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Jasper Johns Quotes

“Take an object. Do something to it. Do something else to it.”


“Art is much less important than life, but what a poor life without it.”


“To be an artist you have to give up everything, including the desire to be a good artist.”


“The mind is the limit. As long as the mind can envision the fact that you can do something, you can do it.”


“I’m interested in things that suggest the world rather than reproduce it.”

Jasper Johns Quotes

“One hopes for something resembling truth, some sense of life, even of grace, to flicker, at least, in the work.”


“I think that one wants from a painting a sense of life. The final suggestion, the final statement, has to be not a deliberate statement but a helpless statement. It has to be what you can’t avoid saying.”


“An object that is in front of you is different from an object that you have left behind.”


“Sometimes you don’t know where you’re going until you’ve gone too far.”


“Artists are mystics rather than rationalists. They leap to conclusions that logic cannot reach.”


“One cannot have too many connections with the past or the origins, which is why I am still working with symbols.”


“It’s not about what you see, but what you see when you’re looking at it.”


“I’m interested in things which suggest the world rather than reproduce it, and I’ve always wanted to make things which are difficult to describe.”

#4 (After Untitled 1975), 1976, Jasper Johns

“I prefer to let the art-making process lead me to a place that I didn’t know before.”


“I like the idea that a painting is an object rather than an image.”


“The goal, then, is not to repeat what I already know how to do, but rather to do what I do not know how to do.”


“I’m trying to find a way to make pictures that don’t involve some of the ways that pictures traditionally function.”


“The artist is not an interesting person. The interesting person is the one who is interested.”


“One must work with time and against time.”


“What one does is what counts and not what one had the intention of doing.”