If Artists Were Resolutions

Stepping into a new year with fresh ambitions and a list of resolutions to – hopefully – stick with.

Stepping into a new year with fresh ambitions and a list of resolutions to – hopefully – stick with.

David HockneyPool Made with Paper and Blue Ink for Book, from Paper Pools, 1980. Editions London.

Ahead of the 19-20 January Evening & Day Editions Sales, we take inspiration from some of our favorite works in the collection for creative resolutions to ring in 2022 with aplomb. 

 

David Hockney: Become a morning person

Waking up early is a bit of a gateway resolution, isn't it? The ad writes itself: A day of ten thousand steps begins with the first one out of bed. There'd be enough hours in the day if, well, you spent more time conscious, but don't make it a thing; don't base your whole personality around being someone who wakes up early. Take in the morning sun. Have a few laps in the pool. Drink more water, but for heaven's sake don't get one of those peppy canisters that say You got this! and Almost there! You're a person, not a marathon sign. Actually, there's a thought: You'd have more time to be angry if you got up earlier, but then again, maybe you wouldn't be so angry if your day had a bit more structure to it. Time to find out. Take a page out of Hockney's book and embrace the light of dawn. 

Banksy, Love is in the Air, 2003. Editions London. 

Banksy: Stop and smell the roses 

It turns out that spending all day watching the news and doomscrolling through feeds and listening to sad songs isn't that great for one's image of the world. Banksy reminds us that away from the gloomy headlines and all-consuming screens there's a flower growing somewhere in a park where you can have lunch without staring at your phone for a few minutes. They used to call it people-watching before it rebranded to content curating. It was a pastime, just like taking a walk or sitting on a bench by the river and letting the breeze cool you down. There truly is no feeling like accidentally feeling good for once. 

Henri Matisse, La Danse, 1935-36. Editions London. 

Henri Matisse: Be more present, but let yourself daydream

Resolutions in the time of Covid tend to fall a little flat when it comes to topical advice. Case in point, most articles will tell you to do something silly like wear something nice on the Zoom call, even if your coworkers can't see so you feel more put-together. If Matisse teaches us anything, it's that pants are strictly optional. It can, however, be easy to fall into the passive habit of coasting through days while working from home, so do make it a point to be in the moment when it matters, but still give yourself some time to look out the window and ponder the birds. Inspiration strikes where it pleases. 

Joan MiroEl Innocente (The Innocent): one plate, 1974. Editions London.

Joan Miró: Finish what you start 

Maybe it's a few chapters in an old Word document, or a half-built lamp that's finding its way deeper and deeper into the hallway closet, but a tell-tale heart still beats when the laptop is closed and the house lights are off. Projects have a way of going from full bore to full of bore quite quickly when life gets in the way. Let 2022 be the year you acknowledge that the real reason you aren't finishing things is because you expect them to be frictionless and perfect on the first try. Let the process be the practice. Learn from repetition. The end result can be imperfect, innocent even, but the goal is the goal, and getting there is easier when you realize that mistakes and do-overs are par for the course. 

Jonas Wood, Untitled (Basketball Wallpaper), 2013. Editions London. 

Jonas Wood: Rediscover a passion

A periodic reminder that Spud Webb was 5'6 and could dunk a basketball. Not only that – the man won the 1986 NBA Slam Dunk Contest against his 6'8 teammate and champion of the previous year, Dominique Wilkins. This isn't to say that you're ready to storm the park court on January 2nd and go hard in the paint – please think of your knees – but you may remember a time when you did something for the love of the game, and it's time to rediscover that thing. Whether it's a sport, a collection, or a creative outlet, approach it with the vigor of youth and the mindfulness of age, and if you're going to drive the lane and go for the dunk, savor the moment, that mid-flight half a second, when everything is possible and you're a kid again, because the landing might not be graceful, but you found that magic again. 

 

 

William Kentridge, Partage, 2000. Editions London.

William Kentridge: Read a book a week

It's a Catch-22: Yes, that's 52 books. On the other hand, you get three weeks of vacation, so that's 49. Take into account the December holidays, when you don't have a moment to breathe; let's call that five weeks. Now we're at 44. It'll take you a month or two to get used to waking up early, that's another eight down. You have to account for a sick week, too. Then the kids are on vacation from June to September, and that brings us to the low 20s. Work gets very busy in the spring; nothing you can do about that; that knocks out April and May. What are we at now, around 10? Seems more doable. Oh, right, you took the kids to see the Kentridge print exhibition and they got inspired to draw all over your to-read pile. The supply chain is a mess; it'll take a good month for the replacements to arrive from overseas. Factor in a destination wedding you forgot about, a couple of three day weekends upstate, and some admin time and you're at what, one week of cumulative free time? Perfect, then – one book for one week of free time is a 100% record. Even if you had 52 weeks, no one one would believe you did it, so consider this resolution kept. 

 

 

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