"The plant is not a mere product of the soil, but a living process centred in itself, the essence of which has nothing to do with the character of the soil. In the same way the art-work must be regarded as a creative formation, freely making use of every precondition. Its meaning and its own individual particularity rests in itself, and not in its preconditions. In fact one might also describe it as a being that uses man and his personal dispositions merely as a cultural medium or soil, disposing his powers according to his own laws, while shaping itself to the fulfillment of its own creative purpose."
"The point of view of art and that of life are different even in the artist himself. Art flies around truth, but with the definiteintention of not getting burnt. Its capacity lies in finding in the dark void a place where the beam of light can be intensely caught, without this having been perceptible before."
"Popular art is dominated throughout by the star system, not only in its actors but in all its elements, whatever the medium. Everywork of art, to be sure, has its dominant elements, to which the rest are subordinate. But in popular art it is the dominant ones alone that are the objects of interest, the ground of its satisfaction. By contrast, great art is in this sense pointless; everything in it is significant, everything makes its own contribution to the aesthetic substance. The domain of popular art is, paradoxically, an aristocracy, as it were: some few elements are singled out as the carriers of whatever meaning the work has while the rest are submerged into an anonymous mass. The life of the country is reduced to the mannered gestures of its king. It is this that gives the effect of simplification and standardization."
"Life baffles and seems almost to mock. It refuses long to remain consistently one thing or another and it seldom puts us into onemood without violating it soon after. But Art, seeming to have for human dignity a respect which Life consistently lacks, grants us at least our right to sorrow fully and freely when sorrow is called for or to laugh our laugh out when laughter is appropriate. The artist selects and classifies what nature mingles in a hideous confusion and in doing so he is, in one of his many ways, adapting the universe to our minds by presenting it in an order which our emotions can follow."
"You know, I often thought that the gangster and the artist are the same in the eyes of the masses. They're admired and hero-worshipped but there is always present underlying desire to see them destroyed at the peak of their glory."
"I always say, my motto is "Art for my sake." If I want to write, I write--and if I don't want to, I won't. The difficulty is to find exactly the form one's passion--work is produced by passion with me ... Mwants to take."