300+ Inspiring Art Quotes From Famous People
Great art is truly inspiring and there have been literally thousands of quotes about art and creativity for hundreds of years. Here are the best of the best:
Art is the concrete representation of our most subtle feelings.
My paintings are not about what is seen – It’s like looking at a bed of flowers, you don’t tear your hair out over what it means.
The main thing in making art often is letting go of your expectation and your idea.
Artists are just children who refuse to put down their crayons.
A true masterpiece does not tell everything.
It would be possible to describe everything scientifically, but it would make no sense; it would be without meaning, as if you described a Beethoven symphony as a variation of wave pressure.
Creativity is intelligence having fun.
Art is standing with one hand extended into the universe and one hand extended into the world, and letting ourselves be a conduit for passing energy.
The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious – It is the source of all true art and science.
Creativity is contagious – Pass it on.
Art is the expression of the profoundest thoughts in the simplest way.
Feeling and longing are the motive forces behind all human endeavor and human creations.
In art, and in the higher ranges of science, there is a feeling of harmony which underlies all endeavor – There is no true greatness in art or science without that sense of harmony.
One of the strongest motives that lead men to art and science is escape from everyday life with its painful crudity and hopeless dreariness, from the fetters of one’s own ever-shifting desires.
Our primary function is to create an emotion and our secondary function is to sustain that emotions.
The goal of art was the vital expression of self.
Finish the work, otherwise an unfinished work will finish you.
Anything I can not transform into something marvellous, I let go. Reality doesn’t impress me. I only believe in intoxication, in ecstasy, and when ordinary life shackles me, I escape, one way or another. No more walls.
Something is always born of excess: great art was born of great terrors, great loneliness, great inhibitions, instabilities, and it always balances them.
Art is a collaboration between God and the artist, and the less the artist does, the better.
An artist discovers his genius the day he dares not to please.
Drawing is vision on paper.
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.
Don’t pay any attention to what they write about you – Just measure it in inches.
An artist is someone who produces things that people don’t need to have but that he – for some reason – thinks it would be a good idea to give them.
To be great, art has to point somewhere.
You don’t take a photograph, you make it.
Art is longing. You never arrive, but you keep going in the hope that you will.
The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.
Treat a work of art like a prince – Let it speak to you first.
Not everyone is capable of madness; and of those lucky enough to be capable, not many have the courage for it.
The main thing is to be moved, to love, to hope, to tremble, to live.
The artist must create a spark before he can make a fire and before art is born, the artist must be ready to be consumed by the fire of his own creation.
One must always draw, draw with the eyes, when one cannot draw with a pencil.
People say graffiti is ugly, irresponsible and childish… but that’s only if it’s done properly.
Bus stops are far more interesting and useful places to have art than in museums.
Art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable.
Before I start carving the idea must be almost complete. I say ‘almost’ because the really important thing seems to be the sculptor’s ability to let his intuition guide him over the gap between conception and realization without compromising the integrity of the original idea.
We don’t make mistakes, just happy little accidents.
I started painting as a hobby when I was little. I didn’t know I had any talent. I believe talent is just a pursued interest. Anybody can do what I do.
Let’s get a little crazy here.
If I paint something, I don’t want to have to explain what it is.
All you need to paint is a few tools, a little instruction, and a vision in your mind.
We don’t make mistakes – We just have happy accidents.
We tell people sometimes: we’re like drug dealers, come into town and get everybody absolutely addicted to painting – It doesn’t take much to get you addicted.
You need the dark in order to show the light.
For me drawing is an attempt to understand what I feel about the world I live in.
Artists to my mind are the real architects of change.
As my artist’s statement explains, my work is utterly incomprehensible and is therefore full of deep significance.
It is only by drawing often, drawing everything, drawing incessantly, that one fine day you discover, to your surprise, that you have rendered something in its true character.
It is absurd to look for perfection.
All the sorrow, all the bitterness, all the sadness, I forget them and ignore them in the joy of working.
Carrie Kei Heim
You have a million excuses. Write anyway.
An intellectual says a simple thing in a hard way – An artist says a hard thing in a simple way.
An artist cannot fail; it is a success to be one.
Can anything be sadder than work left unfinished? Yes, work never begun.
Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just show up and get the work done. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you’re not going to make an awful lot of work.
The richness I achieve comes from nature, the source of my inspiration.
What keeps my heart awake is colourful silence.
Colour is my day.
I had so much fire in me and so many plans.
I must have flowers, always, and always.
I’m in fine fettle and fired with a desire to paint.
It’s on the strength of observation and reflection that one finds a way – So we must dig and delve unceasingly.
