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You know, the way art history is taught, often there's nothing that tells you why the painting is great. The description of a lousy painting and the description of a great painting will very much sound the same.


My mother was a piano teacher, my father an inventor. He invented the reflective paint they still use on airstrips. They had faith in my ambition, and I think that made all the difference.


There are so many artists that are dyslexic or learning disabled, it's just phenomenal. There's also an unbelievably high proportion of artists who are left-handed, and a high correlation between left-handedness and learning disabilities.


A face is a road map of someone's life. Without any need to amplify that or draw attention to it, there's a great deal that's communicated about who this person is and what their life experiences have been.


Painting is the most magical of mediums. The transcendence is truly amazing to me every time I go to a museum and I see how somebody figured another way to rub colored dirt on a flat surface and make space where there is no space or make you think of a life experience.


Photography is the easiest medium with which to be merely competent. Almost anybody can be competent. It's the hardest medium in which to have some sort of personal vision and to have a signature style.


Inspiration is highly overrated. If you sit around and wait for the clouds to part, it's not liable to ever happen. More often than not, work is salvation.


I think I was driven to paint portraits to commit images of friends and family to memory. I have face blindness, and once a face is flattened out, I can remember it better.


I don't care about the Guggenheim. The Guggenheim isn't involved in anything that I am interested in. I don't care about motorcycles and Armani suits.


I'm very interested in how we read things, especially the link between seeing two-dimensional and three-dimensional images, because of how I read.


You don't have to reinvent the wheel every day. Today you will do what you did yesterday, and tomorrow you will do what you did today. Eventually you will get somewhere.


I discovered about 150 dots is the minimum number of dots to make a specific recognizable person. You can make something that looks like a head, with fewer dots, but you won't be able to give much information about who it is.


I always thought that one of the reasons why a painter likes especially to have other painters look at his or her work is the shared experience of having pushed paint around.


In the 7th grade, I made a 20-foot long mural of the Lewis and Clark Trail while we were studying that in history because I knew I wasn't going to be able to spit back the names and the dates and all that stuff on a test.


You don't have to have a great art idea - just get to work and something will happen. So that's pretty much my modus operandi and pretty much my principal position, such as it is.


I don't want the viewer to be able to peel away the layers of my painting like the layers of an onion and find that all the blues are on the same level.


I'm not by nature a terribly intuitive person; I need to build a situation in which I will behave more intuitively, and that has really changed the life of my work - I found a way to trick myself into being intuitive.


Part of the joy of looking at art is getting in sync in some ways with the decision-making process that the artist used and the record that's embedded in the work.


If the bottom dropped out of the market and the artist was not going to sell anything, he or she will keep working, and the dealer will keep trying to find some way to convince somebody to buy this stuff.


Neurologically, I'm a quadriplegic, so virtually everything about my work has been driven by my learning disabilities, which are quite severe, and my lack of facial recognition, which I'm sure is what drove me to paint portraits in the first place.


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