“Just work hard, and you will evolve into yourself naturally. Don’t choose who to be—grow into yourself through hard work. All will be revealed. I guarantee that if you paint a still life, it will have your personality in it. You have to trust that. The best things I saw by you today were your self-portrait drawings, because they had no artifice. . . . If I was you, I would strip away all your flashy gimmicks and dare to make “plain” paintings. You will be original, you have to take it on faith. You know what to do. You’ll get where you need to go with time and hard work.”David Hockney to artist Duncan Hannah (quoted in Mason Currey’s newsletter Subtle Manueuvers, issue ‘Seven Lessons in Being an Artist from Duncan Hannah’)
“[David] Hockney valued painting because of the medium’s relationship to time. According to him, an image contained the amount of time that went into making it, so that when someone looked at one of his paintings, they began to inhabit the physical, bodily time of its being painted.”Jenny Odell, How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy
The original Mona Lisa lies in The Louvre behind bulletproof glass. I imagine if I stand before it one day I would feel Leonardo’s presence because his hands touched that very canvas.
Compare that with a copy of the painting we might find on Google Images. For a start, in the digital realm of the internet nothing is physical so we automatically lose the “physical, bodily time” Odell spoke of. Also, in that disembodied realm, we can make infinite amounts of copies, which begs the question: do we, with each successive copy, depreciate the value of the original?