A Love Letter to Art, Or What it All Means to Me

I am writing a different kind of post today.  I generally try to write practical and helpful posts around the business of art. I love to give tips that might help artists and galleries be  just a little more successful. Today though, I want to step back from the business and write a short love note to art itself. I know that sounds a bit cheesy, but I’ve had occasion recently to think a little bit about my relationship to art, and I feel it is important to share a few of my thoughts. Being in the business, I sometimes find myself taking the art itself for granted, thinking of it all in terms of dollars and cents. It’s good to pause now and again to remind myself what it’s all about.

I love art. I could probably equally say, “I live art.” I spend every day of my life thinking about art, working with art, and communicating with artists and art lovers. Other than a brief stint moving furniture as a teenager, I’ve spent every working day of my life in the art industry.

Growing up with an artist father, my earliest memory is not a sight or a sound, it’s a smell – the smell of oil paint. I remember watching my dad hard at work in the studio and seeing landscapes, still-lifes, and florals magically taking shape and form on his easel. I marveled (and still do) at his ability to transform a canvas and paint it into a window of the world.

As a teenager, I went to work at Legacy Gallery, the Scottsdale, AZ gallery where my father was showing his work. There, I started to learn the business. In the beginning, I was working in the background doing the shipping and receiving, cleaning, installing artwork, but what an eye-opening experience it was to see art coming into the gallery and then seeing collectors fall in love with it and buy it.

My true love for art came in my early twenties, however, and I think I can even point to the exact moment when my passion for art began. I was working in the Jackson Hole location of  Legacy Gallery when the artist Harry Jackson called. It was a slow day in the gallery, before the summer season had begun, and I happened to pick up the phone. I ended up having an hour-long conversation with Jackson, and it’s a conversation that changed my life.

Jackson was, at the time, a cantankerous old artist creating western sculpture from his studio in Cody, Wyoming. If you don’t know Jackson’s work, that will give you the wrong impression of him. While Jackson was creating Western artwork, he was doing so with the sensibilities of an artist who had come of age with the Abstract Expressionist scene of 1950’s New York. He was friends with De Kooning and Pollock and knew all of the artists that ran in those circles. He studied with Hans Hofmann and Rufino Tamayo.

I wish I could remember the whole conversation (I would kill for a recording of it), but there are a few things I do remember clearly.

Jackson asked me if I had a degree in art history. I told him I had taken art history classes but didn’t have a degree in it.

“Good,” he said, “waste of time.” He went on to tell me I should teach myself about art history (he suggested I start with the Abrams book about Harry Jacskon!).

“I’m a boot-strappin’ sonofabitch”  he said, “everything I know about art and art history I learned because I wanted to learn it, not because some professor told me I had to.”

He encouraged me to study it all, from ancient Greek and Roman art, all the way through the abstract expressionists (he didn’t seem to have too high an opinion of pop or postmodern art).

Jackson also explained some of his pieces to me, and even now, one of my favorite works of art of all time is his piece “Cosmos”.

To this day, I’m not sure why he would have spent an hour on the phone with a kid he had never even met (I did get to meet him once a few years later), but I’m grateful he did.

Cosmos by Harry Jackson | Photo: Buffalo Bill Historical Center
Cosmos by Harry Jackson | Photo: Buffalo Bill Historical Center


From that day, I became a serious student of art, even though my study has always been autodidactic. I’ve read dozens (hundreds?) of biographies on a wide variety of artists – everyone from Gauguin to Warhol. I’ve spent years studying Ancient Greece  and Rome (not only their art, but also their literature and civilization). Once I started knowing the artists, my appetite to see their artwork became almost insatiable. I can’t travel without visiting museums and galleries.

Some of the deepest, most transcendent  experiences of my life have occurred as I’ve taken in great works of art. I’ve come to love the technical aspects of the art and the craft involved in creating it. Ever more, though, is my love of an artist’s ability to communicate with me.

