Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Katsushika Hokusai

"From the time I was six, I was in the habit of sketching things I saw around me, and around the age of fifty, I began to work in earnest, producing numerous designs.  It was not until after my seventieth year, however, that I produced anything of significance.  At the age of seventy-three, I began to grasp the underlying structure of bird and animals, insects and fish, and the way trees and plants grow.  Thus, if I keep up my efforts, I will have an even better understanding when I am eighty, and by ninety will have penetrated to the heart of things.  At one hundred, I may reach a level of divine understanding, and if I live a decade beyond that, everything I paint --every dot and line -- will be alive.  I ask the god of longevity to grant me a life long enough to prove this true."
postscript to One Hundred Views of Mount Fuji (translated by Carol Morland)

Hokusai got it right, about the point of making art.  It's not about exhibiting.  It's not about making money.  It's not about someone else seeing it.  It's about the challenge Hokusai set for himself.  I discuss this more in my other blog.  By the way, Hokusai lived to 90 years of age.

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