Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Ars longa, vita brevis…

I have long been fascinated by the fact that the majority of information that we have about ancient societies from around the world comes from the study of their art.

Fortunately for us, art somehow, and at times miraculously, manages to survive. War, pillaging, earthquakes, tsunamis, plague, famine, volcanoes all seem no more troublesome than an annoying visit from a fly at a picnic to art. A simply wave of the hand, or perhaps in the case, the brush, is all that is needed to swat away the pesky intruder.

While humanity may vanish, fall, or be displaced, art seems to remain steadfast and true quietly and patiently waiting in airless tombs, beneath mountains of rubble, or on the walls of an undiscovered caves waiting to reenter the spotlight. A bit worn around the edges certainly, but, once carefully cleaned, restored and studied, it becomes a treasure trove of information sparkling with wisdom like the twinkling of a distant star.

Taking the historic dimensions of art into account, it was with great pleasure that I came across Steve Cohen’s article, "The Gross Clinic Restored" in the latest issue of the The Broad Street Review. Of course, the article references the 1875 masterpiece painted by the fascinating, and at the time controversial, Thomas Eakins.


(Thomas Eakins Carrying a Woman, 1885. Photograph, circle of Eakins.)

The amazing work which has been restored and is now on display through January 9, 2011 at the Pearlman Building, Philadelphia Museum of Art (Ben Franklin Parkway and 26th St. (215) 763-8100 or and  after January 9, 2011 at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (Broad and Cherry Sts. is described in Wikipedia’s entry as having “an important place documenting the history of medicine—both because it honors the emergence of surgery as a healing profession (previously, surgery was associated primarily with amputation), and because it shows us what the surgical theater looked like in the nineteenth century.”


Beyond the painting’s undeniable historic significance, the work itself is masterfully executed (a detailed version maybe found online here). The composition, the muted sunlight filtered through an overhead skylight (at that time, surgery was only scheduled between 11 A.M. and 2 P.M., when the sun was high), the flowing blood and open cut, the expressions of those involved in the surgery and those watching and taking notes, the shadowed figures (including one woman anxiously hanging onto a wall for support) in the background – all work in unison to create a truly astounding work of art.

In case the historic significance of the work is lost on you initially, Cohen also wisely mentions in his article that a “fascinating contrast is seen in The Agnew Clinic, which Eakins created 14 years later. That painting chronicles the use of electric lights, the presence of a female assisting the surgeon, and white gowns and sterilized instruments in a covered case”. What a difference 14 years make, eh?


What I personally take from the work is my own bit of history. As a young child, this painting absolutely fascinated me when I came across it in the yellowed pages of an ancient set of encyclopedias that had been passed down from my grandfather. It wasn’t the story that was being documented that fascinated me, it was the work of art itself. I can honestly say that this was among a handful of works that inspired me to live my life making art.  As a child, I somehow knew instinctively that this was a monumental work of art at the the person who created it must have been very gifted indeed. Eakins managed to become the equivalent of an artistic superman to me - one of many over the years, but certainly of of the first.

Childhood art fantasies aside, one of the most beautiful aspects of art is that fact that an artist never knows initially whom may be inspired by it, or , in context of this blog entry, what its historic impact may be years down the road.

As Hippocrates once said - “Ars longa, vita brevis”. Art is long, life is short. . .

Friday, July 23, 2010

New work. . .

Here’s a sneak peek at some of the work I’ll be featuring tonight in the Spectacle Art Event at the Echelon Design Center in Rehoboth Beach.


For more information – visit

thetrio The Trio
8” x 8”
acrylic and mixed media on canvas

12” x 12”
acrylic and mixed media on canvas

16” x 20”
acrylic and mixed media on canvas

11” x 13”
acrylic and mixed media on canvas

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Letter. . .

(I’ve decided to start posting short stories that I write inspired by vintage photographs from on Fridays. Over the last 5 years, I have done so on this blog on occasion under the title “Flickr Fiction Fridays”. I think it’s high time I bring the notion back. Though today is Thursday, I have a wildly busy day tomorrow and decided to jump the gun so to speak. I get permission from the members who own the images to use the photographs in the stories, and I ask that if you repost this story, that you give credit where credit is due as I have done with the photo).


Photo courtesy and copyright of user Tastevick. Used by permission.