AtlantaHighMuseumI remember wondering, as a child, if other people saw the world the same way I do. Is the red I see the same red you see? Well art has answered that question. Through art I can see that we all experience the world in different ways, and see different things. Art allows me to  see and understand the world from another perspective.

I am also amazed by the proximity artwork gives me to human history. I’ll often stand in front of a Greek statue and feel the electricity of knowing an artist, a fellow human, is reaching across time and space to talk to me. I’ll feel that same wonder as I stand in front of a Van Gogh and realize that those brush strokes, mere inches in front of me, were put there by the hand of  the great artist. How lucky I am to be able to experience the art!

A Few Things I’ve Learned About my Love for Art

As my love for art has grown, I’ve come to several conclusions about my appreciation for art. First, I’ve decided I don’t have to limit my love for art to one style or period. I can love realism, abstract, pop art and every other style without my love for any one of them diminishing because of the breadth of my interest. I can love Cowboy art and Contemporary and my head won’t explode.

I’ve also learned to enjoy the unexpected. It’s easy, when I’m visiting a museum, to focus only on those artists that I know something about – the big name artists. While I certainly love seeing the famous pieces, I also love visiting museum’s regional art collections, or seeing a show of contemporary work. I also love visiting various shows around the country to discover the art of currently-working artists. Sometimes I’m scouting work for the gallery, but often I try to stroll a show looking through the eyes of an art lover.

I’ve learned to love the transformative power of artwork. It’s a real kick to deliver artwork to a buyer’s home and see how that artwork dramatically changes the atmosphere of that home. It’s equally amazing to see how the home changes the art. There are times when it ends up not working at all, but there are also times when the combination is incredible and you can almost feel everyone’s breath taken away as the artwork finds its home.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI love how artists still have the ability to surprise, delight, and, sometimes, shock. As a civilization, we’ve been creating art for thousands, even tens of thousands, of years. You might think that we’ve seen it all. You’d be wrong. Though art is certainly an evolving on a continuum, the artist’s vision seems never to tire of innovation. Even subjects that have been well-covered over the millennia can appear fresh and new as an artist brings new perspective, insight and technique to bear on them.

Finally, I’ve learned that it’s impossible to separate the artist from the art, and for that reason, I love getting to know the artists. I  love reading about the great artists, but, even more, I love meeting living artists and seeing what they are doing. I love talking to them about their lives and work. I like to think that by doing so, I’m seeing art history take shape, and maybe, I even get to be a small part of it.

So, I guess I’m a pretty lucky guy. I get to spend my days surrounded by amazing art, or out discovering it, and I get to rub shoulders with some of the most fascinating people in the world. If I do my job well, I help keep it going and get to be a part of it. Life is amazing!

Now . . . back to work!

What Does Art Mean To You?

How did you fall in love with art? How has art impacted your life? Share your thoughts and feelings about art, and your feedback about this article in the comments below.


About the Author: Jason Horejs

Jason Horejs is the Owner of Xanadu Gallery, author of best selling books "Starving" to Successful & How to Sell Art , publisher of reddotblog.com, and founder of the Art Business Academy. Jason has helped thousands of artists prepare themselves to more effectively market their work, build relationships with galleries and collectors, and turn their artistic passion into a viable business.


  1. Jason, once again you have given back to the art community. Thank you. I love reading your articles that reveal your inner thoughts (I like your other ones as well, but these stand out ). You give us inspiration.

    As I was reading this, I kept wondering, “What is his creative outlet?” It must be writing, am I correct? Or do you create via an additional medium?

    Here is perhaps an odd way to answer your question, “What does art mean to you?” Whenever I enter a corporate office or a home with blank walls, I feel perplexed and disturbed. I wonder how these people can live without art on their walls! I cannot imagine living or working in such a space. It saddens me.
    (PS I know these are potential opportunities to educate.)

  2. Thanks for the lovely article. I recently visited the Rothko Chapel in Houston, Texas and had my first “wow” experience with art. Walking into the chapel for the first time I was overwhelmed with emotions. I suddenly felt what Rothko must have been feeling.

