In his most brilliant summary of what it means to be an artist, de Kooning said –
You know, the real world, this so-called world, is just something you put up with like everybody else. I’m in my element when I’m a little bit out of this world: then I’m in the real world – I’m on the beam. Because when I’m falling, I’m doing alright. When I’m slipping, I say, ‘Hey, this is interesting.’ It’s when I’m standing upright that bothers me… As a matter of fact, I’m really slipping most of the time. I’m like a slipping glimpser.
A slipping glimpser. Someone who slides along a beam of light, finds the eternal in the transitory, and communicates it to the rest of us – to de Kooning, that is what it meant to be an artist. It’s almost impossible to find a better definition.