The Letter. . .
© Michael Sprouse, 2010

Jenny knew it would come to this eventually - an awkward silence between two adult women peppered only by sounds of the rustling leaves set aquiver by the heated August breeze, the muffled warbling from a few lethargic birds, and the softened laughter from the children grasping with lemonade sticky fingertips at the downy dandelion tops that seemed to flow like a misty river in every direction from around the picnic area.

For a moment, she envied their innocence, their naiveté. She wanted to join them, wide-eyed and giggling. She wanted to be one of them, be with them, be anywhere but here at this moment. As quickly as the children's voices had appeared, they faded.

As the fog of her useless wishes cleared, she found herself exactly what she had been but a tiny moment earlier - a silent, pensive woman waiting for something, anything, to happen.

Jenny felt ill. Quietly and quickly, she raised her hand to her mouth in an unconscious movement that could have passed as a moment of deep thought to others, but it her it had been instinctive, doing so to delay any possible physical effect from her churning ocean of a stomach. Though her body seemed as steadfastly frozen as an ancient statue, she felt as if she could actually feel her teeth trembling in her closed mouth behind her hand and it unnerved her even more.

It was impossible. How could have Lorraine discovered the information on her own? The thought pierced her mind like the sudden falling of an icicle freed from the darkness of a hidden eave. Someone must have told her, but who? And how? How could anyone have known? Who had betrayed her betrayal of Lorraine?

There was that word again - betrayal. Suddenly, it didn't seem to matter what had been said and to whom. It changed nothing. 25 years of silent acceptance had aged into 25 years of a fading memory that had now burst open like a spoiled egg bravely poked with a gnarled twig. Jenny realized that how Lorraine had discovered the event didn't matter as much as what she had discovered did.

Or did it? It was 25 years ago for Christ sake! Gary has been dead for five years. Five years! None of this matters. None of it. It was just a stupid, stupid youthful mistake.

That Jenny knew for certain. It was a mistake. A massive mistake. A mistake that she had quietly and neatly placed on the most dusty, unvisited, and forgotten shelf of her mind.

That sweet vanilla scented summer night, the moon, the peppery taste of homemade wine. Gary's eyes. Oh God his eyes. Swirls of icy blue and sweet cream. And the kiss. His kiss to me. The kiss of a lifetime. Never before had she been kissed like that and never since…

For a nanosecond, beneath the hand she still held against her trembling mouth, she felt as if she could sense his lips pressed upon on hers once again. She had been infatuated with Gary from the day she first met he and Lorraine so long ago in the summer of '20.

We were all so young, so very young. Though she and Lorraine had become quick friends, she could never understand why Gary had married her. Lorraine she seemed wise beyond her years but she was as plain as a crust of bread. And, of course, as Jenny later learned, unable to bear children.

Maybe it was her wisdom. Her uncanny sense of knowing. "I'll ask Lorraine," he'd say. "She'll know what to do. She always does, God love her." How many times did I hear him say that? Unusual for a man, but, then again, she always did know what to do, didn't she?

Then came the rest of the memory - that hot summer weekend that Lorraine was called away to tend to her ailing sister, Gary's unexpected arrival at her front door at 10:15 in the evening. His beautiful eyes misted and wild from too much homemade blackberry wine. His full, flushed lips sparkled with the yellow light of the full moon like hopeful fireflies dancing upon every word he spoke.

He was drunk. I was a fool not to notice - or to care. The next thing I remember, well, I was tipsy too. His lips. Sparkle, sparkle. Please, Gary, don't. No, you may not kiss me, I can't. Oh, Gary, please. I, but Lorraine. I just.

I. Just…

Sparkle. Sparkle.

She recalled more. The sun rise. The shame. Diverted eyes. Hushed tones. The talking around it. And worse later. The sense of something not quite right. The sickness. The confirmation. The decision. The soul wrenching, inevitable decision.

The blood. The blood. The blood...

"Jenny." Lorraine's voice broke the silence like a hard slap across the face.

But there was no slap. There was only Lorraine slowly reaching for Jenny's hand. As Lorraine moved Betty's hand from her face, she was taken at the gentleness of Lorraine's touch. Like Gary's kiss.

Jenny, still frozen in silence, watched as Lorraine then led the hand between them both and quietly pried it open with the softness of a newly hatched chick.

Jenny, motionless but with her hand now open and palm up, followed Lorraine's movements with her eyes as Lorraine placed her own open hand atop of Jenny's covering her palm. She felt something papery between them that seemed to have the size and feel of an envelope.