  3. How has art affected me? That is a loaded question and my answer might depress some people, but for me it saved me from depression and feeling isolated from the world. I journeyed back into art about 4 years ago when my youngest daughter gave me a supply of brushes, paints, canvas and everything else I would need for Mother’s day and told me “You need to start painting again because you will miss me when I leave for college” (she was a junior in high school). During this time I was also undergoing testing to find out why I was in pain all the time. Since then, I found a mentor for painting, one for sculpture, one for pottery and a couple for photography. I have learned that I have a passion for learning and doing different kinds of art. Lately, I have been working with reclaimed materials to turn them into mixed media pieces, some that have sold before they are finished and some as soon as they are hung. I use art as a healing tool and I tell people that art heals and I share my journey with them as they look at the scars that are visible on my hands and arms. As I am writing this reply (sorry if it seems to meander around), I am recovering from my tenth surgery since the time I received my gift due to having an extremely aggressive form of RA. Without art, I think I would have gone into despair by now, but it has become my saving grace and brings a smile to my face, especially when I stand back and look at completed pieces that I see others admiring. So my main feeling about art, whether it is mine or others is that it gives me a sense of purpose, a great joy to look at and absorb and it truly heals the body and soul.

  4. Jason, So good to hear your passion in this. We share the childhood memory of the oil paints – probably actually the linseed oil – though mine were the ‘paint by numbers’ I had as a child. To this day it has a calming effect on me. I was also inspired by the ‘foot and mouth painters’ calendars, thinking that if people could paint without using their hands, there was no reason I couldn’t learn to paint. This was how I fell in love with art.
    Coming back to art in my 30s occurred as an epiphany. Within a couple years I was painting primarily skyscapes; it wasn’t until my mother gave me a photo of myself at about 4, painting at my easel, that I realized all my childhood paintings were that way – big huge sky and tiny mountains. I had just needed to wait until I had matured enough to really be able to create what had been in me all along. Then also I was in the right place to make a career out of it. It has impacted my life by becoming something I can do every day without it seeming like work. Yes, even the business side of it!!!

  5. You are absokutely correct…i, too, fell in love with art with the first whiff of turpentine and linseed oil. I was a fourth grader in the hospital for surgery due to an accident. I dont remember who gave me a paint bynumbers set but i remember everything else about it. It took many years to arrange my life to paint every day. And i feel so blessed to have that privilege.

  6. Dear Jason,
    I was so moved to read your “Love of Art” article. Yes, Art is truly a lifestyle and
    you have been given one of God’s greatest gifts. Checking your blogs for sometime I’ve
    come away feeling that you are a true humanitarian and champion of the arts. Thank you.

  7. I laughed at Jeni’s memory of paint by numbers….I too did a lot of that as a child..I was fascinated with all those little spots…but I was such a rebel….if a number 2 was blue, I wanted to see what would happen if all the number 2’x were yellow instead…the beginning of my life as a non-objective artist! I learned all the traditional stuff in school then took a hiatus to raise my 3 sons, but your art is like an old friend, waiting at the edges of you life for you to get back together. It affects everything you do and think and feel. I tried to explain to my patient husband one time how I see things differently that the “normal” person…he sees a tree and a hill and sky…I see dark and light, then shapes and edges and then I see it is a tree and a hill and sky. I don’t know if this is training or just a different perception but artists definitely have special sight.
    We are stuck with this affliction or addiction or whatever you call it, I know no other way and cannot imagine what people do when they retire if they are not artists.

  8. Thank you Jason, Well said! The hunger to know more about the artist calling and how it weaves a magic in a person’s life is truly God given. I never understood Pollock for instance until I stood before his 25 ft painting at the University of Iowa museum. In Taos sitting in the Agnes Martin room at the Harwood Museum filled me with peace. To create is a blessing that I discovered later in life when I discovered art with artist in residence of the Des Moines Art Center Museum. At 73 i’m still creating with a quest to know more.