I’m not performing miracles, I’m using up and wasting a lot of paint.
Perhaps it’s true that I’m very hard on myself, but that’s better than exhibiting mediocre work… too few were satisfactory enough to trouble the public with.
It is a tragedy that we live in a world where physical courage is so common, and moral courage is so rare.
It is better to have done something than to have been someone.
I would like to paint the way a bird sings.
Color is my day – long obsession, joy and torment.
The point is to know how to use the colors, the choice of which is, when all’s said and done, a matter of habit.
What I need most of all is color, always, always.
In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different.
Every line is the actual experience with its own unique story.
Instead of worrying about what people say of you, why not spend time trying to accomplish something they will admire.
While drawing I discover what I really want to say.
The only art I’ll ever study is stuff that I can steal from.
Drawing things makes them seem more real and makes me feel more alive. It also makes me pin down and remember things landscapes, season, weather, occasions, incidents, people that would otherwise have melted from my memory.
Drawing makes you see things clearer, and clearer and clearer still, until your eyes ache.
I know I will leave my work unfinished. I just hope I planted enough seeds in my children and grandchildren that they will continue.
Artists are people driven by the tension between the desire to communicate and the desire to hide.
Beauty will save the world.
I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells.
Edgar Allen Poe
Art is to look at not to criticize.
Painting is easy when you don’t know how, but very difficult when you do.
Drawing is not what one sees, but what one can make others see.
Painting is easy when you don’t know how, but very difficult when you do.
Only when he no longer knows what he is doing does the painter do good things.
Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.
Contrary to general belief, an artist is never ahead of his time but most people are far behind theirs.
It is not enough to know your craft, you have to have feeling. Science is all very well, but for us imagination is worth far more.
When I paint, I never think of selling. People fail to understand that we paint in order to experiment and to develop ourselves as we strive for greater heights.
For as long as I can remember I have suffered from a deep feeling of anxiety which I have tried to express in my art.
Some colors reconcile themselves to one another, others just clash.
The artist has one function–to affirm and glorify life.
Edward de Bono
Creativity gives hope that there can be a worthwhile idea.
If I could say it in words there would be no reason to paint.
To create, one must first question everything.
Art is not a thing, it is a way.
To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing.
I think being different, going against the grain of society is the greatest thing in the world.
So much time is wasted on trying to be better than others.
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.
The artist is not a different kind of person, but every person is a different kind of artist.
Most people die before they are fully born – Creativeness means to be born before one dies.
Ernest Agyemang Yeboah
Another year is ending, but something is pending.
In any art you’re allowed to steal anything if you can make it better.
Federico Garcia Lorca
At the heart of all great art is an essential melancholy.
Sketching is almost everything. It is the painter’s identity, his style, his conviction, and then colour is just a gift to the drawing.
Man needs music, literature, and painting – all those oases of perfection that make up art – to compensate for the rudeness and materialism of life.
The job of the artist is always to deepen the mystery.
Francis of Assisi
He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist.
I never paint dreams or nightmares. I paint my own reality.
I paint flowers so they will not die.
The only thing I know is that I paint because I need to.
I never paint dreams or nightmares – I paint my own reality.
I paint self – portraits because I am so often alone, because I am the person I know best.
The essence of all beautiful art, all great art, is gratitude.
You must have chaos within you to give birth to a dancing star.
In drawing, one must look for or suspect that there is more than is casually seen.
The true use of art is, first, to cultivate the artist’s own spiritual nature.
An artist is a dreamer consenting to dream of the actual world.
Art is meant to disturb, science reassures.
For me, painting is a way to forget life – It is a cry in the night, a strangled laugh.
Whether you succeed or not is irrelevant, there is no such thing. Making your unknown known is the important thing.
I have already settled it for myself so flattery and criticism go down the same drain and I am quite free.
To create one’s own world takes courage.
I often painted fragments of things because it seemed to make my statement as well as or better than the whole could.
I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way – things I had no words for.
There are dozens of unfinished or aborted projects in my files, but I can only assume they don’t get done because they’re not robust enough to struggle through the birth process.
Art is a line around your thoughts.
Whoever wants to know something about me, they should look attentively at my pictures and there seek to recognise what I am and what I want.
There are no rules. That is how art is born, how breakthroughs happen. Go against the rules or ignore the rules. That is what invention is about.
Creativity takes courage.
Drawing is like making an expressive gesture, with the advantage of permanence.
An artist should never be a prisoner of himself, prisoner of style, prisoner of reputation, prisoner of success.
You study, you learn, but you guard the original naivete.
