Jasper Johns Quotes
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famous Jasper Johns quotations
Inspirational Art Quotes by the famous American artist Jasper Johns
Born Jasper Johns - Augusta, Georgia, USA - 215th of May, 1930 / Lives United States of America
Famous Jasper Johns works include Pop Art inspired paintings of American flags, targets, and other popular iconography.

Jasper Johns Quotes


  • "I'm not sure what 'coming out right' means. It often means that what you do holds a kind of energy that you wouldn't just put there, that comes about through grace of some sort."
    Jasper Johns
  • "Ideas either come or they don't come."
    Jasper Johns
  • "I tend to like things that already exist."
    Jasper Johns
  • "I don't know how to organise thoughts. I don't know how to have thoughts."
    Jasper Johns
  • "I have no ideas about what the paintings imply about the world. I don't think that’s a painter's business. He just paints paintings without a conscious reason. I intuitively paint flags."
    Jasper Johns
  • "Painting has a nature which is not entirely translatable into verbal language. I think painting is a language, actually. It’s linguistic in a sense, but not in a verbal sense. I think that one wants from painting a sense of life. And I think that is true. One wants to be able to use all of one's facilities in all aspects of one's life."
    Jasper Johns
  • "I don't want my work to be an exposure of my feelings."
    Jasper Johns
  • "Sometimes I see it and then paint it. Other times I paint it and then see it. Both are impure situations, and I prefer neither. At every point in nature there is something to see. My work contains similar possibilities for the changing focus of the eye."
    Jasper Johns
  • "I assumed that everything would lead to complete failure, but I decided that didn't matter – that would be my life."
    Jasper Johns
  • "Old art offers just as good a criticism of new art as new art offers of old."
    Jasper Johns
  • "To be an artist you have to give up everything, including the desire to be a good artist."
    Jasper Johns

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  • "I don't see any point in simply stating something that is easily available. But then that may just be my own psychology, a kind of negative position. It seems to me that if you avoid everything you can avoid, then you do what you can't avoid doing, and you do what is helpless, and unavoidable. That seems to me more interesting than any other position at this moment – for me anyway."
    Jasper Johns
  • "In my early work, I tried to hide my personality, my psychological state, my emotions. This was partly due to my feelings about myself and partly due to my feelings about painting at the time. I sort of stuck to my guns for a while but eventually it seemed like a losing battle. Finally one must simply drop the reserve."
    Jasper Johns
  • "My primary concern is visual form. The visual meaning may be discovered afterwards by those who look for it. Two meanings have been ascribed to these American Flag paintings of mine. One position is: 'He's painted a flag so you don’t have to think of it as a flag but only as a painting'. The other is: 'You are enabled by the way he has painted it to see it as a flag and not as a painting.' Actually both positions are implicit in the paintings, so you don't have to choose."
    Jasper Johns
  • "A painting should contain more experience than simply intended statement."
    Jasper Johns
  • "I often find that having an idea in my head prevents me from doing something else. Working is therefore a way of getting rid of an idea."
    Jasper Johns
  • "It all began with my painting a picture of an American flag. Using this design took care of a great deal for me because I didn't have to design it. So I went on to similar things like the targets things the mind already knows. That gave me room to work on other levels. For instance, I've always thought of a painting as a surface; painting it in one color made this very clear. A picture ought to be looked at the same way you look at a radiator."
    Jasper Johns
  • "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."
    Jasper Johns
  • "My experience with life is that it's very fragmented. In one place certain kinds of thing occur, and in another place a different kind of thing occurs. I would like my work to have some vivid indication of those differences. I guess, in painting, it would amount to different kinds of space being represented in it."
    Jasper Johns

Pages related to the Jasper Johns quotations include: Andy Warhol Quotes, Jasper Johns Quotes, Painting Quotes, Painters, Printmakers, and Famous American Artists.

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