Aphorisms for Artists by Walter Darby Bannard

Aphorism #73

Too much freedom is a dangerous thing.

Freedom is the illusion of unimpeded choice. I say “illusion” because once we make choices we are thereby less free. What we call freedom is really the right to restrict our freedom in our own way.

Today, much “advanced” academic art instruction teaches that the acquisition and exercise of art-making skills hinders artistic freedom, because the artist must remain unburdened and pure to allow inspiration to flow like an unobstructed torrent.

This is destructive nonsense. It is like telling a baseball player that learning to hit the ball hinders his athletic freedom. Art, like any specialty, is a matter of perpetual learning and choosing. When you narrow down and get in a groove, you don’t limit possibilities, you find new ones.

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