For what seemed like a millennia, Jenny slowly raised her eyes from their crossed hands and looked directly into the eyes of her best friend for the last 20 something years.

"Jenny," slowly spoke Lorraine, as if to ensure Jenny realized each word.

"I understand this. I understand all of this. I just want you to know that. Thank you. I love you. I'll be in touch."

And with that, Jenny watched as Gary's widow turned and quietly, stoically walked into the dusk toward the direction of her farm.

Jenny looked into her hand and recognized the handwriting on the envelope immediately. It was Gary's.

To be opened on the fifth anniversary of my death. . .

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Be creative every day. . .


While it’s possible that over the last 5 years of this blog’s history, that I’ve touched upon this topic before, I recently had another opportunity to understand it’s relevance. Whether you work in the arts or not, I think it is important to do something creative every single day.

It can run from something as simple as swirling your initials into the butter on your toast to as complex as composing your next piano concerto – it doesn't matter. Strive to do something, anything, creatively every day.

Humans have a wonderfully unique ability to be creative, we have imaginations. According to Wikipedia, imagination is the ability of forming mental images, sensations and concepts, in a moment when they are not perceived through sight, hearing or other senses. Imagination is the work of the mind that helps create fantasy. Imagination helps provide meaning to experience and understanding to knowledge; it is a fundamental facility through which people make sense of the world.  It sounds close to magical doesn’t it?

Without our imaginations, we would live in a very drab and dull world indeed. If you don’t take even just a few moments a day to use this gift, it will fade like a rainbow leaving you but clinging to the the output of others’ imaginations like the victim of a sunken ship clutching onto flotsam adrift in an cold, gray, ocean of mediocrity.

So read, or better yet, write a poem during lunch, or put a funky ribbon in your hair, or make a sketch of your cat, or take a walk and bring your camera, make something exotic for dinner or wear something exotic to bed. It doesn't matter what it is – just do it creatively. Every day. And you’ll see your world transform. . .


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Artists - focus on what you want!


I’ve been reading quite a bit lately about manifestation and the “Law of Attraction” (from Wikipedia - used widely by New Thought writers, refers to the idea that thoughts influence chance. The Law of Attraction argues that thoughts (both conscious and unconscious) can affect things outside the head, not just through motivation, but by other means. The Law of Attraction says that which is like unto itself is drawn).

While I still am considering the pros and cons of the information, I did run across a phrase the other day that rang true to me. Focus on what you want, and not on what you don’t want.

I started thinking about this phrase in connection to making art, and I realized that, for the most part, I, like every other artist that I have ever known or am aware of, follows this law during the creation process whether they are aware of it or not, and, whether they want to or not.

While there may be some who disagree with me, I don’t think it’s possible to make art while not, at least for a large percentage of the process, be thinking about what you want in connection to the work. Whether it is a nanosecond before the brush touches the canvas, the pen meets the paper, the foot finds the mark, the bow crosses the strings, or the chisel hits the slab or a month – part of the creation process is seeing in your mind what you are creating. An artist knows what he or she wants to create. I believe this is true even in the micro moments of creation that formulate improvisation whether it be in music, stand up comedy, theatre, painting (think Jackson Pollack), writing, or any artistic outlet. 


There are times when all artists will find themselves wonderfully caught “in the flow” when creating their work. It’s happened to myself and my contemporaries on countless occasions. It’s an incredible sensation of surrendering completely to the creative process in which it seems your body becomes more of a tool within that process and less of a separate and individual being. These are the moments that often standout in the psyche of the artist of times of great achievement.

But, when this sensation is pondered, where is the center of this flow? Where is the source of the artistic well spring? I believe it is from the psyche of the artist, deep within the creative resource of our minds. If this is true, then it must be that the desire to create the work is present first inevitably leading to that same desire being manifested into art, regardless of the process. I can’t think of any artist that creates work without thinking about the work they are creating. Mind you, these are often deep, multilayered, thoughts awash in artistic sensibilities, but, they are thoughts about creating/manifesting nevertheless. I can’t imagine that while Michelangelo was working on his masterpiece the
Pietà that he was adrift in thoughts about his dinner plans or what his weekend held in store. But, more importantly, he couldn’t have been thinking about not creating his work. It isn’t possible, in my opinion.

What’s my point here? Simply, if at some point you feel disillusioned with your art or uninspired, start thinking about what you want to see in your work and stop thinking about what you don’t want to see! You’ve already been doing that all along every time you have created work that left you feeling accomplished. You wouldn’t have been able to do so otherwise.

