Go into the Arts - a Kurt Vonnegut Quote

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by ME Super, Jul 7, 2012.

  1. ME Super

    ME Super Member

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    "Go into the arts. I'm not kidding. The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven's sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something."

    --Kurt Vonnegut

    Discuss...
     
  2. batwister

    batwister Member

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    The sentiment is great. But I'd like to know how he did make a living.
     
  3. Peter Schrager

    Peter Schrager Subscriber

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    batwister...it's called follow your heart. do what gives you the most pleasure and surely life will reward you!!
    Best, Peter
     
  4. coigach

    coigach Subscriber

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  5. Alan Klein

    Alan Klein Member

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    Well, I've been practicing my photo art for decades and haven't gotten any monetary rewards. But giving framed pictures or a DVD of pictures (slide show) to friends and family members have gotten me a lot of good feeling from their responses. Just giving it away gladdens my heart. Try it.
     
  6. batwister

    batwister Member

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    What about Gursky? I'm not sure what he's following...
     
  7. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    His bank account.
     
  8. jesterthejedi

    jesterthejedi Member

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    I gave away a print to a complete stranger at the top of the Santa Barbara Courthouse in May. It was the best part of my day. Ordinary people value art much more than galleries.
     
  9. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

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    the monet..at least 99cents.
     
  10. tron_

    tron_ Member

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    I like this quote, thanks for posting it. It seems like everyone wants a job they can sit and send emails at all day at the cost of the art world. Just recently I heard some engineers (I'm an engineer too so try not to give me shit for generalizing) say "we're engineers, we don't need art. Art is stupid" followed by laughter. Seriously made me cringe.
     
  11. ME Super

    ME Super Member

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    I'm an engineer by education too. By trade I'm a web developer. Analog photography gets me out from in front of the computer screen.
     
  12. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    Good for you that you cringed, it shows that you have a soul.
    I've heard "artistic" types say similar things about the so-called "hard sciences" - hard meaning things are well quantified, and bullshit is not an ingredient.
     
  13. tron_

    tron_ Member

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    It's funny because the math and physics majors I have met have in many cases been creative. I feel like they are special because I feel math and physics requires a level of abstract thinking that fuels creativity and on the other hand they have the hard science skills.

    Yes engineering is all mathematics but I feel like since it is so application based, there is little room for creativity since many places in private industry do not pioneer products, but simply make widgets to supply to the next tier of company.

    I think it's time I reconsider dropping this engineering Ph.D for a math Ph.D, I haven't had a conversation with this friend in quite some time now haha.
     
  14. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Vonnegut's quote resonates very heavily with how I view things. My main inspiration and motivation for practicing my art is simply this:
    To be able to, if only for a while, shut out the world while I try to make one single thing perfect.

    I often call my photography my 'insanity asylum', and that's exactly what it is. My every day life is filled with spread sheets, large building blueprints with bazillions of little details in them, computer screens, specifications, and on top of that I am a full time student. If I had no way to disconnect from that and do something completely different, something that's creative and soul satisfying, I would probably be mad. To have that passion and drive for something completely unrelated also helps me appreciate what I do for a living. It offers a balance in my life that would otherwise not be there. I don't care if I ever sell a print again, but it is very rewarding to see the reaction someone gets from a print I gifted them, a portrait of their child, or something along those lines. That level of sharing and affecting others is worth a lot to me.
     
  15. coigach

    coigach Subscriber

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    I totally agree. And the fact that the quote came from a serious jester like Vonnegut makes it all the better!

    There's definitely something in the idea of practicing art regularly. Making mistakes, fumbling onwards. (Just be ruthless with your editing before you show others :smile:). I'm a firm believer in learning by doing, and often creative cock-ups contain the germ of an idea that can result in something better, and often far from where you started from. It's also a good way of overcoming 'artistic-block' when the well is dry too. (Am currently suffering that affliction, so have taken a sideways turn from my usual b + w landscape photography the last few months into learning to print polymer photogravures, and setting myself the challenge of completing a small thematic series of colour, impressionistic out-of-focus photographs).

    Art, both making and being consumed by it, are as important for me as sleeping and food. Imagine a life without visual art, music or literature that doesn't change the way you think and feel?? Gulp.

    For me, art is brain and soul food rolled into one...
     
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  16. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    FWIW, I think that if you are analytic in nature (Degrees in Physics and Law here) but enjoy reading Kurt Vonnegut, you probably don't need the advice.
     
  17. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber

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