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Howard Hodgkin's Quotes

Howard Hodgkin profile photo

Born: 1932-08-06
Profession: Artist
Nation: British
Biography of Howard Hodgkin

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I'm vulnerable to criticism. Any artist is, because you work alone in your studio and, until recently, critics were the only way you'd get any feedback.

Tags: Alone, Until, Work

You keep on balancing and balancing and balancing until the picture wins, because then the subject's turned into the picture.

Tags: Keep, Picture, Until

A collection makes its own demands. Many artists have been collectors. I think of it rather as an illness. I felt it was using up too much energy.

Tags: Energy, Makes, Rather

A painting is finished when the subject comes back, when what has caused the painting to be made comes back as an object.

Tags: Finished, Painting, Subject

Collecting has been my great extravagance. It's a way of being. I collect for the same reason that I eat too much-I'm one of nature's shoppers.

Tags: Great, Nature, Reason

I am happy for people to talk about my pictures, but I wish devoutly that I was not expected to talk about them myself.

Tags: Happy, Talk, Wish

I am isolated as an artist, not as a person.

Tags: Artist, Isolated

I don't look at the work of my contemporaries very much; I tend to look at pictures by dead artists. It's much easier to get near their paintings.

Tags: Dead, Pictures, Work

I don't really have a historical overview of my work at all. I'm not an art historian. I don't see that there's this period and that period.

Tags: Art, Period, Work

I don't think you can lightly paint a picture. It's an activity I take very seriously.

Tags: Paint, Picture, Seriously

I fell through a crack for years. Historically, I am a nothing because I fit in no category. I can only be me.

Tags: Category, Crack, Fit

I find old copies of National Gallery catalogues, which are written in the dryest possible prose, infinitely soothing.

Tags: Old, Possible, Written

I hate painting.

Tags: Hate, Painting

I look at my pictures, and I think, 'Well, how did I do that?'

Tags: Pictures

I once was interviewed and got so exasperated that I said, 'What do you want, a shopping list?' They kept asking, 'What's in this picture?'

Tags: Once, Picture, Said

I think that words are often extraneous to what I do.

Tags: Often, Words

I think words come between the spectator and the picture.

Tags: Between, Picture, Words

I want my pictures to be things. I want them to be made up of marks that are physically and individually self-sufficient.

Tags: Marks, Physically, Pictures

I'm very envious of the few artists who are any good and still do portraits.

Tags: Artists, Few, Good

In England, it's thought to be morally suspect to worry about what your surroundings look like.

Tags: England, Thought, Worry

In the United States there has been a kind of a structure in the Modern art world. The New York School was nearly a coherent thing-for a minute.

Tags: Art, School, United

Matisse was very clear about saying that you have to blow your own trumpet and explain yourself, which I think has been slightly forgotten.

Tags: Forgotten, Saying, Yourself

My friends tend to be writers. I think writers and painters are really all the same-we just sit in our rooms.

Tags: Friends, Sit, Writers

My language is what I use, and if I lost that, I wouldn't be able to say anything.

Tags: Able, Language, Lost

The picture surface recedes just as much in the 20th century as it did in the 15th. The techniques of making pictures have hardly changed.

Tags: Making, Picture, Pictures

When I finish a painting, it usually looks as surprising to me as to anyone else.

Tags: Anyone, Else, Painting

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Much more quotes by Howard Hodgkin below the page.

What seems extraordinary is that the richest countries in the world, in terms of economic output, are the ones where we work hardest.

Tags: Economic, Seems, Work

When the going gets tough, the tough take a nap.

Tags: Nap, Tough

When walking, you see things that you miss in a motor car or on the train. You give your mind space to ponder.

Tags: Car, Give, Mind

Whether you live in the city or in the country, creating time for a leisurely ramble is an easy thing to do.

Tags: Country, Easy, Time

You can become very serious as a parent. That's got to be fought against.

Tags: Against, Become, Serious

Deleting 200 spams a day is a drag. And I was checking my email constantly, rather than getting on with my real work, which is reading and writing. Email was becoming a distraction, a burden rather than a liberation.

Tags: Real, Work, Writing

One of the least arduous but most productive of gardening jobs, the magic of deadheading never fails to delight me. It was a revelation when the principle was explained to me: that flowers are the attempt by the plant to reproduce itself. So if you cut the heads off before the flower turns into seeds, the plant will continue to flower.

Tags: Flower, Gardening, Off

To me there is no more depressing sight than a five-year-old staring at a screen, unsmiling, mouse in hand. Besides whatever dreadful things this prolonged exposure to screens is doing to their brains, computer games tend to be solitary affairs, and produce little laughter.

