“The artist is born in a family that has no idea what that person is. So you automatically get all kinds of pain…like they try to make you like they are.”
“The first day of kindergarten, my drawing was rejected by the teacher. Now I’ve studied a bit of child development, and I see that my drawing was at genius level, which the teacher wasn’t able to grasp. Not only did I not receive praise for a drawing that was important to me, but I was marginalized, punished. I knew that art was my life, but my teacher puts up everybody else’s work, but not mine.
It was a good thing, because I never trusted another teacher in my life, after that. Unless I found the knowledge on something that I know myself or believe that this is true, then I don’t take it in. I have to thank my teacher for setting me on my course of non-conventional acquisition of knowledge and of being in charge of the knowledge myself. I say that if Aristotle can’t be my teacher, then I have to teach myself”
“An aspect of my work that I am very passionate about is that my work is food for your inner life. I would go out and hope that I find something in the world that gives me nutrition for my inner life. But the contrary is often the case, where the “wisdom” of society thinks that it’s important to stamp out inner life, as quickly and a soon as possible and to emphasize and to educate our youth on how to operate in a world of the objective.”
“There is a classic distinctions between feelings and emotions. There are certain feelings that I have that I think are special, unusual, and valuable and I would like to give them to other people, but that’s not art. People are responsible for their own feelings. I am sure that there are other people who would like to share their feelings with me and for sure I am interested in the feelings of the people who are close to me, but generally speaking, art is about emotions.“
“You can see the difference between feelings and emotions in late Goya, where there is this waving between the world of feelings and the wave of emotions. He probably doesn’t even know, when he is making his work, that he is actually creating this extraordinary invisibility. In an artwork of course there is an accounting of the visible, but there is equally an accounting of the invisible.”
“One of the most important reason to have art in your life is renewal. At my age people hormonaly want to make a world. You’ve learned a world, you’ve destroyed a world and now it’s time to make a world. I have always intended to have a creative life my entire life, until the end. I have always thought that the end would be more interesting, more creative, I would get to what I want, but you are always on a kind of a wheel, where you have to escalate, art is not art unless you outdo yourself.”
“Part of my terrible childhood is that I am someone who cannot conquer certain feelings about myself”
I think this is the reason why man has invented art – because, for the health of society we have to invent a system that produces freedom. So the way it works is that the artist does something that the society would never do and then he slowly brings it in and there are always a few people who are excited by that. And then it starts, and it gets into galleries and magazines, and then that things comes into the world, and then the art historian come and they weave it into the world. And whatever is left, that is freedom.”
„Everything in life is drawing, if you want. Drawing is quintessential to knowing the self. Art that survives from one generation to the next is the art that actually carries something that tells society about self.”
„Most of us go through the world never seeing anything. Then you meet somebody, like Herb and Dorothy, who have eyes that see. Something goes from the eye to the soul without going through the brain.”
„In our culture, imitation-based experience dominates reality-based experience. I find this an awful thing. But there are artists who know from the bottom of their souls that art is about the experience of reality. The reason we have art is because you can’t get a real experience from the world.”
„Human experience is a constant struggle between the real and the unreal. Every moment you are faced with trying to work out an acceptable relationship between the two. Art is almost by definition a working out of real and unreal; that is its value. The world is a place where size issues need to be worked out, and this involves all kinds of quantitative issues, which can be expressed emotionally or physically, in relationships with other people, etc. But the relations between the real and the unreal are negotiated internally, where issues of scale come in.”
„One can distinguish between scale and size. Usually, we are happy with the issue of size—if it’s small, it’s small; if it’s big, it’s big. But scale is a question of the individual. Each person, everyone ever born, has a unique scale. They have it like a unique fingerprint. You can decide to find your scale. The day you find it is a day you remember. It changes your life. Your parents may determine your size, but you determine your scale. Your creative dimension allows you to create yourself in a more significant way than how you are created by your parents. Life offers each of us that possibility. It’s sad how few take it up.”
„Art is unreal; color is real. That’s why painting is so fascinating. Color is real when you paint, but paint is not real. Paint is one of the great inventions. It can transport you from this world to the next.”
„Our culture is anti-hand; it thinks it’s better to work with your head. Everybody aspires to go to college, so they don’t have to work with their hands, yet hands are a source of intelligence. You divorce yourself from a part of your intelligence without them.”
“The problem with language is to find the words in which we are sharing.”
“It’s a service to do the most with your life that you can do in the world. The job of the artist is to give people something to see, not to give them something to look at. You have to know the difference between looking and seeing.”
“I’d rather be a servant of art. My art is about exploring the physical world and the dimensional world. I love materials but the dream would be to make something on the spiritual side of things rather than the material side of things. If one hopes to shape the world we live in, unless we have access to spiritual ideas, we cannot hope to do more than work on the surface of where things are now.”
“When the work comes to a point, at that point should be freedom and not slavery. Most of us would rather be told what to do rather than to face freedom. I make art to introduce freedom into the society. A perceived artwork that tells you what to think or how to act is not helpful to society.”
„The truth is that art is taking care of me. I’m not in a position to take care of art.”
Tuttle says he writes down when he should be making something and emphasized the importance of creative rest because the creating can be difficult and taxing. He then writes down the time for creating. But his process, he admitted, involves contacting his angel or guardian spirits and submitting to do whatever they want him to do.
For Tuttle, sculpture must be satisfying from eight viewing points to provide 360 degrees of satisfaction. Describing his recent works as structured from frames and elements within frames with intentionally altered structures inviting the viewer inside to see the details and experience the dynamic inside of the work and then exterior points from which viewers are invited to stand back and take in the totality of the work. In Tuttle’s words, “the spaces inter-penetrate.” Some even extend metaphorically into the underworld via use of a long acute angle. For Tuttle, matter is then defined by penetrations of abstract space.
Richard Tuttle – Gallery