If I close my eyes, I see things better than with my eyes open.
I don’t paint things – I only paint the difference between things.
There is nothing more difficult for a truly creative painter than to paint a rose, because before he can do so he has first to forget all the roses that were ever painted.
Art is an escape from reality.
It is only after years of preparation that the young artist should touch color – not color used descriptively, that is, but as a means of personal expression.
I’ve been forty years discovering that the queen of all colors is black.
It is with color that you render light, though you must also feel this light, have it within yourself.
Above all, an artist must never be too easily satisfied with what he has done.
Henry David Thoreau
It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.
To be an artist is to believe in life.
Henry Ward Beecher
Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures.
It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation.
A picture is a poem without words.
J. M. W. Turner
It is only when we are no longer fearful that we begin to create.
Painting is self.
When I’m painting, I’m not aware of what I’m doing. It’s only after a ‘get acquainted period’ that I see what I’ve been about.
Every good painter paints what he is.
Art is coming face to face with yourself.
If people would just look at the paintings, I don’t think they would have any trouble enjoying them – It’s like looking at a bed of flowers, you don’t tear your hair out over what it means.
All art is a kind of confession, more or less oblique . All artists, if they are to survive, are forced, at last, to tell the whole story; to vomit the anguish up.
The most dangerous creation of any society is the man who has nothing to lose.
An artist is a sort of emotional or spiritual historian – His role is to make you realize the doom and glory of knowing who you are and what you are.
Art deteriorates when it is done for the audience.
An artist is not paid for his labor but for his vision.
The principle of true art is not to portray, but to evoke.
More important than a work of art itself is what it will sow. Art can die, a painting can disappear. What counts is the seed.
You can look at a picture for a week and never think of it again. You can also look at the picture for a second and think of it all your life.
The works must be conceived with fire in the soul but executed with clinical coolness.
To gain freedom is to gain simplicity.
The more I work, the more I want to work.
I work like a gardener.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Personality is everything in art and poetry.
Drawing is a form of probing. And the first generic impulse to draw derives from the human need to search, to plot points, to place things and to place oneself.
John F Kennedy
We must never forget that art is not a form of propaganda; it is a form of truth.
If art is to nourish the roots of our culture, society must set the artist free to follow his vision wherever it takes him.
Art is unquestionably one of the purest and highest elements in human happiness. It trains the mind through the eye, and the eye through the mind. As the sun colours flowers, so does art colour life.
Intensity is all that matters in painting.
What art offers is space – a certain breathing room for the spirit.
The creative process is a process of surrender, not control.
Art is not about thinking something up – It is the opposite – getting something down.
How you draw is a reflection of how you feel about the world. You’re not capturing it, you’re interpreting it.
Art is a step in the known toward the unknown.
In the mind of every artist there is a masterpiece.
The Achilles heel of an artist lies in the hope that his art is good.
You are an unfinished work in progress. One of the good things about life’s challenges: you get to find out that you’re capable of being far more than you ever thought possible.
Art should be something that liberates your soul, provokes the imagination and encourages people to go further.
Drawing is still basically the same as it has been since prehistoric times. It brings together man and the world. It lives through magic.
The best reason to paint is that there is no reason to paint.
To practice any art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow – So do it.
The arts are not a way to make a living – They are a very human way of making life more bearable.
One of the functions of art is to give people the words to know their own experience.
Art is not a handicraft, it is the transmission of feeling the artist has experienced.
Art must destroy violence, only it can do it.
The activity of art is… as important as the activity of language itself, and as universal.
Art is not a mirror to hold up to society, but a hammer with which to shape it.
The creative union of the conscious with the unconscious is what one usually calls ‘inspiration’.
Leonardo da Vinci
Art is never finished, only abandoned.
Where the spirit does not work with the hand, there is no art.
The artist sees what others only catch a glimpse of.
A beautiful body perishes, but a work of art dies not.
The painter has the Universe in his mind and hands.
Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen.
Art lives from constraints and dies from freedom.
Perspective is to painting what the bridle is to the horse, the rudder to a ship.
Art is the queen of all sciences communicating knowledge to all the generations of the world.
He only moves toward the perfection of his art whose criticism surpasses his achievement.
A good painter has two main objects to paint, man and the intention of his soul – The former is easy, the latter hard as he has to represent it by the attitude and movement of the limbs.
It is not so much where my motivation comes from but rather how it manages to survive.
Tell your own story, and you will be interesting.
To be an artist, you need to exist in a world of silence.
Art is a way of recognizing oneself.
Don’t be fooled by success and money – Don’t let anything come between you and your work.
It is not a torment to be an artist – It is a privilege.