Tags: Hand, Laughter, Whatever

Alongside my 'no email' policy, I resolve to make better use of the wonderful Royal Mail, and send letters and postcards to people. There is a huge pleasure in writing a letter, putting it in an envelope and sticking the stamp on it. And huge pleasure in receiving real letters, too.

Tags: Real, Wonderful, Writing

As the son of a feminist mother, I grew up with the idea that work was a sort of salvation for women as it would give them freedom from the domestic grind. Now it seems work is a form of slavery, undertaken out of apparent compulsion rather than choice.

Tags: Freedom, Women, Work

Being lazy does not mean that you do not create. In fact, lying around doing nothing is an important, nay crucial, part of the creative process. It is meaningless bustle that actually gets in the way of productivity. All we are really saying is, give peace a chance.

Tags: Mean, Peace, Saying

Bosses should sanction the nap rather than expect workers to power on all day without repose. They might even find that workers' happiness - or what management types refer to as 'employee satisfaction results' - might improve.

Tags: Happiness, Power, Rather

By taking out a loan, I am committing myself to years of interest repayments, and therefore to years of wage slavery. And the U.K. has been borrowing like crazy since 1694, when the Bank of England was invented. This means that we are locked into high taxation to pay for 300 years of wars and other costly and generally disastrous state enterprises.

Tags: Crazy, High, Means

Embrace the faff. Stare out of the window. Bend paperclips. Stand in the middle of the room trying to remember what you came downstairs for. Pace. Drum your fingertips. Move papers around. Hum. Look at the garden.

Tags: Remember, Stand, Trying

Facebook is not ideologically neutral. In fact, it emerges from a very particular world view which we can trace back to Hobbes. I discovered this by examining the profile of Zuckerberg's fellow board members who, unlike him, are a very interesting bunch and, I suspect, the real power behind the poster boy.

Tags: Him, Power, Real

Faffing is completely harmless, whereas its opposite - dynamic, purposeful activity - is often very harmful. Faffers do not tend to kill people or make them work 12-hour days or sell them shoddy merchandise or lend them vast sums of money that they cannot pay back.

Tags: Cannot, Money, Work

Faffing is good. It is an important part of life. Faffing is when we disconnect from the matrix and idle for a while, like a car. Our body and spirit know deep down that human beings were not made for constant toil so subconsciously creates space through the mechanism of faffing.

Tags: Car, Good, Life

Festivals are fun for kids, fun for parents and offer a welcome break from the stresses of the nuclear family. The sheer quantities of people make life easier: loads of adults for the adults to talk to and loads of kids for the kids to play with.

Tags: Family, Fun, Life

For a really relaxing time, you want to go to a place where the work ethic hasn't taken hold, where the culture hasn't been taken over by the western values of constant striving.

Tags: Place, Time, Work

I could happily lean on a gate all the livelong day, chatting to passers-by about the wind and the rain. I do a lot of gate-leaning while I am supposed to be gardening; instead of hoeing, I lean on the gate, stare at the vegetable beds and ponder.

Tags: Gardening, Rain, Wind

I originally welcomed the mobile phone, as it seemed to me that it would enable you to work from anywhere. On the mobile, who was to know if you were sitting on the branch of a tree or sitting in an office? But it instead had the opposite effect: instead of freeing us from the office, it allowed the office to take away our freedom.

Tags: Away, Freedom, Work

I would like to propose slow cycling. Commute by bike. At a stroke, you remove the need for and absurd cost of public transport. Cycling is almost completely free. There is no longer any need for the gym as you get fit by cycling. And you can go at your own pace.

Tags: Almost, Free, Public

I'm not sure if I could bear to go on an aeroplane again. It's not my concern for the welfare of the planet. It's not even the long check-in times and queuing. No, it's the humiliation of the security process that has finally done it for me.

Tags: Again, Done, Times

I've given up email. Well, almost. At the weekend I set up one of those auto-reply messages, informing my correspondents that I would no longer be checking my emails, and that instead they might like to call or write, as we used to in the olden days.

Tags: Days, Used, Write

I've never understood activity holidays since we seem to have far too much activity in our daily lives as it is. Find a culture where loafing is the order of the day and where they don't understand our need to be constantly doing things. Find somewhere you can have a hammock holiday.

Tags: Daily, Far, Understand

I've often said that far more sensible than a 'make poverty history' campaign would be a 'make wealth history' campaign. It is, after all, the wealthy people who do all the damage. The less money you earn, the fewer resources you use up.

