Arts & Entertainment

Approaching the Blank Canvas

Jeff Koons

Lesson time 10:45 min

From getting started with an idea to overcoming judgment, Jeff shares his advice for developing the confidence to follow your interests and create your work of art.

Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars

Topics include: Case Study: Finding Your Equilibrium · There’s No Room for Hierarchy · Open Yourself to the External World


[MUSIC PLAYING] JEFF KOONS: How do we start with a blank canvas? Having interest in art, being an artist, wanting to make something, how do we start? I like to start with an idea, and so if I'm in front of a blank canvas, I'll think about what I really would like to do, and I resonate on it. I'll think about, well, what if I've been pulled to? What have the interest been lately? Everything in your life is source material. It's not, oh, I'm opening an art book and so I'm looking at art or I go to a museum and I'm looking at art and now the dialogues about art. The dialogue about art is while you're brushing your teeth, and it's when you're speaking to your wife or you're talking to your friend, or you're talking to a teacher. It's every moment of your day. It's the noise of the car. It's being open to everything, and the more you open yourself, the more ideas you'll have, the more connections, and the more meaning you'll find in every action you take. You know, I'm sure that some of you may think, look, this kind of blank canvas, if I just follow my interest, nothing's going to come. I know it just doesn't come from me. I believe it will come for you. That it's impossible for it not to come, because you have interests and those interests tie to the world around you. And if you just start to follow your interests and you start to act on those interests, and it's like starting that car. You try to turn it over and then you try again. But eventually, you turn it over, ba ba ba ba, you're off and running, and that's how this is. If you follow your interests, your self is not going to fail you, because what could be more joyful than your interests? And so if there's some form of blockage that you're feeling, just take that step. Just take that step, because eventually, you will feel more confident with yourself, you'll feel more confident with your actions, and that's what's important. [MUSIC PLAYING] In one of my first shows, I followed my interests in biology and philosophy to explore the ideas of personal and social equilibrium. Equilibrium was a show that I wanted to be able to have kind of a philosophical platform. That's having a dialogue about society, it's having a dialogue of biology. I mean, the tanks are very much-- they're womb-like. These tanks express the existential ideas of being and nothingness. And I had both 50-50 tanks or I had just kind of total equilibrium tanks. A completely spiritual experience. All forces being equal, and so when I create an equilibrium tank, it was a way to work with an object but to submerge it, to put it underneath water, to put it in kind of an analytical setting inside an aquarium, a glass case is kind of an analytical setting. But at the same time, realizing that when a viewer would look at it, when you would look at it, hopefully, you would think, oh, this is kind of a magical moment. But at the same time, you'd realize that this could be more than just a basketball hoveri...

About the Instructor

One of the most important and influential artists working today, Jeff Koons is perhaps best known for his iconic Balloon Dog. Now he’s inviting you to an intimate, thought-provoking conversation about the history, purpose, and pleasures of art. Learn how color, scale, form, and texture can help you express ideas and communicate with others. Leave your self-judgment and fear behind—the world is waiting for your art.

Featured Masterclass Instructor

Jeff Koons

Jeff Koons teaches you how color, scale, form, and more can help you channel your creativity and create the art that’s in you.

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