  9. I had thee fortuitous good fortune of reading Andrew Graham-Dixon’s Caravaggio: A Life Sacred + Profane + he was leading a trip to Florence + Tuscany to see some of the amazing Art + Architecture. That trip didn’t materialize but I decided Florence was a place I had to see! Unreal from The Uffizi, Pitti Palace, Palazzo Vecchio (where I scooped Jeff Koons nametag) to Michelangelo’s David to The Medici Dynasty Chapel + The Domo – an endless stream of Art Greatness all within easy walking distance. Thee Art Trip of a Lifetime! I had to buy an extra suitcase just to haul home all the books incl Carlo Dolci in Italian. (whilst searching for that book I came across the Xanadu Art Catalogue which had my piece in) 1 more thrill was commandeering a Maserati Ghibli outside the Florence Biennial International Art Fair to the Four Seasons Hotel + their Ugo Riva Sculpture Garden for Tiramisu + Stolichnya. Oh yeah + Divine Beauty f. Van Gogh + Chagall + Fontana. + Dali meets Dante. + Adi Da Samraj… Cheers! Art Lovers!! Billy

  10. “I’ll often stand in front of a Greek statue and feel the electricity of knowing an artist, a fellow human, is reaching across time and space to talk to me.”
    Interesting you should word it that way because this is exactly the feeling that is evoked in me when I’m photographing prehistoric petroglyphs and pictographs. Experiencing these age-old messages inspires a sense of communion with the ancients who created them:

  11. Thank you for sharing this article of yours. It’s very inspiring to me. Just when I”be been toying with finishing off my degree in fine art, your article came along. I agree with your conversation of learning art because you want to yourself, not because someone’s telling you to do so. Starting from the ground up taught you so much more than any art class. You would meet and see the real thing in motion.

    Thanks again.

  12. This article and the replies evoked a lot of memories. As a child I was given a paint by number kit. But I hated the colors and the brush was pretty crappy so it was a frustrating experience. It was probably a kit for an adult but at 7 I probably didn’t have the dexterity for it. But I loved anything-clothes, a fresh box of crayons, whatever, that had the spectrum of colors or something approximating that. They say that a smell is one of the most powerful to evoke memories. I absolutely love the smell of oil paint! My mom was really unhappy but oil painting always brought her pleasure and put her in a good mood. So I fall in love when I walk into a gallery and smell oil paint. The most astounding exhibition for me was in the early 70s. The Detroit Institute of the Arts had an astounding exhibition of Impressionist paintings from the Hermitage in St. Petersburg (then Leningrad). It was the first time I understood how color changed a painting from up close to distance. Up until then I’d been a little afraid of color, but now I was totally excited!

  13. Thanks Jason for sharing your story and yes, you are a “lucky Guy”. I also grew up with a father artist and cannot imaging living without art. please continue with your wonderful and inspiring work to promote the arts through your work.

  14. I could write volumes about my thoughts on reading your piece. How lucky the artist is to have a champion of your caliber.
    But the only thing I’ll write is my surprise at your inner question: Do you see red the same way I see red. A question I’ve pondered more times than I can say. Was so delighted to see this in the written word.
    When I wondered the same in years past, I thought I might have mental issues. If so, I’m in the best of company.
    Thank you for a truly uplifting piece.

  15. Jason, I love this article. I totally agree with Harry Jackson about art history education. It was required as part of my studies as an undergrad and it was such a chore. Then, 30 years later, I chose to take Art History 2 as an elective because I had traveled quite a lot and wanted to know more about what I had seen and experienced. I loved the class and watched as the younger students who didn’t have a choice struggle with it. It was pure joy for me. I am as much of a student of all kinds of art and artists as I am an artist myself. I love it all. I have been fortunate to visit all of the world’s larger and famous art museums and many of the lesser ones. What an amazing adventure! Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings with us.

  16. I have always created. As a child my mother supplied me with plenty of paper and mark makers. I too remember the paint by number creations! Then I had a falling out with my dad. The argument was bitter and I lost. I went to university to become a lawyer… (didn’t manage it!) Art deteriorated into a love/hate relationship for many years and I was miserable. Along came my wonderful husband. He recognized my passion and the source of my misery. Several therapists later I finally let go and moved on. I am a late bloomer but I have never been happier. Recently I have moved into full-time. I delight in every minute. Life is so good.

