Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Architecture of Art

I'm currently reading Mark Z. Danielewski's House of Leaves for the second time.. really love the following section:

"There are seven incarnations (and six correlates) necessary to becoming an Artist: 
1. Explorer (Courage) 2. Surveyor (Vision) 3. Miner (Strength) 4. Refiner (Patience) 5. Designer (Intelligence) 6. Maker (Experience) 7. Artist.   First, you must leave the safety of your home and go into the dangers of the world, whether to an actual territory or some unexamined aspect of the psyche. This is what is meant by 'Explorer.'  Next, you must have the vision to recognize your destination once you arrive there. Note that a destination may sometimes also be the journey. This is what is meant by 'Surveyor.'  Third, you must be strong enough to dig up facts, follow veins of history, unearth telling details. This is what is meant by 'Miner.' Fourth, you must have the patience to winnow and process your material into something rare. This may take months or even years.  And this is what is meant by 'Refiner.' Fifth, you must use your intellect to conceive of your material as something meaning more than its origins. This is what is meant by 'Designer.' Six, you must fashion a work independent of everything that has gone before it including yourself. This is accomplished through experience and is what is meant by 'Maker.' At this stage, the work is acceptable. You will be fortunate to have progressed so far. It is unlikely, however, that you will go any farther. Most do not. But let us assume you are exceptional. Let us assume you are rare. What then does it mean to reach the final incarnation?  Only this: at every stage, from 1 thru 6, you will risk more, see more, gather more, process more, fashion more, consider more, love more, suffer more, imagine more and in the end know why less means more and leave what doesn't and keep what implies and create what matters. This is what is meant by 'Artist.' 

(Cassandra Rissman LaRue, The Architecture of Art, Shambhala Publications, 1971 p.139; Mark Z. Danielewski, House of Leaves, Patheon Publications, 2000 p. 420)


  1. I am at the exact spot in 'House of Leaves' and I loved the section too.
    Shame that LaRue and the book do not exist :)

  2. They do exist. It was written. It was read. It exists.