We Choose To Be Painters!

Stone age Lascaux cave painting by a Cro-Magnon artist. Image: French Ministry of Culture.

It is a sin and a shame when fellow artists and others who should know better, say that “painting is dead.” The first artistic impulse of Paleolithic humans was to paint realistic images of animals on cave walls.

There are such paintings in Lascaux France believed to be over 17,000 years old, and up to the very present humans continue the activity of drawing and painting.

Give to a child who is too young to have mastered language a set of crayons and they’ll strive to draw a realistic image. It is a trait that makes us human, and one not likely to be abandoned just because someone believes they can make better art with a video camera.

In an interview with NY Arts Magazine in October 2004, contemporary painter Terry Marks uttered what is surely to become one of the more memorable quotes concerning the revival of figurative realist painting. I only wish I had said the following:

“We choose to be painters, but not as if rock & roll, television, cars, cinema, jazz, and the whole 20th century never happened. We’re saying, let’s use paint to describe our lives now.”

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