Tags: After, History, Money

If you look at the literature of the 19th century, you get things like Kafka and Dostoevsky, who basically write about feeling bored and alienated. That's because we lost contact with the important things in life like work that you enjoy, or the garden, nature, your family and friends.

Tags: Family, Life, Work

If your work is done on the phone, then surely you can set up some kind of wireless system. If your work involves reading or writing reports, then this too could be done outside.

Tags: Done, Work, Writing

In both word and deed, one of the greatest idlers of all time was John Lennon. In his songs we see repeated defences of simply lying around doing nothing.

Tags: Greatest, Time, Word

Indolence, of course, is an absolutely crucial part of the creative process: you do not find poets sitting in rows in cavernous word factories, staring at screens. They are rather to be found lolling on the sofa or strolling through the groves, nursing their melancholic temperaments and losing themselves in extended reveries.

Tags: Creative, Losing, Rather

It takes a while to master the art of hammock-lounging. At first I could only manage five minutes or so before I thought I ought to get out and go and help a child learn how to swim or something. But after observing the Mexicans' capability for staring into space for hours on end, I decided to put in some proper practice.

Tags: Art, End, Help

It's pretty obvious that Western lifestyles which rely on gigantic amounts of electricity use up far more resources than a subsistence-based life. A little more poverty would be a good thing.

Tags: Good, Life, Pretty

Long weekends at festivals, short weeks at home, all summer long: now that is surely preferable to the immense cost and headache of the nuclear family holiday in the sun?

Tags: Family, Home, Sun

Management gurus in general are, I think, best avoided. All too often they reduce your working life to a list of rules to be followed. Targets are aimed at. Goals kicked at. You then break the rules or forget them and, hey presto, you start beating yourself up.

Tags: Best, Life, Yourself

My hope is that flexible working and varying shift patterns will give workers a taste for idling and that they will gradually demand greater reductions in the length of the working week.

Tags: Give, Hope, Working

Now I'm no biologist, but it seems to make a lot of sense that slow lives, as well as being enjoyable, are long lives. One only has to think of the example of the tortoise for proof of this theory from the animal world.

Tags: Lives, Seems, Sense

Of all the depressing abuses of language in business, there is none that gets me so incensed as the rampant overuse of the word 'passionate' in company slogans, marketing blurbs, mission statements and on the sides of vans.

Tags: Business, Language, Word

On bikeback, there is a delightful sense of self-direction and autonomy. Lately, I have taken to cycling slowly, more fun than the fast, competitive commuter cycling I used to do. No longer do I jump lights or attempt that irritating wobbling thing that semi-professional cyclists like to indulge in.

Tags: Fun, Sense, Used

Once you explore life outside of work, it becomes addictive. The less you work, the less you want to work. At first, the odd afternoon off seems like a fantastic luxury. Before long, you are opting for a four-day week. Then a four-day week becomes an intolerable demand on your time, so you find a way of moving to a three-day week.

Tags: Life, Time, Work

Poetry, being supremely useless, by its very existence represents a protest against the so-called 'real world' of busy-ness and moneymaking, so we must embrace, salute and support our poets.

Tags: Against, Poetry, Real

Punk was a protest against work and against boredom. It was a sign of life, a rant, a scream, a rejection of bourgeois morals. But have things improved since then? Arguably, they've got worse.

Tags: Life, Rejection, Work

Surely, anyway, a working day of eight or nine hours which is not split by a nap is simply too much for a human being to take, day in, day out, and particularly so in hot weather.

Tags: Human, Weather, Working

The siesta provides a delightful detour from the working day and it also has a practical value as far as productivity is concerned. Winston Churchill had a good long siesta every day during the Second World War, and he said it was the thing that enabled him to cope with the pressure.

Tags: Good, Him, War

The world's richest half billion people - that's about seven per cent of the global population - are responsible for fifty per cent of the world's emissions.

Tags: Half, Population, Seven

These days we seem more bound to our bosses than ever before. We even identify our own selves with the jobs we do: 'What do you do?' is the first question we ask each other at parties, as if a job title could express a fundamental truth about our personality.

Tags: Job, Question, Truth

Truly, the bench is a boon to idlers. Whoever first came up with the idea is a genius: free public resting places where you can take time out from the bustle and brouhaha of the city, and simply sit and watch and reflect.

Tags: Free, Idea, Time

We can live frugally. The less you work, the less you spend and the more time you have for loafing about. But when I put forward this simple notion, I was greeted with a volley of resentment.

