Young artist, you who possess a creative mind which is constantly flattered by their ability to invent, but above all, for the way you bring to life those colorful thoughts. Young artist, this time I ask you, let us pause for a minute the terrible runaway train of imagination, and think... let's analyze what we do and how we do it. Does it still make sense to you?
How did you do it? How long it did it take you to do it? Would you honestly dare to exhibit it at the Louvre if you had the chance? This might sound dumb, but those are the questions that I ask myself when I create art; and the questions I encourage younger generations to self-evaluate when creating.
For over one thousand years, great artists struggled at the creative moment because they wanted to reach the standards of beauty proposed for a good piece of art. To speak of Leonardo Da Vinci, is to speak of a God of Art, a God of invention, at least for those who study or appreciate art. He is a legend that often became the principle of other masters, who continued the legacy of doing art with standards of proportions. Beautiful and sublime qualities in art were not precisely the same, still, to be part of those categories demanded a ‘blood and tears’ artistry... in other words, hard work. To be inspired, it resembled to have the very Holy Spirit running through an artist's veins and to outpour it out of their hands into a masterpiece. An artist like Caravaggio, broke standards of decorum proposed by previous masters because he wanted to present the highest standard of excellence ever presented in painting during the Baroque art period. To aspire a highest quality was the daydreaming topic of each real artist and the way of becoming a master.
The 20th Century arrived, and every drop of sweat shed by our previous masters, suddenly, did not matter anymore. Art was not a noble talent worthy of polish to extract the purest and closest manifestation of lifes perfection. Now, it was an excuse for untalented rebels and emotional alcoholics to “express themselves” through Art, because the different was better than the perfect. And with different, I mean senseless unproportioned stuff lacking of every single standard of the beauty and the divinity our masters fought hard to bring at its very best.
During the Baroque art period, the Church’s intent was to overwhelm viewers so they could understand the power of God, as they found that it was possible with extravagant displays of art. Artists like Michelangelo and Bernini were asked to create magnificent masterpieces. The overwhelm technique was going to be used once again, this time by a man named Mark Rothko, who claimed the used of very large scale designs to make the viewer feel “enveloped within” the painting. A painting composed by a rectangle with more rectangles on top, painted in different colors. The only thing overwhelming in the painting, is the presumptuousness of the individual who created such a thing and called it Art.
Sistine Chapel Ceiling, Vatican City
Mark Rothko room at the Phillips Collection, Washington, DC.
It is our fault. We became sloths of culture and slaves of consumption, giving away the right of calling an artist only to those who truly deserves it. Any individual who rebels against a proposed standard that requires a level of dedication to create something empty, and in its simplicity, ugly feels in the position of self-proclamation as an artist; ignorant of the damage it's creating in the art culture world. The moment the art critic Clement Greenberg declared that he took one look at a Pollock’s painting and thought, “Now that’s great art,” is the moment the second world’s flood should have come.
Young artist, reader of my article, this is my imploration to you; Create something beautiful. Beauty is NOT in the eye of the beholder. That phrase becomes popular when these individuals decided to create garbage and put them into our museums. Art should be respected and you need to work hard so you can be as good or even better than our masters. When they decided to break rules and break from the standard ideas, they did it because they knew they were able to do something better... But never to mock and disrespect the great artists who built centuries of beauty and left us with so many masterpieces to admire.
Next time you start creating, stop and think, What am I doing? Does it make sense? Am I working hard to do it beautiful? I promise, the result will be perfect and you could proudly say, I am an artist.