Art is inspiration, revelation, introspection, yes, but also it’s a painting, a photo, some words on a page: artifice by human hands. How much faith do we put in human hands? How reliable are we as narrators? Do any of us know what the fuck is going on?

(A wink and nod from artist to audience is present with each canvas and text, an implied disclaimer:OK, here’s what I think.)

Being an artist means being a creator, making something from nothing, or otherwise rearranging what’s already there to create something new and different. It’s pretty much that simple.

Living as an artist is not as simple—at least, when things like paying rent and buying food are concerns. I work full time and write on nights and weekends. Today, I put in my usual eleven-hour shift at work and here I am, writing, at nearly midnight. Artists will art, whether or not they have the time.

(I don’t know any well-rested artists. Nor do I know any who consider art a burden, either because they love what they do, or because coffee.)

The motivation of an artist hardly matters: whether private self-expressions or capital ventures, any new thing, however crass or commercial, is born from a creative impulse.

(Here I open wide the umbrella definition of ‘artist,’ if I’m to include myself and write about it with any illusion of authority.)

Artists needn’t be in tune with a sublime channel of understanding inaccessible to non-artists. Rather, art arises from a lack of understanding.

There exists an endless supply of questions about who we are and why we do the things we do, and these questions drive us. The place of an artist is holding up the mirror. Where else but in art can we see ourselves? And who but artists can show us how far we have to go?

Moshe Siegel

Moshe Siegel