Using a standard questionnaire for every interview, Fig asked the painters to describe their daily routines, how they lay out their studios, what custom tools they use, and when they considered themselves professional artists. The result is a fascinating catalogue of the day-to-day activities, life experiences, and wisdom of 24 painters ranging from Chuck Close, Fred Tomaselli, and Julie Mehretu to Ryan McGinness, Amy Sillman, and Dana Schutz.
Here’s Ross Bleckner on his daily routine:
Then come five o’clock, it’s the physical hour [laughs], when I try to keep in shape. I got to the gym. I have a very steady schedule. I’ve had the same trainer for fifteen years… We go kayaking, biking, running, lifting weights — it is very important for me to do something regularly.
Then I go home and take a shower, cast around for someone to have dinner with. I usually go to one of the same three restaurants, and I am home by ten thirty. I like to be in bed, sleeping by eleven, maybe read a book or watch Charlie Rose.
I work seven days a week.
Mary Heilmann on becoming part of a community:
Chuck Close on deciding when to share your work with the world:
I had a very strong belief — I still do — that the act of going public is a very important decision. Everything you do from the point when you go public is part of the public record and is out there and you cannot get it back. Anything before the time when you go public is nobody’s business, and you don’t have to talk about it, you don’t have to show it, you’re not responsible, you can destroy it all, or whatever.But there is something about that decision, ‘OK, I think I can put my neck on the line for this work and I feel strongly enough about it that I will live with it however I feel about it later. This is now part of the public realm.’
Ryan McGinness on trying less and doing more:
Joan Snyder on sustaining a career as an artist:
When asked by The Morning News what common traits emerged across the various artists, Fig, who is himself a prolific artist, says:
An incredible resource for any student of the creative process, Inside the Painter’s Studio offers a clear-eyed perspective on what it really takes to make a career as an artist.
Fig currently has an exhibition based on the book up at MassArt in Boston through March 2, 2011.
99U’s “Creative’s Bookshelf” series highlights touchstone books for creative minds.