Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Rant about van Gogh

Once again I have someone ask me, "didn't she/he (insert artist's name) commit suicide. This time it was ask about Warhol and no he didn't. The myth of Vincent van Gogh is so strong in the general public. It seems from his myth two basic assumptions emerge. 1. All artists commit suicide, which might not be even true for van Gogh. 2. Artist's art makes not money until they are dead. Taking on the first, it seems a vast majority of artists I bring up in class or even in general conversation to people in other disciplines, enviably someone says, "didn't he/she commit suicide, and I have to inform them "NO" nearly every time. I have been asked about whether Leonardo da Vinci, Monet (which he just attempted), Picasso, Matisse, and the list goes on. Or if they don't remember suicide, they remember the cutting of the ear. 2. The vast majority of artists through out history made a living off their art. Almost any artists that didn't make a living off their art did some other job as well, or quit making art. Sure, most artists have a really hard time at first, especially the artists from poor families, but if they had the talent and the passion, often times this is overcome. Vincent might not have sold a lot, but he still painted and he still was able to eat, from his allowance from his brother. He created a great deal of work over a short period. To debunk the poor artist myth, I give you our current artist millionaires, Jeff Koons and Damien Hirst. They are alive and well, and making buckets of cash which they spend on making bigger and gaudier works of art.

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