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What is art?: 25 quotes by famous artists and writers on art and culture

Art has both the power to destroy and create, distill and evolve. Now more than ever, the world needs art. Here's what 25 famous creative minds have to say about art and culture.

Two men look at art in an art exhibit.
What is art? 25 quotes by famous artists and writers on art and culture

What is the role of the artist today? There are many roles for an artist to fill. Among the noblest, the role of the artist and art in society is - through her tendency to see the world as it should be - to exert a constant force onto the world; a force that drives us all onward to a more just and aware society.

And even in its more humble roles, art is profound still - art inspires, makes us feel awe, brings us joy to understand what humans are capable of, it disturbs us, makes us cry, fills us with laughter; it validates the greatness of our humanity while reminding us of our smallness.

Art is what makes us human. Art can transform culture. Art can and has changed the world.

So, to the artist who is often working away in lonely obscurity, wondering if what they do matters as they pummel themselves with the harshest criticism, subjected to punishing vulnerability - the world now more than ever needs you and what you do.

The mantel of an artist lies weightily on your shoulders.

Now, look to some inspiration to fuel your creativity and passion for creative arts. Here are 25 quotes by famous artists and writers on art and culture. Please share and enjoy!


25 inspiring quotes on art and culture

“Art is a line around your thoughts.” – Gustav Klimt

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

“A picture is a poem without words” Horace

“The true use of art is, first, to cultivate the artist’s own spiritual nature.” – George Inness

“The principles of true art is not to portray, but to evoke.” – Jerzy Kosinski

“Painting is self-discovery. Every good artist paints what he is.”

Jackson Pollock

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

Edward Hopper

“Art is meant to disturb, science reassures.”
Georges Braque

“The chief enemy of creativity is ‘good’ sense.”

Pablo Picasso

“Where the spirit does not work with the hand, there is no art.”

Leonardo da Vinci

“Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.”

Scott Adams

“I shut my eyes in order to see.”

Paul Gauguin

“Whether you succeed or not is irrelevant, there is no such thing. Making your unknown known is the important thing.”

Georgia O’Keeffe

“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

“To be an artist, you need to exist in a world of silence.”

Louise Bourgeois

“Art is not a mirror to hold up to society, but a hammer with which to shape it.”

Leon Trotsky

“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.”

Pablo Picasso

“Art must destroy violence, only it can do it.”

Leo Tolstoy

“You don't write a novel out of sheer pity any more than you blow a safe out of a vague longing to be rich. A certain ruthlessness and a sense of alienation from society [are] as essential to creative writing as it is to armed robbery.”
Nelson Algren

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

Red Haircrow

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”

Maya Angelou

“You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.”

Ray Bradbury

“Fiction is the truth inside the lie.”

Stephen King

“After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.”

Philip Pullman

“The scariest moment is always just before you start.”

Stephen King



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