Artist Snapshot: Bruce Dorfman

Exploring the mind and habits of an artist in twenty-five questions.

 Bruce Dorfman in his studio
Bruce Dorfman in his studio

At what age did you decide to become an artist? Bruce Dorfman Artist

I never did decide that. I do remember making paintings and drawings from about the age of five. Accompanied by a lot of affirmation and validation, then till now, I have continued to do so. Otherwise, at about the age of ten, I considered pitching for the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Bruce Dorfman artist
Bruce Dorfman, age 9, in Nantucket

How did your parents react when you told them you wanted to be an artist?

I cannot remember what I may have said to them at age five. However, they told me they were glad to have been right all along. They continued to be right and said so, throughout the years.

Who are your favorite artists? Bruce Dorfman Artist

MuCh’i, Piero della Francesca, Utamaro.

Who is your favorite artist whose work is unlike your own?


Art book you cannot live without?

For Whom the Bell Tolls as art book.

What is the quality you most admire in an artist?

A willingness to work a lifetime, always, no matter what…and doing so.

Do you keep a sketchbook?

No. Semantics aside, drawn marks made on any surface by an Artist, I respect as drawings.

What’s your favorite museum in all the world?

The Marino Marini Museum, Florence, Italy.

What’s the best exhibition you ever attended?

Basilica of San Francesco, Arezzo, Italy — the chapel frescoes of Piero della Francesca.

If you were not an artist, what would you be?

Probably a salesperson for Vespa.

Did you have an artistic cohort that influenced your early creative development?

My father and mother. Addtionally, my third grade teacher, Miss Alice Rosenfeld.

What is the one thing you didn’t learn in art school that you wish you had?

I never went to an art school. I was mentored at the Art Students League and the University of Iowa.

What work of art have you looked at most and why?

Six Persimmons by MuCh’I. Utter clarity of expression with complete dedication to the art of it.

What is your secret visual pleasure outside of art?

I never tell secrets.

Do you listen to music in your studio?

Always. Mozart, Shostakovich, Beethoven, Bach, Poulenc, Bellini, Brecht.

What is the last gallery you visited?

I cannot remember. Takes me away from my work.

Who is an underrated artist people should be looking at? Bruce Dorfman Artist

It seems to me that most non-artists look with their ears, rather than with their eyes. Some artists do this also.

What art materials can you not live without?

I cannot imagine. There is always something around that can leave composed traces of choice, as needed. I do like 300 lb. deckled paper.

Do you create art every day?

Very close to that, yes. Otherwise, one way or another.

What was the longest time you went without creating art? Bruce Dorfman Artist

Until the age of five. Also, a while after that, during the time I was in the infantry.

What do you do when you are uninspired?

Never happens.

What are the questions that drive your work?

A single question: What if?

What is the most important quality in an artist?

A willingness to risk identity and give distinctive, formal expression to it.

What is something you haven’t yet achieved in art?

This quote: “At 110, everything I create; a dot, a line, will jump to life as never before.” — Hokusai

What is the best thing about art in the era of social media? Bruce Dorfman Artist

The inherent, singularity of expression of Art persists and will endure, irrespective of social media.

BRUCE DORFMAN, an instructor at the Art Students League since 1964, teaches “Combined Media, Assemblage, Art in Three Dimensions, Painting” in-person and online. He is represented by June Kelly Gallery, NYC, and Elizabeth Clement Fine Art, Boston.

Related posts