Quotations about art, dance, music, poetry, creativity, painting, colour, courage, rebellion, freedom, expression and magic:

"An artist must never be a prisoner of himself, prisoner of a style, prisoner of a reputation, prisoner of success." - Henri Matisse

“I paint objects as I think them, not as I see them.” - Pablo Picasso

“Art is never finished, only abandoned.” - Leonardo da Vinci

"A real work of art destroys, in the consciousness of the receiver, the separation between himself and the art." ~ Leo Tolsoy


“A painter should begin every canvas with a wash of black, because all things in nature are dark except where exposed by the light.” - Leonardo da Vinci


“Every now and then go away, have a little relaxation, for when you come back to your work your judgment will be surer. Go some distance away because then the work appears smaller and more of it can be taken in at a glance and a lack of harmony and proportion is more readily seen.” - Leonardo da Vinci


“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” - Leonardo da Vinci

“The job of the artist is always to deepen the mystery.” - Francis Bacon

“The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.” - Sylvia Plath


"Don't be satisfied with stories, how things have gone with others. Unfold your own myth." - Jalaluddin Mevlana Rumi


“If I could say it in words there would be no reason to paint.” - Edward Hopper

“The first quality that is needed is audacity. There really is no time for the deliberate approach. We must not be too ambitious. We cannot aspire to masterpieces. We just content ourselves with a joy ride in a paintbox. And for this audacity is the only ticket.” - Winston Churchill

“When I get to heaven I mean to spend a considerable portion of my first million years in painting, and so get to the bottom of the subject.” - Winston Churchill

“Happy are the painters, for they shall never be lonely: light and colour, peace and hope will keep them company to the end – or almost to the end of the day.” - Winston Churchill


“Every good painter paints what he is.” - Jackson Pollock


“Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.” - Edgar Degas

“Everyone is an artist. Each person brings sound out of silence and coaxes the invisible to become visible.” - John O'Donohue



“Don’t think about making art, just get it done.  Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it.  While they are deciding, make even more art.” - Andy Warhol


“If a piece of art speaks to you it's priceless; if not, it's expensive.” - Anon.

“Creativity takes courage.” - Henri Matisse


“Have no fear of perfection, you'll never reach it.” - Salvador Dali

“Art is not a pasttime, but a priesthood.” - Jean Cocteau

“Colour is my day-long obsession, joy and torment.” - Claude Monet


“Instead of worrying about what you cannot control, shift your energy to what you can create.” - Roy T. Bennett

“At moments of great enthusiasm, it seems to me that noone in the world has ever made something this beautiful and important.” - M.C. Escher

“You can't use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” - Maya Angelou

“I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.” - Maya Angelou


“The holy grail is to spend less time making the picture than it takes people to look at it.” - Banksy

“Art is the only way to run away without leaving home.” - Twyla Tharp


“An artist cannot fail; it is a success to be one.” - Charles Horton Cooley


“The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.” - Aristotle


“Painting is just another way of keeping a diary.” - Pablo Picasso

“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.” - Dr Suess

“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.” - Lao Tzu


“There are painters who transform the sun into a yellow spot, but there are others who, thanks to their art and intelligence, transform a yellow spot into the sun.” - Pablo Picasso

“It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child.” - Pablo Picasso


“To practice any art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow. So do it.” - Kurt Vonnegut


“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.” - Pablo Picasso

"If you ask me what I came to do in this world, I, an artist, will answer you: I am here to live out loud.” - Émile Zola


"A painting is never finished - it simply stops in interesting places." - Paul Gardner

"The purpose of art is to take the senses on a journey back to the source of perception which is pure awareness." -Robert Spira


“Do not fear mistakes - there are none.” - Miles David

“Ignore all hatred and criticism. Live for what you create, and die protecting it.” - Lady Gaga

“Creativity is the greatest form of rebellion.” - Lady Gaga

“Art is life, life is art - the question is what came first?” - Lady Gaga

“Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.” - Pablo Picasso


“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.” - Thomas Merton


“I don't know where I'm going from here, but I promise it won't be boring.” - David Bowie

“Painting is but another word for feeling.” - John Constable


"You don't need eyes to see. You need vision." - Maxi Jazz


“The most valuable thing you can make is a mistake. You can't learn anything from being perfect.” - Adam Osborne


“I've learned so much from my mistakes, I'm thinking of making a few more.” - Anon.


“The master has failed more times than the beginner has even tried.” - Anon.

“The creative adult is the child who survived.” - Pablo Picasso


“Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.” - Johann W. von Goethe

“Beware of artists. They mix with all classes of society and are therefore the most dangerous.” - Actual poster from the mid-50s issued by Senator Joseph McCarthy at the height of the Red Scare and anti communist witch hunt in Washington. All artists were suspect.


"Art is what you leave out" - Anon.

“The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.” - Albert Einstein

“Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were, but without it we go nowhere.” - Carl Sagan


"A great artist can change the temperature of a room." - Anon.


“Magic becomes art when it has nothing to hide.” - Ben Okri


"You must have chaos within you to give birth to a dancing star." - Friedrich Nietzsche

Above: Artist Jasmine Kay Uy explores this universal tension in her piece "Art Is Pointless...," created for the University of Texas at Austin Department of Art and Art History. 2015.


“Dance above the surface of the world. Let your thoughts lift you into creativity that is not hampered by opinion.” - Red Haircrow

“Creativity is as important as literacy.” - Ken Robinson


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