On Being an Artist – Marco Cazzulini Day Four

by Geoff Hall on January 24, 2012

Heads of the Pharisees, linocut, 1 of 3, 1987


This is the day I fall in love again with the humble linocut! There is something about the ‘simple’ gesture of black and white, of a process which catches the eye and then you wait to see the image reveal itself on many different levels.

As a viewer you don’t see the process of creating or fixing the image, it’s a bit of a mystery. Whereas in the last piece that Marco provided for us  for Day Three, ‘If not I’, you could see the hand of the painter, track the movement, the time lapse in creation. For me, in this image above, there is a kind of mystery, a mystery of immanence for it is like we ‘see the end from the beginning’ with clarity. It sounds conflicted, mystery and clarity, but the mystery is one of  being confronted with clarity(!) of image even when we can’t trace, can’t find an ‘objective’ method to discern a pathway.

It also evokes in me, memories of the German Expressionist woodcuts and linocuts, of Erich Heckel, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and the suffering humanity of  Kathe Kollwitz. There ‘s a greater connectedness to everyday society with this method of production, perhaps because my teachers of Art History were Neo-Marxist in terms of political spiciness. Maybe that’s why I find this medium so suggestive, but it makes me want to put on an exhibition of The Group artists purely with linocuts. Kinda seems the radical thing to do! But maybe looking back at this short intro, my thoughts are not clear enough, haven’t gone through the linocut technique of epistemological foundation.


Day Four – What is the biggest challenge to you as an artist?

The list is extensive. Here’s a start in ‘potted’ form:

  • Maintaining focus.
  • Maintaining hope.
  • Maintaining a sense of value.
  • Not judging myself too harshly and so becoming diminished in comparison to those better and greater than I am.
  • Not judging myself too lightly and therefore settling for what I know I can do.
  • Allowing ‘failure’ to become a means to success.
  • Finding space to gather creative momentum.


I could go on. However, against all these things I want to learn to embrace the imperfections of life and still engage in the arts to the best of my ability. Like most of us it is hard to see the end from the beginning.


Tomorrow Marco looks at ‘Professional Development’.




Hi Marco
I’ve been enjoying your contribution here. You express yourself very well. Really considered and thoughtful writing. I find myself relating to and agreeing with many of your thoughts and observations. This caught my eye though – I wondered what you meant?
“Allowing ‘failure’ to become a means to success.”



by Iain on January 24, 2012 at 9:33 pm. Reply #

Dear Iain,
Thanks for taking time to read and comment. I’m away this week with little time to reply properly. However, I would love to talk more around the question you raised and will attempt to draft something on my return.

by Marco Cazzulini on January 26, 2012 at 9:01 am. Reply #

Hi Iain, we are under pressure to deliver. That is not all bad–it can sharpen our focus. However, I would suggest that whether that pressure is external; a commission, a deadline, or an internal expectation (I’ll admit I’ve painted a thousand brilliant pictures in my mind’s eye) pressure to succeed can stop us failing with purpose. To fail is no longer about opening up a new trail it is about our standing, our place amongst our peers or in the community. Eventually our endeavours and experiments will be circled with the things we know we can do to receive applause and affirmation. Handling failure requires a wisdom and perspective that is full of God’s grace, particularly towards ourselves. It needs an eye that can see the treasure gleaming in the mess.

by Marco Cazzulini on January 30, 2012 at 12:03 pm. Reply #

Marco, I love the linocut..I am not an artist as such but this brings back memories of secondary school and the efforts that take place to create something like this before you see the finished product…..to be honest my memories of those days are not that happy, but the art lessons where I grappled (generally unsucessfully) with things like this were happy times. During this period I also discovered other artists like Leger, Caulfield and the like…..thanks for reminding me that those days were not all bad!!

by James CofE on January 25, 2012 at 3:54 pm. Reply #

Oh, I’m with you on that list Marco! …… maintaining a Godly sense of perspective in and through it all. Hope it’s going well for you at the mo. 🙂

by Sarah J Trigg on January 26, 2012 at 10:32 am. Reply #

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