A Life In The Arts

What does it mean to spend one’s life in the arts? Whether you’re a painter, a poet, a composer or a choreographer, your day-to-day reality begs comparison with others. A dozen world-class artists provide a sampler of experience: 

“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.”

Maya-AngelouMaya Angelou (Born 1928)


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

PicassoPablo Picasso (1881–1973)

“Art is the only way to run away without leaving home.”

Twyla TharpTwyla Tharp (Born 1941)


“Art, in itself, is an attempt to bring order out of chaos.”

SondheimStephen Sondheim (Born 1930)


“If you surrender to the wind, you can ride it.”

MorrisonToni Morrison (Born 1931)


“The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious – the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science.”

EinsteinAlbert Einstein (1879-1955)


“Life beats down and crushes the soul, and art reminds you that you have one.”

AdlerStella Adler (1901-1992)


“There is no such thing in anyone’s life as an unimportant day.” 

Alexander WoollcottAlexander Woollcott (1887-1943)


“Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst.”

Henri Cartier-BressonHenri Cartier-Bresson (1908-2004)


“You know, when I first went into the movies Lionel Barrymore played my grandfather. Later he played my father and finally he played my husband. If he had lived I’m sure I would have played his mother. That’s the way it is in Hollywood. The men get younger and the women get older.” 

Lillian Gish-1983Lillian Gish (1893–1993)


“The good die young, but not always. The wicked prevail but not consistently. I am confused by life, and I feel safe within the confines of the theatre”

Helen HayesHelen Hayes (1900-1993)


“The artist’s job is not to succumb to despair but to find an antidote for the emptiness of existence.”

Woody Allen CUWoody Allen (Born 1935)


Photo Credits: Adler: Irene Gilbert; Allen: Terry Richardson; Angelou: Brian Lanker/Little Brown; Cartier-Bresson: Jane Bown; Einstein: Yousef Karsh; Gish: Getty Images; Hayes: Richard Avedon; Morrison: Princeton University; Picasso: Arnold Newman/Howard Greenberg Gallery; Tharp: Chester Higgins/The New York Times; Wilder: Gisele Freund; Woollcott: The New York Times Photo Archives


13 Responses to “A Life In The Arts”

  1. Miriam says:

    I love Lillian Gish’s quote. I’m trying to figure out if it’s still like that…

  2. Suann Ingle says:

    Movies were my only escape, my true refuge from the hyper-reality of my youth – they were mere accompaniment to limitless dreams of being and faith in my future. Thank you Ann for the reminder.

  3. Carey says:

    Reminds me of another great Albert Einstein quote: “Imagination is more powerful than knowledge.”

  4. Ann Sachs says:

    Miriam, I don’t work in Hollywood, but word has it that it’s even worse! Thankfully, Geena Davis (yes, the Oscar winner) was so appalled she founded “The Geena Davis Institute on Gender In Media” – check it out!


  5. Ann Sachs says:

    Oh, Suann, you’ve stated your “reminder” beautifully. It reminds me of why these quotes resonate so deeply with me. Thank you.

  6. Melissa says:

    Love these. My artist quote would probably be “Uh oh, I think I’m gonna cry”. At least I can pass it off as me having an “artistic temperament”!

  7. Ann Sachs says:

    Carey, I love that Einstein quote – thanks for mentioning it! He was an artist in his heart, and often talked about if he not been a physicist he would have been a musician. He was a rare bird!

  8. Jane Alden says:

    I love these. Helen Hayes’ statement best applies to the initial reason I went into theatre. As I grew up and older in the theatre, it became my way of connecting to others, a way of experiencing and expressing related-ness to and with all others.

    Oscar Wilde says it best: “I regard the theatre as the greatest of all art forms, the most immediate way in which a human being can share with another the sense of what it is to be a human being.”

  9. “If you surrender to the wind, you can ride it…” – words to cherish. I’ve always loved the wind.
    What a treasure trove this is, Ann. Thank you for sharing.
    Missing you from California – and having such a rich experience with “Loudest Man on Earth.” Hope your summer is delicious.
    Lots of love, Julie

  10. Ann Sachs says:

    Thank for sharing your thoughts, Melissa, Jane and Julie – you are all world class dames and I feel lucky to have you in my circle of friends!

  11. Love the quotes and what you are embarking on. I owned a “serious” engineering business for over 23 years with my husband before launching my consulting business. My inner “Artist” had been suppressed, which I didn’t even realize! I’m having fun reconnecting with my creativity now, including writing my daily morning pages, an exercise from The Artists Way, by Julia Cameron. Ironically, nurturing my creativity has contributed to more effective and FUN business too. Keep it coming!

  12. Ann Sachs says:

    BRAVA to your “inner artist”, Alison – she and you are a formidable pair!

  13. What a wonderful collection of ideas…thank you, thank you for putting this out there. (What a MEAL!)

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