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Key to success: Vision Key to success: Passion Key to success: Perseverance Key to success: Preparation Key to success: Courage Key to success: Integrity Key to success: The American Dream Keys to success homepage More quotes on Passion More quotes on Vision More quotes on Courage More quotes on Integrity More quotes on Preparation More quotes on Perseverance More quotes on The American Dream


Sonny Rollins

Greatest Living Jazz Soloist

Sonny Rollins: I am trying to get a deeper sense of expression musically. I mean people tell me, "Oh gee, Sonny. You still practice. How come?" Well, I am still searching. I still am trying to get to something hopefully more profound than what I'm doing now, and I think it's possible. I think it's there, but it's not always -- every now and then I get a little snatch of it.
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Sonny Rollins

Greatest Living Jazz Soloist

Sonny Rollins: When I have a particularly good performance, I know it. But you know, it doesn't happen more than maybe a few times a year -- if I'm lucky -- that I really get into something which is really where I would like to be all the time. But it is something, you know, it's something that I am not there yet. I hope there is time to get there, because I'm not 15 years old anymore, but there is something else there that I am still striving for.
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Anthony Romero

Executive Director, ACLU

I am privileged to represent an organization that will be here forever. It's a permanent fixture in the American political landscape. We've been here for 92 years. We have outlived every president since the early 20th century. We have sued them all. The fact is, as long as we have a constitution, as long as we have the United States of America, we're going to need an ACLU to defend the rights of all people, and we're going to be there forever. We can lose a case, like Bowers v. Hardwick in 1986, where the rights of a gay couple to have consensual sex in the privacy of their bedroom was -- that was being criminalized and that statute was being upheld by the Supreme Court -- until today, where the courts are on the verge of recognizing full equality for gay and lesbian people. You have to lose in '86 to win in 2012. The fact is, this organization is going to be around in 2022, '32, '42. I'll be old or dead, but I know that the spirit of this work will continue. That is what gives me courage, that even when I lose today, we know we're going to be back in there at some other point, pushing the envelope and making it right at some other point in the future.
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Anthony Romero

Executive Director, ACLU

If we don't learn from our failures, then we're doomed to create them over and over again. And what's the point of that? We want to win. So if you fail once, take the time out to learn. Take the time out to ask the questions, take the time out to be analytic and self-critical. All of us have failed. I mean -- Christ! I have. Today, I have failed more than I would like to imagine on a couple things. Yet there are moments when you say, "Okay, I can do better." We have to focus on the idea that it's progress, the idea that we can make a difference. I think there's also a bit of humanity in it, there is a bit of humility in it. That if we don't ever learn from our failures and don't recognize that we're going to fail, then we have an overblown sense of who we are. That's not very good, because arrogance is what comes before the fall. So I think it's important to approach this work with optimism, with energy, with creativity, with tenacity, with a sense of humor. Oh God, if we stop laughing, that's really a sorry state of affairs. And a willingness to learn from one's mistakes.
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James Rosenquist

Pop Art Master

At that time, if a person could draw, realistically, you draw someone's likeness Well, fine art was far, far away. I mean it was a distant thing that remained in Europe somewhere, or the Far East. It had nothing to do with America. I mean, to me that was some very distant thing. And the only relation to art could be, say, magazine illustration, or working for television, or fashion illustration for a newspaper, or something like that. I met an artist in Minneapolis named Cameron Booth, who was always about ten years older than the year. So he was in the Great War -- World War I. He was gassed in World War I, stayed in Paris after the war, studied with a number of people in Paris and in Germany, and I met him. He could see that I knew how to draw -- I met him at the University of Minnesota -- and he said, "Why don't you get out of town quick? Go to New York, and study with Hans Hofmann." But Hans Hofmann wasn't available. So until that time, I got a job. I think I was 17 years old or 18. I got a job painting Phillips 66 emblems for a commercial painting company all through the Midwest. I traveled around in a truck and painted these emblems alone. I was all alone. All over, like a gypsy painter, all through the Midwest. I mean, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, all around that area.
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James Rosenquist

Pop Art Master

James Rosenquist: Criticism in the art world is much different than say, the theater world, where a big, mass effort lives or dies according to a theater critic. An artist is happy if they get their picture shown or their name in print. I mean, I've been called everything. I've been called "death warmed over" by John Canaday and everything else. I wrote him back a letter in The New York Times, saying I know more about death than he does. So he quit writing the art criticism, and started doing cooking! But when a young artist starts, and everyone says he or she is a genius, and they are put in all sorts of shows, and then they decline, things decline, and they are taken out of a show, or they are not put in, that can be rough on some people, to get your first hard criticism. If you withstand that, and just continue to work, you become resilient, and then you sort of get hardened to criticism, and it really doesn't mean a thing. I mean, the criticisms I like is if they have got a handle on what I'm trying to do, whether I'm successful or not. If they have an inclination about this is the direction that I'm going in, instead of being totally confused, and they say, "It's terrible! It's horrible!" and they haven't got a clue, and it's all confused as to the momentum of what it is. That I don't like. I mean, I like criticism though. It's other people's input, other people's idea. And I think it would be very hard to be an art critic, or any kind of a critic, because it would be hard to be in people's minds. I was on a panel discussion with Marshall McLuhan, back in 1966 or '67. Phillip Morris put us there. And someone in the audience says, "Mr. McLuhan, I read all your books, and I happen to disagree with naw-naw-naw-naw something." And he says, "Oh, you've read all my books? Then you only know half the story." So it's hard to figure out. Someone asked him, "Mr. McLuhan, can you tell me the metaphor between this and that?" And he says, "Metaphor. Metaphor. A man's grasp must exceed his reach, or what's a metaphor?"
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