Joel-Peter Witkin & Jerome Witkin: Interview

Jerome Witkin, An Artist In A Ruin, 1990, oil on canvas, 71 x 88 inches (courtes
Jerome Witkin, An Artist In A Ruin, 1990, oil on canvas, 71 x 88 inches (courtesy Jack Rutberg Fine Arts)

Lita Barrie interviews artists Joel-Peter Witkin and Jerome Witkin on the occasion of their exhibition Twin Visions at Jack Rutberg Fine Arts, Los Angeles, on view through May 3, 2014.

Joel Witkin: "I think the essence of any great work of art in any history, east or west, is about good and bad. Not the simple good and bad, black and white thing. But the essence of what it is to be human and to be alive in a very, very special way. That you feel deeply and lovingly and unselfishly and your work must project that. I think a good artist, on one fundamental level, is one who is kind of a connoisseur of consciousness, spirituality, what is going on in the world and what has been going on in the world."

Jerome Witkin: "The artist has to astonish them self and say 'this is a crazy idea but I’m going to go for it, I’m going to find it. It is meaningful to me and I haven’t lost my mind. I might gain something that I never knew about.' So, I think the idea of a depth filled search is what matters - even if it is rejected by society. I think what matters is that you stood your ground, you found your poetry."