  17. For me life is about art, nothing else matters. Been doing it since I was 8 and started to sell at 16. Been making a great living no matter what phase of my life I was going through.
    So to me making art is without any hesitation the most profound and blissful moments of my life. Everything else is about creating the time and space ( inner and outer) to paint. My understanding is clear. Without any training I’ve always put my whole attention in making art to the point where I don’t feel I’m doing anything. With loud music and good strong cup of coffee I immediately Jump into that world of uncertainty where I’ve learned to let go and let the universal creative energy take over. Because it’s really not my work my paintings touch people heart when least expected. At 75 with 2 large galleries and studios and a staff of 14 all I do is make art paintings and currently painted steel sculpture.
    Every single advice that you have shared is absolutely 100% correct . I have shared your red dot wisdom with my sales staff and hundreds of artists.
    But I’m overjoyed to read your latest words about what art means to you. I’ve been wanting to know that. Your selfless attitude about sharing the secrets of making a life with art has never been taught in any art schools. You have helped thousands to overcome their fears.
    Your obvious philosophy that you never loose when you give has rewarded you with success and abundance that is felt when I read your blogs.
    Here’s my favorite quote ” Paint as if your life depended on it
    With deep thanks and congratulations!

  18. Jason, the art world is still new to me it’s only after a trip to the Uk that I really found out what I was missing, I went to a Lowry exhibition at the Tate, I was speechless it’s difficult to explain to people who take art galleries, museums, art fairs, exhibitions etc for granted, we Thais simply don’t have them as you do in the West.

    I soak up art on the internet I can spend hours on my iPad I dream sometimes I was back in London walking down a road full of beautiful art galleries.

    I’m learning more and more every day and everyday my thinking is changing, I have some of my work going to an exhibition in London in the Spring of next year, I won’t be able to be there, I can’t afford the air fares and hotel costs, but I will be there spirit.

    BTW Jason, I own you an apology re one of your recent blogs re consistency, I was wrong in disagreeing with you, I gave the matter a lot of thought and finally the light switched on and now I understand what you were saying. As I say I’m still learning and I know I have a mountain to climb. Ta.

  19. Wonderful post, thank you for writing it. I have recently taken up my art seriously, for the first time since I was doing A level and went to study Psychology because I didn’t think I was good enough to do art. Family artists had suffered poverty so I don’t think that my parents felt it was a career choice, more a hobby. So what does it mean to me? It’s a time when I am totally involved in creation, liberating and yet focussed at the same time.

  20. I have always created art. In elementary school, I wrote my reports AFTER illustrating them. It becomes alive for me when I create it in art. My life is meant to create. I love visiting art galleries and museums when I travel. I find it best when I do so alone, so there is no one to tell me when my time in front of any art work needs to end. Certain art has me enthralled and examining it for long periods of time. I enjoy buying art that others have created. The walls of my house are covered with colorful art and the best pieces are from people I know or have met. I need art in my life and need to create it in my life.

    1. I go to museums with friends but I too prefer to do the looking by myself. Once in a while I might comment on something but for the most part I do my looking solo. Friends seem to understand and most probably prefer to look solo also. And, we can always talk about it after over lunch.

  21. A thoughtful and articulate article Jason. Excuse my ignorance, but I have a question, do you not have an artistic discipline yourself? If not, perhaps it is time for you to begin your journey.

    1. I consider the design and display of the gallery to be my artform. More importantly, my deep love and appreciation of art and artists comes from experiencing art. I don’t feel the same avocation to create that artists do, and I feel my position as a lover, not a creator, puts me in a better positions as an art dealer.

  22. Jason, what a wonderful article! Your passion and love for art, above and way beyond the monetary aspect, is so apparent in everything you share with us, the population of artists that listen and learn from what you put out there for us. For me, the love of the visual has always been present; and as an artist, what has become apparent is the absolute necessity for me to express this on canvas – it is what grounds me even when life is swirling crazily around me.

