with the mystery.
It’s all or nothing. It’s intense.
Yet there is no other way to live for the artist.
They must adventure.
They must learn by failing.
They must move forward.
And it is in the questing that they find the treasures they seek. The depth they longed to feel. The vision they imagined to see. The voices they knew they heard.
Urging them to express. To dream. To chase. To become one with their inner artist.
Because this body, this life, this moment is all we ever have.
So why wait. Why risk forgetting your truth?
Every moment is your call-to-action. Every moment is your call-to-action. So listen to the call and act. No more “if” and “should”s blocking your way give them a hug and send them away your calling is bigger than this.
You are infinitely expansive, creative and powerful. Like the force of creation.
So wonder on, let go, and create.
Follow the direction and let the universe unfold the rest.
Cindy Van Dine
Never in my wildest dreams did I think of myself as an “artist”, even though I have been making “art” for over 50 years of styling, cutting, and coloring hair.
I just had a different substrate and a willingness to please.
It is in that willingness to please, I lost my voice, but painting has allowed me to find it again.
Painting gives me solace and the courage to listen to that inner voice, to be able to express it on canvas or paper.
I’m learning to let go of needing validation from others, realizing God has made me a unique individual, capable of expressing herself without fear of being rejected or refuted.
For me, it’s the sensuousness of the paint, the texture of the paper or canvas, the tools to convey the ideas running around in my head, and being involved in the process, that calls to me on this new journey.
Lisa Anne Myers
Create everyday, even “ugly” paintings are sending you a message, be open to receive.
Finish a painting when you know it’s finished, not when someone else thinks so.
Value your opinion over everyone else’s, it’s your work, OWN IT!
Don’t look or wait for outside validation, Stay true to your vision.
Be Kind to all. You see the same faces going up, that you see coming down.
Relish your time in the studio.
Get out in nature, explore, open your eyes to new directions and perceptions.
Spend time socially with other artists, share, remember your were a beginner too.
Don’t obsess on finding your own style, experiment with all mediums.
Work in a series (Thanx Nancy Hillis) it’s a great fall back on those days when you lack a clear direction.
Start with a line or a mark and see where it takes you. (Thanx Durwood Zedd)
Always believe in yourself even when the small child inside you believes nothing.
Embrace being outrageous, be outraged by societies concept of what art is – Educate others.
Paint naked or clothed, bare yourself in your work.
No sale, award or good review will ever be as rewarding as that thrill of finishing a great piece.
Never feel envious of others success.
Never feel like you need to explain your work, not everyone will get it, just like everyone hasn’t gotten you throughout your life.
Create what your soul asks you to create.
Be the artist you know lives inside you.
Lisa Anne Myers
I publicly affirm I am sent by my Father to walk as a fiery torch of prophetic revelation in the earth through my art
My Identity as an artists as a child of God is a gift.
I realize I was created for greatness in the image of my Father!
The spirit of excellence, power and healing that resides in His very DNA resides in me to create.
The very creativity that dreamed and formed everything I know as life today is my inheritance in Christ.
Through my salvation in Him, I now have a new DNA that has been downloaded into the core of who you are as an artist
I am creating from a place of purity and praise in the shadow and protection of God’s presence.
I have been given an overflowing impartation of the living breath of God to create
God has brought me into His intimate presence to be sent as a divinely equipped prophetic artist
Through my art, I carry the authority of my Creator to explore the territory of my imagination.
My art moves me beyond distractions to reach for something deeper within me to my true expression
I have confidence in my experimenting, exploring, and risking.
I trust myself.
Creating my artwork pours out of me like water is moved from force into flow.
I am willing to answer my call to step into the unknown to create
I stepped into the sunlit fullness of revelation to become my true self, my creativity, my art.
I can do it.
My blog manifesto
I hesitated to paint today.
I did it anyway.
I went thru motions.
I pulled out my canvas and paints.
I knew not what I would create
I gave thanks to my muses.
I put in my earphones and pushed up volume
I heard Nutcracker Ballet.
It inspired me and I instead started to dance.
I danced as if I was a famous ballerina.
I pick up my brushes.
I felt they were an extension of me and the music.
I painted with freedom and desire and movement.
I was in the flow.
I smiled when done.
Thank you universe for this moment.
Thank you my inner self.
Thank you for letting me be me.
Linda M. Anderson
Love, hope and truth
I perceive Your beauty,
will I remember Your reality
when darkness falls all around?
I focus on Your presence
with brush in hand,
creating an image
that brings me back to You.
Linda M. Anderson
I am an artist
I’m meant to create- it’s in my DNA
I don’t need others to validate or affirm my art
I’m not trying to replicate the works of masters
I inspire others with my art
To live BIG and not play small
To take BOLD risks
To shake the world with the mark only they can make
It might be scary to express me fully, both as Artist and Business Woman.
I know it’s not conventional to talk about art and making money.
But I’m not conventional.
Here I am. Both.
Artist and Business Woman.
If I piss someone off in the process of being fully me, I’m okay with that now
I’m done with the concerns of pleasing others
I’m painting for myself
I’m exploring and experimenting
I’m expressing me fully
I show up in life. I paint. I earn money.
Every. Single. Day.
I don’t paint for the sole purpose of getting into galleries.
I don’t paint to win prizes.
I paint for another reason entirely.
I paint because I can’t not paint.
It’s something that I have to do.
I’m meant to paint BIG and BOLD
It’s a representation for how I show up in life
I inspire others to do the same
It doesn’t matter if my painting is good, bad or mediocre
I must still show up and paint
I validate myself and my work
My validation doesn’t come from others opinions
I am an artist because I am made in my creator’s image
Painting is a connection to the Divine
Creating my deepest work is my driving force
It takes balls, big (lady) balls to have the courage to do this work
I stand up for myself
And for the other creators
I’m listening to the calling of my own heart
I’m creating my work that only I can make
On my deathbed I will smile
Because I dared to declare that my mark matters
This is not a dress rehearsal. This is the Show.
I will not miss my purpose.
If these artist’s manifestos speak to you, leave a comment below. If you sent in a manifesto and don’t see it here, please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll include it here.
With gratitude from my studio to yours,
P.S. Want encouragement and inspiration for your studio practice? Grab a copy of book: The Artist’s Journey >>> HERE.
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