The importance of being open

pine and birch watercolour landscape by Susan Wellington

Preliminary gouache for painting. 2010

I was pondering  the art world and the world in general today while having my compulsive afternoon coffee. Since I went to art school 29 years ago the world’s changed dramatically. Then it was all about the art. At art school you absolutely were not taught anything that was remotely related to ‘business’ or in any way ‘practical’. Not only that but some of the lecturers were anti learning about art’s technical aspects. It was still the 60’s at my art school even though it was the early 80’s. Crazy!

It would have been great to learn to do murals. Or to learn about marketing which is now all you seem to do. All the lecturers were artists themselves so they probably didn’t think of it. Though I did love them anyway. And I learnt a lot from them, about being an artist in a spiritual sense, which I still think is the most important aspect.

Of course you had to be practical too because you had to earn money someway, so most of us earned it secretly doing something totally unrelated. And you never talked about it.  You asked each other how their work was going. Their art work that is. Nothing else was ever mentioned.  I wonder if these types of ideas are still in vogue. I doubt it!

I wished to go completely outside and to make a symbolic start for my enterprise of regenerating the life of humankind within the body of society and to prepare a positive future in this context.

Josephy Beuys


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