  23. I really enjoyed this article… I still think about our differences in perception (why do we all wonder about red?). I love the experience of seeing the impact a work has in person beyond what you can get from an image of it. I love just sitting quietly in front of one piece for hours in attentive meditation. And I love the way I lose all sense of self and time while I work.

    As far as I’m concerned, the only true necessities of life are food, shelter, and art.

    (BTW, I include music and literature within the realm of art… Can’t make do without those..)

  24. Well written article, Jason. Good job on revealing your love of art. Four semesters of art history in college opened up a whole new world to me. Visiting art museums is always on my list when I visit other places. I can still recall with pleasure standing in front of a wonderful piece of art and having to sit down because I was so awed.

  25. I have loved art ever since I was a little girl. I remember my first piece that I saw, it was a desert scene that my father drew with colored chalk on brown paper. It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. Since that time I have immersed myself in art. Mostly from a viewer’s perspective until I found I could express myself with my own artistic abilities. To me art is alive in a way that nothing else is.

  26. How did I fall in love with art? As a child I also loved doing paint by numbers and using coloring books. We were not brought up with an appreciation of art but there is something in my bones that always loved it. One of my brothers is an amazing artist so I think it is in our genes somewhere. My appreciation of art has been an evolving process over my lifetime. I saw an exhibition of Monet’s work at the Royal Academy many years ago and that was a turning point for me. Looking at the work I felt enveloped in his art in a way I had never felt before. I was so entranced that when I exited the exhibition everything outside felt an assault on my senses. I wanted to stay in this world Monet had created with his work. Since then I find it difficult to visit multiple artists in an exhibition, I much prefer one artist shows so I can absorb their work on a number of levels. The impact art has had on my life is too big a question to answer succinctly here. I remember someone once saying ‘a culture that stops baking its own bread dies’ I believe that a culture that stops producing art will go the same way. Art allows us to express so much about the human condition, it allows us to feel the relationship between ourselves, nature, and between each other. I get lost in art, producing it and looking at it. I loved this article, so much of it resonated with me. I too visit galleries wherever we go and have been lucky enough to see some amazing work such as the Zimbabwe sculptures when they were shown in the botanical gardens in Cape Town. Vienna has some amazing galleries and London of course gives me so many opportunities to access amazing art. On the other hand, I love the small galleries in the UK and the USA where local artists like myself can exhibit and share their art. These often give me ‘surprises’ and I am regularly in awe of the talent that is out there. I feel so blessed to be able to immerse myself in the world of art and am encouraging the next generation in our family to do the same Thank you for sharing your journey and love of art Jason.

  27. Hi Jason,
    I know for sure that I can’t beat your love for art. But I’m going to try.
    To the Master :),
    So, I’m pasting this post that I wrote on Facebook on September 8th after seeing my classmate/friend Velu posted pictures of Yercaud.
    I love and miss you Yercaud. I was young, married with small children, still every time I climbed up and down the 19 hairpin bends, the waterfalls, the tall beautiful silver oak trees trying to give shade to miles of coffee beds, never hesitated to adore me and I in turn tried to swallow everything that was there through my eyes. I still remember the Bison standing in the middle of the road and one time the big python crossing and we had to quietly shut of the car and wait for them to cross every single time we encountered incidents like this. It was nerve chilling.
    You always keep reminding the painter in me. Every time I look outside the car windows and see the deep forest down there when turning in the hairpin bends, I regretted how much I could not paint and my hands were tied. How much a family and the culture of arranged marriage can bog down your dreams and passion.
    I still remember climbing and sitting behind the big piles of extended rocks behind my backyard for a little sun that shows up only for a very few weeks in May and trying to dry my lentils, while picking various decorative plant leaves to fix my flower vase. Later watching every single day, waiting for the big Jack fruits to ripe from the three big Jack fruit trees that were sitting on the sloppy slippery rocks. I think this abundant love for nature kept me going in spite of lots things that were going in and around me. I still survive. May be that why all artist take so much risks, no matter what, to continue doing what they do, in spite of the obstacles that they face on the way to happiness. It does not matter what you paint as long as you paint. A big shout to all artists out there!!
    It’s not the life I miss, it is you, I miss, who I nurtured inside of and cried out loudly , that I argued with my dad and fought with my brother, just to go to art school to become a painter than to get a grad degree and make money.
    Here I come very soon my dear Yercaud. Working on my paintings, one by one, like a little girl picking a pebble in the beach , collecting my paintings , so I can show , what you have given me to the world.
    Thank you Thanigaivel Subramanium for bringing back my old memories of the most important reason, I was even there. Thank you!!

