A Volume of Timeless Wisdom for Artists to Consult Like an Oracle

Why do young artists struggle to find their voices? Walter Darby Bannard, a renowned teacher, critic, and internationally exhibited painter, contemplated that question for more than two decades. At the urging of one of his former students, Bannard set down his thoughts in a short book, Aphorisms for Artists: 100 Ways Toward Better Art. It is at once a volume of practical art-making wisdom and an engaging piece of personal philosophy, both wry and readable.

Open to any page, and you'll find a memorable gem of wisdom, followed by a brief expansion by Bannard that adds more insight. It is a necessary reference to keep on hand in the studio, and a perfect gift for the aspiring artist to read and re-read, and to consult at times of artistic troubles.


"I’m always up for an aphorism! And these are great.”—Laurie Anderson

“Darby Bannard’s Aphorisms for Artists is exactly what one might expect—super-intelligent, pithy, vivid, wise, and taking no prisoners. Anyone lucky enough to have known Darby will recognize his inimitable voice.”—Michael Fried, author of Art and Objecthood

“Darby Bannard was a fiercely intelligent, deeply knowledgeable, inventive abstract painter. He was also an influential teacher, and a splendid critic and writer about art, with a wicked wit, capable of summing up and often skewering whole movements with a pointed phrase. While he was intolerant of one-liner art, his condensed critical observations are illuminating and memorable. Reading his aphorisms brings this smart, articulate, gifted artist back to vivid life.”—Karen Wilkin, critic and curator
“From the outrageous, to the benign, to the wonderfully insightful, Walter Darby Bannard’s aphorisms are provocations for 100 never-ending—and absolutely essential—arguments about art. Quote one of ’em at an artists’ bar, and you’re there for the night—buying a few rounds when you lose.”—Peter Plagens, artist and critic
Aphorisms for Artists compiles Bannard’s short, cogent messages for artists and art enthusiasts of all ilk, to help us grasp something that is often too ephemeral for words. I find myself coming back to them time and time again, especially ‘Art is as persistent as it is fragile.’ I am confident that Aphorisms for Artists will inspire, and with each read we will understand more about the value of art, ‘telling us what’s good about us.’”—Mark Golden, Golden Artist Colors

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