Tags: Forward, Time, Work

We have to wonder whether digital technology, rather than making it easier to communicate, is actually doing the opposite. We now sit alone at a keyboard, firing off zeros and ones into the ether. Offices are silent.

Tags: Alone, Rather, Technology

We no longer sing and dance. We don't know how to. Instead, we watch other people sing and dance on the television screen. Christmas, which was once a festival of active enjoyment, has turned into a binge of purely passive pleasures.

Tags: Dance, Once

We think we have to work because the advertising industry has elevated wants into needs. The newspapers and the television batter us incessantly with the latest 'must-haves', whether that's shoes, videogames or patio heaters. As a result, mums think they 'have' to work at Tesco in order to buy expensive trainers.

Tags: Shoes, Whether, Work

What is required as we travel towards full unemployment is not new legislation but a gradual change of mental attitude, a shift in values. As our taste for idling grows, we will refuse to work for old-fashioned bosses who demand a five-day, 40-hour, nine-to-five type week, or worse.

Tags: Attitude, Change, Work

When stuck years ago in a job I hated, my only friend was the public bench. As the tedious mornings dragged on, how I would long for the lunch hour, when I would be able to escape the torture of the office and stroll over to the churchyard and into the comforting wooden embrace of one of its benches.

Tags: Able, Friend, Job

When we are busy at work and busy at home, an hour's walking every day becomes a real luxury. If done alone, the walk injects a period of meditation into the day, and if done in company, it allows space for some really good conversation.

Tags: Good, Home, Work

Working is bad enough in the winter, but in the summer it can become completely intolerable. Stuck in airless offices, every fibre of our being seems to cry out for freedom. We're reminded of being stuck in double maths while the birds sing outside.

Tags: Bad, Enough, Freedom

There's nothing new about anti-work philosophy. History is dotted with individuals and groups who decided that laziness was next to godliness and work was a waste of time.

Tags: History, Time, Work

Laziness works. And the simple way to incorporate its health benefits into your life is simply to take a nap.

Tags: Health, Life, Simple

The reason laziness is rarely pushed as a lifestyle option is down to one simple reason: money. There are fortunes to be made out of active lifestyles. Gyms charge fees. But no one is going to make money out of sleep. It is free.

Tags: Money, Simple, Sleep

The terrible thing about the Internet and Amazon is that they take the magic and happy chaos out of book shopping. The Internet might give you what you want, but it won't give you what you need.

Tags: Book, Give, Happy

All of our technology is completely unnecessary to a happy life.

Tags: Happy, Life, Technology

All poets are idlers, even if all idlers are not poets.

Tags: Poets

Although I played a lot of computer games in my 20s, now I have children of my own, I hate them with a passion.

Tags: Children, Hate, Passion

Am I the only person in the world who is shocked and amazed at the ongoing flattery of uebergeek Mark Zuckerberg?

Tags: Flattery, Mark, Shocked

Beauty, pleasure, freedom and plenty of sleep: these are the hallmarks of a successful idler's break. Travel should not be hard work.

Tags: Beauty, Freedom, Work

Both on an individual and a national scale, debt imprisons.

Tags: Both, Debt, Individual

Computers tend to separate us from each other - Mum's on the laptop, Dad's on the iPad, teenagers are on Facebook, toddlers are on the DS, and so on.

Tags: Computers, Dad, Teenagers

Doing something you enjoy at times of your own choosing and making a living from it: now tell me, is that work?

Tags: Enjoy, Living, Work

Faffing, of course, does not fit the programme. We are supposed to be busy, productive citizens.

Tags: Busy, Fit, Productive

I love the 19th-century idea of the flaneur, the poet wandering through the streets.

Tags: Idea, Love, Poet

I seethe at the humiliation of airport security checks.

Tags: Airport, Checks, Security

I suddenly realised, hey, I'm not a lazy idiot, I'm an idler! It's something to aspire to, it's part of the creative process! That's fantastic!

Tags: Creative, Idiot, Lazy

Idleness allows you to turn a situation from boredom to pleasure.

Tags: Boredom, Situation, Turn

If we are to make life into a pleasure rather than a struggle, then I would suggest that we have to start with our own mental attitudes.

Tags: Life, Start, Struggle

If you can find a way to make a living doing something you enjoy, or a range of things that you enjoy, then it can scarcely be called work.

Tags: Enjoy, Living, Work

In this age of getting what you want and getting it now, the simple pleasure of browsing is often forgotten.

Tags: Age, Often, Simple