Thusly, if all of us artists out there have been using this “Manifestation/Law Of Attraction” process all along for eons, and we know, at least in that aspect, that it works as we all have the work to prove it, why couldn’t it work in the other aspects of our lives?

Now, go make some art!

Friday, July 16, 2010

New Glasses!


Once again, I’m very pleased with my latest frames that I purchased online from for a fraction of the costs of what you would pay at the local Vision store. I’m can’t remember the names of these, but they have a certain nouveau-retro Mad Men feel about them that I find hip.

Twitter 101 for Artists


A great friend for many years, brilliant attorney, and twitter whiz, Fred Abramson ( sent me a well worded list of advice to a recent question that I had regarding twitter. I’ve had a twitter account for about a year now, ( but it gas only been within the past few months that I’ve started to explore its essence and discover what a great tool it is on many levels. Especially for those in the arts where communication is key. I think his advice is spot on and I’m happy to share it here for those with an interest. . .

  1. Don't waste you time focusing on your numbers with Twitter. You have to think of Twitter like any other form of networking. Figure out who your target buyer is and follow them on Twitter. 90% of the time, they will follow you back. If they fail to follow you within a week stop following them. Go to friend or follow (google it) to un-follow.
  2. On Twitter, you should spend 50 percent of the time sending art links not related to you (like the Matisse review in today's NYT), 10 percent of your time on personal links (like your status updates on Facebook), another 10 percent promoting others (especially buyers) and the remainder of the time engaging other users (using @ and direct messages).
  3. It is vital to meet your twitter followers in real life. Invite your target to your art openings or other activities of interest.
  4. If you don't know who to target, I would suggest you should follow the followers of local art galleries, artists and museums. If you want national, the Met, Brooklyn Museum, Moma, etc are great places to begin. Look at the followers of art industry publications on Twitter. In New York, we also have TONY, New York Mag and the like.
  5. And finally, I would suggest that you don't follow more than 50 people a day. You don't want to look like a spammer.

Fred, thanks for the great starter tips. P.S. - I also discovered that placing a hash mark # in front key words in your tweets, which also help build your base – you can read more about that here -

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Really, there won't be. . .

BTW - TY Syd for pointing out my typo yesterday. There really won't be free hors at our Sept. Fall Into Jazz Event. Really there won't.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

“Do not draw your sword to kill a fly.” Korean Proverb


While I understand the immensely important position they hold on the food chain, I am here to proclaim quite simply, “I hate flies.”

I find them disgusting and intolerable, particularly when they are in my own home. I have had this hypersensitive revulsion to the flying filth freaks since I was a small child. I’m not sure why or when it started, but I do remember a school friend in 2nd grade informing me that she once ate dead flies from a window sill after mistaking them for raisons. I could never look at Raison Bran the same way after that. Two scoops? No thank you, please…

So, with my abhorrence of Musca domestica out of the bag so to speak, it has been to my great displeasure that the recent heat wave (and its still present after-waves) in combination with the high humidity, and just plain life at the beach in the summer, has produced an unusually high population of flies.

Ick. They are everywhere. Unfortunately for me, one particularly fond gathering spot for the loathsome wretches has been on the front porch area of my condo. So each time the front door opens, at least three or four enter with nano-second speed keeping me ever diligently on alert for their repulsive presence remaining never more than an arms reach from the fly swatter or tightly curled magazine.

But all of this changed three days ago. . .

Early Saturday afternoon as I was busy setting the stage for Christopher Peterson’s Eyecons - “Hooray For Hollywood” production that I stage manage at the Rehoboth Beach Theatre of the Arts, I stepped outside for a bit via the stage door which opens to a walkway that runs parallel to the theatre. Often, boxes of empty wine and beer bottles are temporarily kept there from the downstairs bar until they can be moved to the larger dumpster throughout the day. This collection had been a welcome buffet for the miscreants, and, being only a block from the boardwalk, there was no shortage of the creatures buzzing about in their quest for something vile to land upon.

But two things were different. One, there were no flies in the walkway that afternoon – which I found extraordinary and two, there were several, little, clear plastic bags filled with water and a few shiny, new pennies hanging from a handful of locations. At first, I thought that they were part of some ancient curse placed in the middle of the night by some embittered Eastern European recently fired waitress of which there are many in Rehoboth Beach during the summer. But, on closer inspection, they seemed too dainty and shiny to be part of a curse causing me to then think them some object of merriment or perhaps some visual clue for someone to follow like those silly games that drunken bridesmaids sometimes create for the bride to be during Bachelorette parties.

