Artist Resources

Daily Inspiration: Late Sculptor Anthony Caro on Choosing the Creative Life

[Header image: Black Cover Flat (1974), steel]

Abstract sculptor Sir Anthony Caro has passed away at the age of 89. In his wake, he leaves behind a legacy of postwar art using massive pieces of industrial material from the 1960’s, creating new pieces and displaying his work as recently as 2011.

But it was almost not to be, Caro admitted in an interview with The Arts Newspaper.

In the interview, Caro recounts his father’s attempts to discourage him from pursuing a career in art – he even took the younger Caro to meet an established sculptor who warned Sir Anthony that a career in art was out of reach.

Caro considered the issue settled: “‘There you are, Tony,'” he said in the video,”‘you could treat it as a hobby, and you could be very happy and even have things cast in bronze.'”

Caro later explains that the world of numbers and figures were abstract for him in a way that art was not, later making his own choice to make the jump to living full-time as a sculptor.


"I just didn't feel that I could push pieces of paper around and think about money -- which is a very abstract idea -- I just didn't feel like I could go with it."

The 11-minute chat probably echoes stories from some of your own lives out there. Even if you didn’t have someone telling you that you’re either not good enough to pursue your art or that you’ll fail, it echoes that nagging little voice in the back of most of our heads, the one that says that you’d better have a backup, a 9-5, and maybe this art thing is something you should try on the weekends or when you have the free time.

And not everyone will be successful – precious few will be. But if it’s your passion, if you’re willing to put in the work, then you need to silence that voice ignore the detractors, and keep creating.

Watch it right here and share your experiences with making the choice between the creative life or the back-up plan in the comments.

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