I’ve read Plato. And of course, studied Greek philosophy, Greek art, Roman art, etc. All that good stuff.
But, we can go too far. What if one would spend too much time reading and forgot to live? Didn’t Cervantes write a book about that?
I do think artists should put their work in. We should do our research. Know the past very well. Be able to imitate our idols’ works.
Definitely do all this, but don’t forget that if you really want to be a great artist, you absolutely positively have to live a life worthy of an artist.
What is a life worthy of an artist?
You’ve seen the stereotypes. Artists love passionately, often with reckless abandon. We either break hearts or let ours be broken. One or the other. Or both.
We live to live and love for the sake of love.
I just wrote on artists and suffering and I stand by what I said. Artists should feel something if they expect to produce great art.
The Pre-Raphaelites understood this. Maybe too well. Their love affairs were often scandalous, especially for the Victorian era.
Guilty of too much thinking?
Why do I even bring this up? Because, nowadays too many people live on their phones. When they’re not on their phones, they’re doing something else cerebral. For instance reading or playing videogames. Indoors and alone.
Nothing against any of that stuff. But what ever happened to living?
Heck, even when you go to a concert, you see people doing everything but watching the concert. What’s the point of even being there if you’re going to spend the entire time hiding behind a tiny little phone screen?
The artist needs to live
Artists of the past lived. I mean, really lived. They squeezed as much life as possible out of their years, even when their years were cut short.
Jimi Hendrix only made it to 27. But in those 27 years, he did way more living than ten or twenty random people you and I know combined.
That’s what I mean by living. Really living.
Leonardo was physically quite strong and even a competitive wrestler in his youth. We only know him as an old man.
Beethoven loved passionately and recklessly and to this day, nobody knows who his immortal beloved is. Historians list many women who could fit that role.
Have you been to Key West, Florida? Ernest Hemingway is honored there. For a very good reason.
Nobody could ever say that Hunter S Thompson didn’t live. Oh we know all too well that he really lived.
Yes, they all did their share of heavy thinking. I’m not at all against heavy thinking. By all means, think away!
But recognize there is such thing as too much thinking and not enough living. You have to leave the house and live, really live, if you expect to create art to write home about.
I mean, how many paintings of bowls of fruit do you think the public can stomach?