  28. It’s been fun to read the amazing journeys of so many people in the art world. I don’t remember a time when drawing and painting weren’t a part of my life, yet I do remember times when the muse eluded me. I’ve been teaching art for the last 19 years, and while I’m able to “dabble” and dream and paint when my students paint (who range in age from 10 to 12 years), I yearn for the day when I am able to draw and paint and dream full-time. Thank you, Jason, for sharing.

  29. HI Jason . This is a fantastic post . As a child my mother took art classes and became quite proficient at oils and pastels so I also grew up with the smell of linseed and turps. I begged one Christmas for a paint by number of a horse and to my utter delight received it. I was in a quandry as to what to do with the left over paint and settled for painting our cat at his dish. I still have that painting . My mom encouraged my creativity a lot but I wasn’t encouraged to pursue it as a living . I have soldmany pieces and now that I am retired I continue to experiment and improve

  30. Dear Jason,
    I really appreciated your writing and your approach to many dimensions of art and artists. A lot of energy goes into a piece of art. I notice when I take my paintings down there is a blank space on the wall, the energy gone. A lot of personal energy goes into a work of art then it takes on a life of its own. it really does have a strong influence on its environment. I can really feel your love for Art in your eloquent expression. I look forward to hearing you on the mentorship session tomorrow.

  31. I like looking at art for various reasons. Art may amuse as well as inspire me. I try and expose myself to art of all sort – from movies to music to visual art to theatre and comedy. I never know where or what will be the spark to inspire me.

    On October 25, 1951 Jack Kerouac developed spontaneous prose after an October 21 conversation with architect Ed White. (Edward Divine White Jr.) White told Kerouac he should make use of a technique he was doing with his painting. White would do spontaneous street painting just like a street photog does their spontaneous photography.

    Warhol heard about the death of Marilyn Monroe on the radio. That inspired his serigraphs series of Marilyn. This just underscores how almost every art can share common tools for creativity -writer, painter, sculptor, poet, choreographer, musician, photog…our art is how we make sense of our world.

  32. What a heart felt, rich view of how much you love art. I LOVE being in front of a great work of art, and an ordinary one, from all the art movements too. There is some kind of magic in all of them. Some say the great art comes from a higher mind, the superconscious mind. That is why great art is so mysterious and deep. A profound moment is also found in a child’s drawing, as they both come from the same place!! More mundane art has it’s pedestrian charms, and some have a sense of humor reminding us all not to take ourselves too seriously….The Cosmos sculpture is funny, multicolored cows flying in every direction can remind us of some of days….the ones that get away from us!! Great article Jason!

  33. Thanks for that great post, Jason. I grew up in a house full of art. My mother is an artist, and my father was a great supporter of the arts. I have a BA degree in fine arts, and started buying art when I was in my twenties. Now, years later, many of my friends are artists, and my relationship to my own art has matured; supporting young local artists is important to me. Most of the art on my walls was made by my friends and colleagues. When I visit an artist’s home for the first time, I am often amazed to see that the artist has only his or her work on display. I guess that not all artists are art lovers.

  34. Art crossed me over to the light from a very dark place, during difficult personal loss. Transformation began and the process of making art filled my world with purpose, filled me with joy that I can now share with others. The best compliment re my art making was early in my journey. A woman purchased a piece that she said made her smile for the first time since her husband died. How blessed am I to have so much joy and satisfaction in the “process of makimg art” which then could possibly manifest joy for someone else’s life.