I asked one of the dancers from the show if he knew what they were, and he responded rather nonchalantly that they were to keep away the flies. . .

Wha? “Could this be true?” I asked myself. It seemed too bizarre to be. But, were there had been armies of flies were now only these water bags filled with shiny pennies. Amazed and on the verge of disbelief of my own senses, I made a quick mental note to investigate the act online when I returned home that evening.

There were countless mentions of the coins in the bag vs. flies online, but it seemed to be one of those you either believe it or you don’t situations. People either swore by it or totally disclaimed it with no in-between. But as I sat there reading the yeas and nays and swatting the latest flying raison away from my face, I decided in a “what the hell” moment to try it out. After all, I had a ziploc bags, water, twine, and a few shiny pennies – and, most importantly of all – a fly problem to address.

Early the next morning, I created my own fly-be-gone bag and, while whisking away an army of early morning flying shit-seekers, I tied it just beneath a wrought iron planter of ours filled with petunias.


I went inside and went about my day. About two hours later, I decided to investigate. To my amazement, where previously there had been anywhere from 10 to 20 flies, there were now none. Not one single fly.

That was Sunday morning and I am pleased to report, now that it is Tuesday at 10:30 AM, there are still no flies about my door and I have not had to use my fly swatter once since placing my bag of pennies.

Do I know how this works? Absolutely not. I have no idea at all. Online, there are many different explanations, with most centering around flies complex eyes and a disruption to their sun driven navigation system, but they were still a bit vague in the wording.

My partner finds it all a bit creepy and I guess it doesn’t help when I jokingly refer to it as Fly VooDoo, but, for what ever the reason, at least for the last few days, it does seem to work indeed. Will it last? Who knows. If not, Que Sera Sera, at least I’ve enjoyed my last few days of fly freedom.

I did find one link about it that seemed a bit more comprehensive than the others which you can read here:

Monday, July 12, 2010

Artistic Pessimism. . .


Over the last few weeks, I’ve noticed that many of the arts professionals that I end up having conversations with inevitably seem to go dark when it comes to the actual discussion of their work or the current state of their career. It didn’t seem to matter whether what branch of the arts they worked within. Painters, musicians, actors, dancers, producers – they all seemed to share a rather bleak outlook about, not necessarily  their work mind you, but the environment of the arts in general and how it seemed to be effecting them personally. Or, more true to the point, they just seemed to be focused on being unhappy. They were either unhappy with fellow artists, or galleries, or theatres, or management, or the public, ad infinitum.

I could feel the energy drain begin the moment the person with whom I was speaking took the conversation down that path. It was if my balloon of artistic verve had been pin- pricked throwing my mental warning siren switch to on like an unexpected fire alarm that jolts your being. 

Fortunately, as the unhappy artisan would drone on, I was able to create a mental wall so to speak that, while not literally blocking the words, did seem to filter out the dark vibe, patch the spot in the balloon, and most importantly, did fill my mind with steadfast knowledge that I was most decidedly not going to travel down that path with them. While they continued, rather than engage, encourage, and join rank with them, I just allowed them to speak. Quite frankly, I wasn’t really even registering their words most of the time. They seemed so cloaked with this pessimism that it must have seemed like the norm to them. Perhaps they had become so blinded by it, that they now felt that it was normal for artists to relate to each other through this heavy cloud of darkness.

What was also of interest, is that when I would attempt to pepper the conversation with bits of light that pointed out brighter aspects or alternatives – it would fall upon deaf ears. In fact, sometimes, the drone would continue as if I had said nothing at all and I could have been easily replaced with a cardboard cutout of myself.

My point to all of this is that I want the world to know that I quite simply don’t want to be engaged in this kind of conversation any longer. I’m not interested in artistic failures and bad experiences. I simply don’t want to hear about it and it is now my goal to take a firmer stand on this so don’t be surprised, art pessimists,  if you engage me in a dark and dour conversation when, not if mind you, I put a stop to it. Hopefully, you won’t be offended, and I’ll do my best to be kind. But, I want you to ask yourself before trying to pull me into your fog, is there really something that he can do to help this situation. If the answer is no, then find a new topic. If the answer is yes, then preface by saying so upfront. “I have this situation and I’m hoping that you may be able to help me.”

