Sean Scully: If you’re plotting art, and trying to make something to get something, you’re not in a state of creative innocence. You’re not making art. You’re doing something else.

“Abstract painter Sean Scully may have been born in Dublin, but for the past few years he has lived in southern Germany � where, he says, the rural scenery has changed forever the urban texture of his art. Guardian filmmaker Laurence Topham is given rare access to his studio, where Scully discusses the intimate struggle to paint, his new exhibition in Ludwigshafen and how it feels to be a father in his 60s.” (via  The Garage Studios and  The Guardian)

This video is fascinating. If you’re interested in other painters’ process, don’t miss the part toward the end where Scully starts putting paint on canvas. Painter Liliane Tomasko (b. 1967) is toddler Oisin’s  mother.

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  1. Brilliant! He paints so honestly and speaks so truthfully. 🙂 Thanks for this post.

  2. Fantastic! Thanks for posting! Not only does this change my perception of Scully's work (who I never was much into) but as a painter myself it's great to hear him talk very vulnerably. That's always reassuring!

  3. But he IS plotting art, isn't he? The grid format has been reticulated by Mr. Scully over hundreds, if not thousands of works. He varies these quite modestly and has put the big challenges and surprises of drawing and imagery into the margins. His words, new studio and family are lovely, but we must focus on the work itself without the prejudices of a film director and see nothing of his claims for it (these should come from others and not the artist, anyway).

  4. I see your point 'Anon'. But it's hard to view any artist so successful in the industry as pure and not "plotting". At that point you're as much a business owner-operator as you are an artist. And don't forget he's had years to think about the way he paints. I don't think he's claiming to have done anything "new" but instead trying to admit he isn't putting on a front.

  5. Sean Scully-salesman of the year.
    I got one idea from Frank Stella; I painted it so many times I think its my own!
    Sean Scully: If you're plotting art, and trying to make something to get something, you're not in a state of creative innocence. You're not making art. You're doing something else.
    It's called being a hypocrite.

  6. Wonderful post. Thanks for sharing.

  7. I'm reminded of John Hoyland, who I think Sean would acknowledge and who is someone who has done a lot more with less.

    I am at a complete loss to see what people see in him though I struggle to find anything new interesting these days.

    ….It's just all so repeaty.

  8. Deepest respect, thanks for posting this wonderful video.

  9. My deepest respect for a great artist, thank you for this video, well done.

  10. is all that considered to be good painting or just a succesful life plan?

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