DAY 55 - HOW TO BE AN ARTIST / by Debra Matlock

Lesson 13: Scavenge

Claes Oldenburg with his Floor Cone in 1963. Photo: Courtesy the Oldenburg van Bruggen Studio, © 1962 Claes Oldenburg

Life is your syllabus: Gather from everywhere.

Andy Warhol said, “I always like to work on … things that were discarded, that everybody knew were no good.” He also understood that “department stores will become museums,” meaning that optical information can come from everywhere, even from a Celestial Seasonings package.

Originality did not conveniently die just in time for you and your generation to insist it no longer exists. You just have to find it. You can do this by looking for overlooked periods of art history, disliked and discredited styles, and forgotten ideas, images, and objects. Then work them into your own art 100 times or 1,000 times.