Murro Van Meter
Don’t think — just draw.
Drawing is found, not sought. It emerges, perhaps not easily, but directly, from the well of the
unconscious. It may be elaborated or distorted by the exercise of conscious skill, but there is no
evidence to show that as a result the drawing ever gains in its power.
The art of drawing is true only when completely emancipated from the prejudice of naturalism
and technique. Nothing could be more futile and unnecessary than art concerned exclusively
with the rendering of some aspect of natural fact such as effects of light, space, color, mass,
solidity. Mastering technique does not necessarily produce a drawing of artistic interest. The
notion that a work of art can be created by observing a set of rules is only to be compared with
the notion that something as miraculous and unique as a human being could be produced with
just the right combination of chemicals if one just followed the rules. It is the artist’s challenge
to let go of the external, the symbols, the rules, the expectations and to relax and allow the
drawing to arrive.
The aesthetic values of a drawing are not objective values. They are not artistic values. They do
not belong to the drawing but rather to the person. Like the pitch of a voice, the 'hand' in
handwriting or even the gait in walking, they are the expression of a personality, a mentality, a
spirit. The artist toils to express certain sensations of what it means to be human and he should
not to be judged by the manner in which he uses the medium but by the success with which he
conveys the sensations. What an artist offers to society is some knowledge of the secrets to
which he has access, the secrets of the self which are buried in every man alike. This self is not
the personal possession we imagine it to be; it is largely made up of elements from the
unconscious a collective body of common sentiments.
I have only a passing acquaintance with the world of symbols. Instead, I live in a world of
images, music, fragrances, and touch. But mostly images. These images have become part of
my existence. The food we eat, to become energy, is completely transformed by the process of
metabolism. We do not become the food we eat. Rather the food turns into us. Likewise,
images are taken in and become part of one’s entirety. They become like dreams. When I draw,
I access the subconscious accumulation of images, knowledge, experience , my very being.
I draw because I am compelled to draw, and not for any reason. I don’t draw with a narrative, to
make a political statement, or to represent something perceived to be real. I don’t draw for the
marketplace, for fame and fortune, or to please some individual who needs to be impressed. All
those endeavors are just drawing symbols of one form or another. I draw only to make visual
sense of the world as I see it. I know that a drawing makes visual sense if and when it looks right
to me. I know it’s good when I come back to it in a couple of weeks and think to myself, “Who
drew that? - could not have been me.” Those are the drawings I can look at for a long time.
Yes, there may be a reality out there, but it’s probably not what you think it is. The real is just a
beginning, but it is a beginning.
Don’t think — just draw.