It terrified me to have an idea that was solely mine to be no longer a part of my mind, but totally public.
I try to give people a different way of looking at their surroundings. That's art to me.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The definition of a modern approach to war is the acknowledgement of individual lives lost.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The role of art in society differs for every artist.