When Van Gogh was a young man in his early twenties, he was in London studying to be a clergyman. He had no thought of being an artist at all. he sat in his cheap little room writing a letter to his younger brother in Holland, whom he loved very much. He looked out his window at a watery twilight, a thin lampost, a star and he said in his letter something like this: it is so beautiful I must show you how it looks. And then on his cheap ruled note paper, he made the most beautiful, tender, little drawing of it. When I read this letter of Van Gogh's it comforted me very much and seemed to throw a clear light on the whole road of Art. Before, I thought that to produce a work of painting or literature, you scowled and thought long and ponderously and weighed everything solemnly and learned everything that all artists had ever done aforetime and what their influences and schools were and you were extremely careful about *design* and *balance* and getting *interesting planes* into your painting and avoided, with the most astringent severity, showing the faintest *acedemical* tendency and were strictly modern. And so on and so on.But the moment I read Van Gogh's letter I knew what art was and the creative impulse. It is a feeling of love and enthusiasm for something and in a direct, simple, passionate and true way, you try to show this beauty in things to others, by drawing it.And Van Gogh's little drawing on the cheap note paper was a work of art because he loved the sky and the frail lamppost against it so seriously that he made the drawing with the most exquisite conscientiousness and care.
Brenda Ueland
I see things in windows and I say to myself that I want them. I want them because I want to belong. I want to be liked by more people, I want to be held in higher regard than others. I want to feel valued, so I say to myself to watch certain shows. I watch certain shows on the television so I can participate in dialogues and conversations and debates with people who want the same things I want. I want to dress a certain way so certain groups of people are forced to be attracted to me. I want to do my hair a certain way with certain styling products and particular combs and methods so that I can fit in with the In-Crowd. I want to spend hours upon hours at the gym, stuffing my body with what scientists are calling 'superfoods', so that I can be loved and envied by everyone around me. I want to become an icon on someone's mantle. I want to work meaningless jobs so that I can fill my wallet and parentally-advised bank accounts with monetary potential. I want to believe what's on the news so that I can feel normal along with the rest of forever. I want to listen to the Top Ten on Q102 and roll my windows down so others can hear it and see that I am listening to it and enjoying it. I want to go to church every Sunday and pray every other day. I want to believe that what I do is for the promise of a peaceful afterlife. I want rewards for my 'good' deeds. I want acknowledgment and praise. And I want people to know that I put out that fire. I want people to know that I support the war effort. I want people to know that I volunteer to save lives. I want to be seen and heard and pointed at with love. I want to read my name in the history books during a future full of clones exactly like me. The mirror, I've noticed, is almost always positioned above the sink. Though the sink offers more depth than a mirror and mirror is only able to reflect, the sink is held in lower regard. Lower still is the toilet and thought it offers even more depth than the sink, we piss and shit in it. I want these kind of architectural details to be paralleled in my every day life. I want to care more about my reflection and less about my cleanliness. I want to be seen as someone who lives externally and never internally, unless I am able to lock the door behind me. I want these things, because if I didn. I would be nothing. I would be an example. Sunken and easily washed away.
Dave Matthes