Maya Lin Quotes

Home / Architect / Maya Lin Quotes
Maya Lin

Lin at the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, Washington (2007)
Born (1959-10-05) October 5, 1959 (age 57)
Athens, Ohio, U.S.
Nationality American
Education Yale University
Known for art, architecture, memorials
Notable work Vietnam Veterans Memorial (1982)
Civil Rights Memorial (1989)
Spouse(s) Daniel Wolf
Awards National Medal of Arts
Presidential Medal of Freedom
Website www.mayalin.com

OK, it was black, it was below grade, I was female, Asian American, young, too young to have served. Yet I think none of the opposition in that sense hurt me.
Maya Lin
A lot of my works deal with a passage, which is about time. I don't see anything that I do as a static object in space. It has to exist as a journey in time.
Maya Lin
I probably have fundamentally antisocial tendencies. I never took one extracurricular activity. I just failed utterly at that level. Part of me still rebels against that.
Maya Lin
Warmth isn't what minimalists are thought to have.
To fly we have to have resistance.
I'm not in a hurry to do a lot of projects. I am very resolved in each project I take on.
Maya Lin
I started studying what the nature of a monument is and what a monument should be. And for the World War III memorial I designed a futile, almost terrifying passage that ends nowhere.
Maya Lin
To me, the American Dream is being able to follow your own personal calling. To be able to do what you want to do is incredible freedom.
Maya Lin
All my work is much more peaceful than I am.
Nothing is ever guaranteed, and all that came before doesn't predicate what you might do next.
Maya Lin
I deliberately did not read anything about the Vietnam War because I felt the politics of the war eclipsed what happened to the veterans. The politics were irrelevant to what this memorial was.
Maya Lin
The only thing that mattered was what you were to do in life, and it wasn't about money. It was about teaching, or learning.
Maya Lin
Math, it's a puzzle to me. I love figuring out puzzles.
When I was building the Vietnam Memorial, I never once asked the veterans what it was like in the war, because from my point of view, you don't pry into other people's business.
Maya Lin
Sometimes you have to stop thinking. Sometimes you shut down completely. I think that's true in any creative field.
Maya Lin
How we are using up our home, how we are living and polluting the planet is frightening. It was evident when I was a child. It's more evident now.
Maya Lin
Some of your teachers are actually closer in age to you than you think.
I was always making things. Even though art was what I did every day, it didn't even occur to me that I would be an artist.
Maya Lin
You have to have conviction and completely question everything and anything you do. No matter how much you study, no matter how much you know, the side of your brain that has the smarts won't necessarily help you in making art.
Maya Lin
It terrified me to have an idea that was solely mine to be no longer a part of my mind, but totally public.
Maya Lin
It was a requirement by the veterans to list the 57,000 names. We're reaching a time that we'll acknowledge the individual in a war on a national level.
Maya Lin
You couldn't put me in a social group setting. I'm probably a terrible anarchist deep down.
Maya Lin
I really enjoyed hanging out with some of the teachers. This one chemistry teacher, she liked hanging out. I liked making explosives. We would stay after school and blow things up.
Maya Lin
For the most part things never get built the way they were drawn.
I loved school. I studied like crazy. I was a Class A nerd.
The process I go through in the art and the architecture, I actually want it to be almost childlike. Sometimes I think it's magical.
Maya Lin
I left science, then I went into art, but I approach things very analytically. I choose to pursue both art and architecture as completely separate fields rather than merging them.
Maya Lin
My dad was dean of fine arts at the university. I was casting bronzes in the school foundry. I was using the university as a playground.
Maya Lin
You have to let the viewers come away with their own conclusions. If you dictate what they should think, you've lost it.
Maya Lin
My parents are both college professors, and it made me want to question authority, standards and traditions.
Maya Lin
If we can't face death, we'll never overcome it. You have to look it straight in the eye. Then you can turn around and walk back out into the light.
Maya Lin
The role of art in society differs for every artist.
I loved logic, math, computer programming. I loved systems and logic approaches. And so I just figured architecture is this perfect combination.
Maya Lin
In art or architecture your project is only done when you say it's done. If you want to rip it apart at the eleventh hour and start all over again, you never finish. I was one of those crazy creatures.
Maya Lin
I was probably the first kid in my high school to go to Yale. I applied almost as a lark. Then, when I got there, I was the dumbest person in your class.
Maya Lin
The definition of a modern approach to war is the acknowledgement of individual lives lost.
Maya Lin
I try to give people a different way of looking at their surroundings. That's art to me.
Maya Lin
Even though I build buildings and I pursue my architecture, I pursue it as an artist. I deliberately keep a tiny studio. I don't want to be an architectural firm. I want to remain an artist.
Maya Lin
Growing up, I thought I was white. It didn't occur to me I was Asian-American until I was studying abroad in Denmark and there was a little bit of prejudice.
Maya Lin
I didn't have anyone to play with so I made up my own world.
Some artists want to confront. Some want to invoke thought. They're all necessary and they're all valid.
Maya Lin
It's funny, as you live through something you're not aware of it.
We were unusually brought up; there was no gender differentiation. I was never thought of as any less than my brother.
Maya Lin
I had very few friends. We always ate dinner with our parents. We didn't want to go out. American adolescence was a lot wilder than I would have felt comfortable with.
Maya Lin
Every memorial in its time has a different goal.
Our parents decided not to teach us Chinese. It was an era when they felt we would be better off if we didn't have that complication.
Maya Lin
I probably spent the first 20 years of my life wanting to be as American as possible. Through my 20s, and into my 30s, I began to become aware of how so much of my art and architecture has a decidedly Eastern character.
Maya Lin
Art is very tricky because it's what you do for yourself. It's much harder for me to make those works than the monuments or the architecture.
Maya Lin
My goal is to strip things down so that you need just the right amount of words or shape to convey what you need to convey. I like editing. I like it very tight.
Maya Lin
When I was very little, we would get letters from China, in Chinese, and they' be censored. We were a very insular little family.
Maya Lin
You should be having more fun in high school, exploring things because you want to explore them and learning because you love learning-not worrying about competition.
Maya Lin
My grandfather, on my father's side, helped to draft one of the first constitutions of China. He was a fairly well-known scholar.
Maya Lin
It's only in hindsight that you realize what indeed your childhood was really like.
Maya Lin
I went through withdrawal when I got out of graduate school. It's what you learn, what you think. That's all that counts.
Maya Lin