Art is restoration: the idea is to repair the damages that are inflicted in life, to make something that is fragmented – which is what fear and anxiety do to a person – into something whole.
Great art picks up where nature ends.
If I create from the heart, nearly everything works; if from the head, almost nothing.
Drawing is giving a performance; an artist is an actor who is not limited by the body, only by his ability and, perhaps, experience.
The function of the artist in a disturbed society is to give awareness of the universe, to ask the right questions, and to elevate the mind.
Sometimes with art, it is important just to look.
Art must be life — it must belong to everybody.
Martin Luther King Jr
Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted.
I am independent! I can live alone and I love to work.
I know the sag of the unfinished poem. And I know the release of the poem that is finished.
Bring your humanity to your art.
I want to make paintings that look as if they were made by a child.
If people only knew how hard I work to gain my mastery. It wouldn’t seem so wonderful at all.
An artist must have his measuring tools not in the hand, but in the eye.
I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.
If people knew how hard I worked to get my mastery, it wouldn’t seem so wonderful at all.
Lord, grant that I may always desire more than I accomplish.
No great work of art is ever finished.
Drawing at its best is not what your eyes see but what our mind understands.
There are three responses to a piece of design: yes, no and wow.
Think eight hours, work two hours.
When you do things for their own sake, that’s when you create your best work – That’s when it’s art.
Life is sometimes hard. Things go wrong, in life and in love and in business and in friendship and in health and in all other ways that life can go wrong. And when things get tough, this is what you should do. Make good art.
The world always seems brighter when you’ve just made something that wasn’t there before.
With the pride of the artist, you must blow against the walls of every power that exists the small trumpet of your defiance.
Art helps us identify with one another and expands our notion of we – from the local to the global.
No great artist ever sees things as they really are. If he did, he would cease to be an artist.
The moment you think you understand a great work of art, it’s dead for you.
The critic has to educate the public; the artist has to educate the critic.
Art is the most intense mode of individualism that the world has known.
Every portrait that is painted with feeling is a portrait of the artist, not of the sitter.
Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.
Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.
Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.
Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.
Painting is just another way of keeping a diary.
Art is a lie that makes us realise the truth.
There are painters who transform the sun to a yellow spot, but there are others who, with the help of their art and their intelligence, transform a yellow spot into sun.
The chief enemy of creativity is ‘good’ sense.
To draw you must close your eyes and sing.
Every act of creation is first an act of destruction.
Bad artists copy – Good artists steal.
Everything you can imagine is real.
Art is a lie that makes us realize truth.
Art is the elimination of the unnecessary.
Inspiration does exist, but it must find you working.
The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.
A work of art which did not begin in emotion is not art.
Painting from nature is not copying the object, it’s realising one’s sensations.
It’s so fine and yet so terrible to stand in front of a blank canvas.
To my mind one does not put oneself in place of the past, one only adds a new link.
I shut my eyes in order to see.
Stay firmly in your path and dare. Be wild two hours a day!.
Art = a mad search for individualism.
Art is either revolution or plagiarism.
Stay firmly in your path and dare; be wild two hours a day.
The public wants to understand and learn in a single day, a single minute, what the artist has spent years learning.
It is better to paint from memory, for thus your work will be your own.
The beautiful, which is perhaps inseparable from art, is not after all tied to the subject, but to the pictorial representation. In this way and in no other does art overcome the ugly without avoiding it.
My idea of heaven is to wake up, have a good breakfast, and spend the rest of the day drawing.
If you as a designer don’t believe in your design and don’t see it beyond the context of the film, instead of as a real creature in a real world then how can you expect the audience to believe it?.
Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere.
Peter Paul Rubens
Every child has the spirit of creation. The rubbish of life often exterminates the spirit through plague and a soul’s own wretchedness.
Painting is silent poetry.
Art wasn’t supposed to look nice; it was supposed to make you feel something.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Every artist was first an amateur.
Practice what you know and it will help you to make clear what you do not know.
A work is finished when an artist realizes his intentions.
Choose only one master – Nature.
Practice what you know, and it will help to make clear what now you do not know.
Without atmosphere a painting is nothing.
The purpose of art is mystery.
Art evokes the mystery without which the world would not exist.
The power of nature is such that it’s what all art strives to be – The more we can get in tune with the harmony of the planet, the more our art can benefit from that relationship.
The world is only as free as it allows its artists to be.
It’s better to create something that others criticize than to create nothing and criticize others.
The greater the artist, the greater the doubt – Perfect confidence is granted to the less talented as a consolation prize.
Success is a worn down pencil.
An empty canvas is full.
