View Full Version : John Olsen: ABC1, 12/8/08; and ABC1, 5/8/08

August 18th, 2008, 04:03 AM
In the last ten days I have seen John Olsen on television twice. He was described, among other things, as “Australia’s greatest living artist.” He certainly had some things to say about art and creative experience which are relevant to my own activity as a writer and the way I go about my creative life with words. In the act of writing, one thing leads to another and what goes down on paper can not be planned, Olsen stressed. He also placed character far above talent and exploration, feeling and the ability to look both into the past and into the future as critical determinants of artistic success. For Olsen painting was a means to self-enlightenment; for me this is true of writing.-Ron Price with thanks to ABC1, 12 August 2008, 10:00-10:30 p.m.; and ABC1, 5 August 2008, 6:50-7:00 p.m.:)

In some ways these prose-poems
possess unifying qualities that are
found in artists’ journals. Daily
life and digressions into religion,
philosophy, history, aesthetics
are found. Daily life is an aide-
memoire, a factual base, context
for my own insight into creative
processes, into mystical bonding
of the spirit, into private encounter
and collaborations with chance,
accident, autonomous and quite
mysterious principles while I am
immersed in a world of ideas,
their endless divertissements
and dialogues with the external
and internal world which just
take over in idiosyncratic ways,
strange blends, fragments which
I join together becoming more
than minutiae, but parts of a record
of a military, exacting and precise
campaign to get the micro and macro
together into my settled daily life without
which a sustained outpouring of work,
my continued productivity is not possible.1

1 Sasha Grishin, “John Olsen’s and John Wolseley’s Journals,” see the internet at: www.timolsengallery.com/pages/articles

Ron Price
14 August 2008