Sean Scully and the Art of Everything

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Really enjoyable documentary about the painter, Sean Scully, shown recently on the BBC: Unstoppable: Sean Scully and the Art of Everything.

On what got him interested in art:

“I can’t really explain why I got hypnotised by art. I don’t really know how I managed to get there from where I was. It’s sort of inexplicable to me, but I used to look at books. I loved these books and they had almost this kind of religious importance to me. And the ones that were the most approachable were these books by Thames & Hudson called The World of Art.”

How Van Gogh’s Chair got him into art school:

“When I was trying to get into art school I had to find something that I could do, that I could teach myself, because I was self-taught. And, some of these things, I can see, are a bit too complicated, but I thought this painting looked as if anybody could have painted it. It seemed as if it was something I could do myself. So I made all these little Van Gogh’s and I got my portfolio together and I got turned down by eleven art schools. All of them. And it was unbelievably discouraging. And finally I came upon an art school that had a little vocational course – not a degree course – in Croydon. So I applied and I miraculously got in. And that’s the beginning.”

On doubt:

“I don’t have self-doubt. I don’t have doubt and I don’t think that doubt is useful, or constructive. It doesn’t create anything. You have to have faith and commitment and belief to do something that hasn’t been done before or to create something extraordinary. It’s already difficult enough without you putting roadblocks in your own way.”

On America:

“People like to pretend that America is the Land of the Free, but it’s not. It’s the Land of Weapons is what it is.”