I just wanted to paint and sketch and tell stories by drawing.
The great artists of the past were aware that human life is full of chaos and suffering. But they had a remedy for this. And the name of that remedy was ‘beauty’. The beautiful work of art brings consolation in sorrow and affirmation in joy. It shows human life to be worthwhile.
I am an artist because the knot is so powerful I just can not, nor want to be, anything else or do anything else.
Saint Francis of Assisi
He who works with his hands is a labourer. He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman. He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist.
A true artist is not one who is inspired, but one who inspires others.
Those who do not want to imitate anything produce nothing.
Have no fear of perfection, you’ll never reach it.
You have to systematically create confusion, it sets creativity free – Everything that is contradictory creates life.
Have no fear of perfection – you’ll never reach it.
I am not strange – I am just not normal.
Those who do not want to imitate anything, produce nothing.
I shall be so brief that I have already finished.
Life is too short to remain unnoticed.
Knowing how to look is a way of inventing.
A true artist is not one who is inspired but one who inspires others.
The fact I myself do not understand what my paintings mean while I am painting them does not imply that they are meaningless.
The secret of my influence has always been that it remained secret.
If you understand a painting beforehand, you might as well not paint it.
I believe in general death but in the death of Dalí absolutely not.
What is important is to spread confusion, not eliminate it.
People love mystery, and that is why they love my paintings.
The true painter must be able, with the most usual things, to have the most unusual ideas.
The thermometer of success is merely the jealousy of the malcontents.
Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.
Life beats down and crushes the soul and art reminds you that you have one.
The only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work.
We have always been shamelss about stealing great ideas.
Steven Pressfield (The War Of Art)
Remember one rule of thumb: the more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.
Never worry about being obsessive. I like obsessive people. Obsessive people make great art.
All great art contains at its center contemplation, a dynamic contemplation.
Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.
One person’s craziness is another person’s reality.
Art is the only way to run away without leaving home.
Creativity is taking the best skills and techniques from experts around you and improving upon them.
Passions are not found, they are developed.
Art excludes, like love, any competition and devours the whole person.
Don’t paint the object, paint its effect.
Life is too short to paint something you don’t have feeling for.
If I knew what the picture was going to be like, I wouldn’t make it.
Art speaks where words are unable to explain.
Vincent van Gogh
If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.
As I work at my drawings, day after day, what seemed unattainable before is now gradually becoming possible. Slowly, I’m learning to observe and measure. I don’t stand quite so helpless before nature any longer.
Paintings have a life of their own that derives from the painter’s soul.
If you hear a voice within you saying, ”You are not a painter,” then by all means paint… and that voice will be silenced.
The great artist is the simplifier.
I put my heart and my soul into my work, and have lost my mind in the process.
I dream of painting and then I paint my dream.
I am not an adventurer by choice but by fate.
Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together.
By working hard, old man, I hope to make something good one day – I haven’t yet, but I am pursuing it and fighting for it.
One must spoil as many canvases as one succeeds with.
I want to touch people with my art – I want them to say “he feels deeply, he feels tenderly”.
I often think that the night is more alive and more richly colored than the day.
There is no blue without yellow and without orange.
All these months I’ve been trying to find find a pattern. Trying not so much to draw hands as gestures. Not so much faces as the expressions of people.
A work of art has no importance whatever to society – It is only important to the individual.
If the artist has outer and inner eyes for nature, nature rewards him by giving him inspiration.
There is no must in art because art is free.
The artist must train not only his eye but also his soul.
Everything starts from a dot.
Color is a power which directly influences the soul.
Color is a means to exert a direct influence on the soul.
Visions are worth fighting for. Why spend your life making someone else’s dreams?
Willem de Kooning
The attitude that nature is chaotic and that the artist puts order into it is a very absurd point of view, I think – All that we can hope for is to put some order into ourselves.
The aim of every artist is to arrest motion, which is life, by artificial means and hold it fixed so that a hundred years later, when a stranger looks at it, it moves again since it is life.
William Ralph Inge
What is originality? Undetected plagiarism.
Without tradition art is a flock of sheep without a shepherd – Without innovation it is a corpse.
I have a flood of ideas in my mind. I just follow my vision.
I wanted to start a revolution, using art to build the sort of society I myself envisioned.
Art is my life and my life is art.
Controversy is part of the nature of art and creativity.
Healing yourself is connected with healing others.
I never want projects to be finished; I have always believed in unfinished work. I got that from Schubert, you know, the ‘Unfinished Symphony’.
I always believed that my work should be unfinished in the sense that I encourage people to add their creativity to it, either conceptually or physically.