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  • Writer's pictureJoel Klepac

"Just Keep Making Stuff"

“I no longer ask whether and how long my works will outlast me,” Matisse told Gotthard Jedlicka, who visited him in his hotel room in Cimiez, in the hills above Nice, his retirement home. “What I create, what I shape, has its meaning in the fact that I create it, that i shape it; is fulfilled in the enjoyment my work gives me - my work? My play. I play, and fulfil myself in play; and must a game outlast the player? Isn't its meaning to fulfil itself in itself? The purest player is the child, because it is one with the game. I too play, with the scissors, like a child, and I ask just as little as a child does what will become of the game that gives me such delightful hours.” --Art of the 20th Century, Taschen, P43

I love the simplicity and unself-conscious play in Matisse's work. It is not burdened with trying to be significant, it just is significant because it was authentic, curious and playful, and perhaps even without the shadow of fear to spoil it.

Each time I face a few days of being in the studio I often face a hyper self consciousness, almost an existential crisis. Why am I painting? Does it matter? Will it matter in 100 years? Can I make something that is beautiful, something worth the effort? All these questions show up like J. K. Rowlings demontors ready to suck the creative energy out of my body. In my latest battle with the forces of fear and self consciousness, I came out with he simple phrase, the conclusion that I hope to hold onto and a conclusion I think Matisse was getting at. We are somehow made to create things, to be curious and playful. The simplest instructions for my future self returning to the studio for another round of potential inner struggle is now write clearly where I can find it, "Just keep making stuff".

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