I think it is important for me to mention that one of the reasons that I feel so strongly about this is that I was once an art pessimist myself. Without going into details, I spent a year and a half working with an arts organization that created a dark monster within my artistic soul. Or, better yet, I should say that I allowed it to be created. Though I went in bright eyed, I unknowingly walked right into the middle of a thick fog of deceit, backstabbing, pessimism, doubt, lies, gossip, distrust and more. I made two major mistakes then. One was allowing myself to get caught up in the mire and the other was not walking away from it as soon as possible. I choose to ignore my warning signs with some misbegotten, and probably ego driven, idea that I could make everything right. Ultimately, that decision only led me deeper into the darkness.

When, thankfully, the time came that I was finally able to get my bearings straight and hack my way out of the muck, I felt as if it had been the worst professional artistic experience of my life, and, on a surface level it had been – hands down. But, now that my air has cleared and I am able to look at the fog from a distance, I know that it was actually one of the most profound artistic learning experiences of my life. I learned what not to do and what to avoid. I also learned that every day that I celebrate my own special and unique artistic gifts is in and of itself a wonderful treasure and that it is I alone who can control how much of it I wish to share. I don’t intend to cast my “pearls before swine” so to speak.

In closing, I want to state that I’m not saying that the art pessimist don’t have valid complaints. Perhaps they do and perhaps they do not. I just believe that there is a better way to deal with them. There is much validity to the line “If you want the things you see to change, change the way you see things”. Usually that involves taking a different course of action after your vision changes. It’s sometimes one of the most important actions an artist can take. If you find yourself being bogged down, you probably are. Rather than dwell deeper and deeper into it, you need to ask yourself why and what will you do to fix it. While the answers to those questions may not be easy, the results are wildly freeing.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Mosiac Tonight in Rehoboth Beach

Hey Rehoboth Beach, DE folks and visitors - 2nite - Mosaic, fab art, free wine & cheese = ;)  - then, when through, come catch the Christopher Peterson show "Hooray For Hollywood" at the Rehoboth Beach Theatre of the Arts - there's possibly still some tickets available at the door for tonight's show. Curtain at 9 PM!

Friday, July 09, 2010

If you're a working artist, be glad . . .

You turn your head, run some sunscreen in your face, throw back a Cosmo or two, and the next thing you know, an entire month has passed. Such is the joy, and the sorrow, of summer.

Truth be told, I have had a wildly busy month working as an Arts Professional. In addition to simply painting ( though, "simple" is probably the incorrect term), I have designed at least four different logos, created the look and feel for six different web sites, created course descriptions for two different college courses I will be instructing come this Autumn, began Stage Managing the Christopher Peterson show at the Rehoboth Beach Theatre of the Arts which runs through the end of the summer, written 3 different press releases, collaborated on a group exhibit that will be occurring on the 23rd, designed 4 different posters, a post card, given about 6 different Tarot card readings, attended 2 different out of town art events, and a partridge in a pear tree.

Whew. And you thought all us art folks had to do was wax poetic, look pretty, drink cheap wine, and wave brushes in the air. Au contraire. In fact, this, in my opinion, should be the average schedule of any arts professional. The goal is to always be creating/working on something. I use those two words interchangeably as the are one in the same. After 25 years as a working artists, I have learned that as long as you keep focused on your work (creative process), then usually, everything else will take care of itself. That may color me a certain shade of Pollyanna, but I happen to find it true over and over again.

I was once having dinner with Quentin Tarantino several years ago - true story - right around the time Jackie Brown was released.

Some member of the dinner party had mentioned the actress
Jennifer Beals, though I can't recall why. That same person (a Washingtonian not in on the Hollywood scene) made a comment about having not seen in her in anything in a long time and implied that she was a "has been". Now - this was a long time ago, but truth be told Ms. Beals had been quite busy with film work, just nothing that this particular person was familiar with, which meant nothing mainstream.

Though the passage of time prevents me to recall his exact words, I do remember Tarantino, quite calmly, replying that not only was she a friend of his, but that he was well aware of her work at that time and over the previous years. It was then that he stated that the important thing in Hollywood was  to always be working. While leading roles in popular films are wonderful, the real essence of being an artist is to keep working. If you stay true to and focused on that - the rest will fall into place. I found the moment quite profound.

And I still do. . .