  35. Hi Jason. What a wonderful essay on love and passion. Art is my passion. It brings me joy and challenges my brain. I paint and draw and read what other artists say. When I teach young artists I tell them how much I wish for them to find their passion and how they can express it. Life without passion isn’t really living.

  36. I so share this article with you Jason from the artist point of view. I am reminded of my senior year in art school at age 51 and my thesis professor following me down the hall as I was tenaciously fighting a technical Interior Design problem. He said, “that’s because you are an artist”. I said, “a what?”
    The rest is history and now, and since, at 76 I am working full time as an artist in the atmospheric marine world I live in on the Jersey Coast. What I know best. I support myself and teach and cannot imagine the world without art on all levels. We are indeed lucky! And we work hard for it too:) katie

  37. Jason: I don’t know when I started “loving” art. I know I’ve loved creating it as far back as I can remember, as a child, so I assume I’ve always loved it. But what has prompted me to reply (for the first time, and I have been a subscriber for a few years) is your story about Harry Jackson. He is the reason I finally could fully admit to being an artist.
    Several years ago I attended the Arts For The Parks show near Jackson Hole. At the museum there they had a huge painting by Jackson that blew me away. I was familiar with his bronzes, which I liked, but didn’t know he was a painter. I asked about and was told his studio was in Cody, so headed to Cody hoping to see more of his work. This was a Sunday, and by the time I found out where his studio was and got there it was about 5 pm. There were no cars parked there, so I was sure he was closed, if indeed he actually allowed the public into his studio, but I got out knocked on the door in hopes he would allow me to view his work. No one answered, so I returned to my car and just as I was starting the engine in pulls an old beater car with an old man in it. He gets out comes over. leans down to the window and asks me if he can help me. I said I hope so, I’ve come all the way down here from Alaska hoping to meet Harry Jackson and see some of his original artwork. (Note: the fact I am from Alaska is almost always an ice breaker). He immediately asked me if I was an artist. I said, ” I am trying to be”. He said, “Son, you are either an artist, or you’re not an artist, there is no in-between.” I said, “Well then, I’m an artist.”
    That was the moment I stopped telling friends and relatives I was “trying to become an artist.”
    He invited me into his studio and spent the next couple of hours giving me a tour and history of his life. What a magic moment it was for me. If you were ever in his “studio” you know it was more of a museum of his art than a studio. He not only was a member of the group of artists you mentioned, he actually was a roommate with Jackson Pollock for awhile. And after he returned his transformational trip to Europe, having shunned the abstract and other contemporary “movements” and exhibited his realistic “mafia” paintings Life magazine gave him the biggest spread they had ever given a living artist.
    By the way, I did not sense a “gruff” personality. He was extremely kind and encouraging to me. Wish I could have worked alongside of him in Italy.

  38. Great Post from the heart! Jason, it’s the fabric of my being and the more it’s fueled the flame grows larger. Thankfully, my husband tolerates much
    And enjoys plenty. Addictive. Curious and learning to see all the time. Love your blog.

  39. I remember doing crafts with my mother she love to do plaster work. I always helped her paint them. I would paint on anything I painted a tree on a old piece of wood and I remember my mother being so surprised at how good it was. Lol….just as a lot of people I had life to live raising a child working but I always had an outlet for my art, christmas decorations making cloth dolls,always something. I am now getting close to retirement and have been painting and exploring diffrent mediums am falling in love with mixed media…..will I ever sell any thing? Who knows, but the joy it gives me is worth more than all the gold in the world.

  40. Ok, I know I’m a little late in reading (only by a year or so), but Jason this is timeless. Love to read here from a gallery-owner’s point of view that the heart is just as important as the nuts and bolts.
    Completely agree about the eclectic tastes. Only thing I could add is the creative component is necessary for me. When I stop painting for a bit, I turn into an irritable beast. So for my own sake and the sake if those around me, I keep going.
    Thank you for all you do for artists!

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