‘If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint’, then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced’ Vincent Van Gogh
Just right before New Year’s Eve I decided to take a look at the collection of the books in my little library and pick up the titles that I wanted to add to my personal ‘waiting list’. There is one, particular shelf in my office where books stand in a sort ‘priority queue’. This is where I keep the most important books that I haven’t finished reading yet. ‘Lucas’ by Kevin Brooks was one of the novels that I started to read last summer and somehow never got to an end of it. When I asked myself, why did I actually buy this book, I realized that it was because of its remarkable and meaningful foreword. It hypnotized me the first time I’ve read it:
‘I don’t know, Dad’ – I sighed – ‘I am not sure I can paint’.
‘Ah now, that’s nonsense. Anyone can paint. (…)
‘But I don’t know all the techniques and styles, you know..’
‘Art isn’t about techniques or styles, son. Art is about feelings that you translate into a vision. You’ve got your feelings, haven’t you?’
‘Too many’ – I said.
‘Well, that’s all you need. He puts his hand on mine. ‘You just have to let it out.’
So that’s what I did. And this is it.’
Talking about feelings and inspiration. When I’ve recently visited a very informative and platform artsy.com there was one particular article that caught my attention. It was called ‘Adrien Brody on Why It’s Never Too Late to Become an Artist’. Most of us remember this American actor from films such as The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014), Peter Jackson’s remake of King Kong (2005), and Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris (2011). I was delighted and truly excited about this good news for the art world and fans of Brody but I can’t say I was really surprised. In fact I could tell by the sparkle in the actors eyes that he was after something. There is no deny that working with the movie directors and the film crew is a team-work. No matter how ‘creative’ acting is – it certainly cannot be compared to the process of creating an artwork as this activity could grant an artist total freedom of expression. And this is why Brody decided to undertake something new. The question is – how did that happen? Let’s see how artsy.net explained it:
‘It happened by chance. A friend of Brody’s, a French artist, had promised to paint him a piece. After four years, and a period spent out of touch, they finally settled on a time for the work to be completed. “I built him a large canvas, measured it for the wall,” recalls Brody. “And I bought some additional canvases in case he wanted to do some additional work and play around. I thought I might help him. And so while he was painting, I started painting some stuff too.” Brody’s friend was adamant that the actor had to continue.’
Adrien Brody in front of his artwork ‘Dropfish’ at New York, 2016, David Benrimon Fine Art, New York
And here’s my version.
It was a feeling.
Sometimes, if you don’t follow your feeling, you will have to wait till the rest of your life waiting for your head to explode.
In my opinion the fact that the actor finally begun to create his own artworks – shows that you cannot escape from something that you had crush on for a very long time.
Adrien Brody creating an artwork, source: artsy.net
The thing is that if the feeling arrives we just ‘know’. The same way birds know it’s time to migrate or the dogs know the thunderstorm is coming. In times like these – when you experience ‘new calling’ – you have to act upon it.
If the 43 old movie star did not take his fame and success for granted and still has had the desire to get down to work and start something new and challenging, this can mean only one thing. Namely, that bad timing, terrible circumstances or different (a non- artistic) professional experience is no excuse. And that proactive approach is something that we need, especially now – while the world is busy with new year’s resolutions’.
Change is an opposite to waiting. Waiting is a trap. There will always be reasons to wait. The truth is, there are only two things in life, reasons and results, and reasons simply don’t count.
A scene from ‘The Pianist’ by Roman Polansky, 2002
The news on Brody is another sign that that all artistic souls have their own, unmistakable light. In most cases it is just a matter of time that they leave the doubts and eagerly start another chapter of their lives. It is the flame of inner creativity that cannot be left unnoticed, the desire to learn something new, to ‘let out’, the need to unleash the artistic potential that begins to speak louder than anything else and invites the change.
The recent story of Mr Brody, the Oscar winner for the cinematic masterpiece by Polansky ‘Pianist’, is a great example that successful career is not something that gives one permission to ‘sit down and relax’.
It is important for me to stress, right here, that making yourself a name as an international artist (known today as ‘personal branding’) used to be an almost impossible task in the past, having in mind no social media that faster than ever before, turn the world into a global village. In the past there were no international online art galleries such as artsy.net, artfinder.com, saatchiart.com or etsy.com, let alone the talent search platforms such as artisize.com that connects artists around the world to art “seekers”. The artist had no chance to post, tag and promote their work. All they had was their talent and will to work hard.
Can you imagine what would have happened if Van Gogh could use Instagram on daily basis, sitting alone in his room in Arles? Imagine he had the opportunity to interact with thousands and millions of his followers and share his work, contact galleries and museums? Can you picture Monet promoting his water lilies series on Facebook Fanpage, waiting for another like, making selfies – while playing with his smartphone in Giverny?
Claude Monet at his gardens, in Giverny, Paris.
But let’s don’t’ get carried away by ‘what if’s’. Here are the facts on some of the world’s most famous painters of all the times.
The master of American realism, Edward Hopper didn’t sell a painting until his 30s. In fact nobody really noticed his art until his 40s. After the sale of single painting in his 30s he struggled financially for another 10 years before becoming recognized for his highly unique stylistic features in his paintings of American life.
Edward Hopper Sketching in Paris, 1927. Gelatin Silver print. Frances Mulhall Achilles Library
Edward Hopper, ‘Western Hotel’, 1957, National Gallery Of Art, Washington, US
Edward Hopper, ‘Hotel By The Railroad’, 1952, Private Collection
Cezanne, on the other hand, went off to Paris in his early 20s as an enthusiastic young painter to go to art school. He failed the entrance exam for the art school Ecole des Beaux-Arts and was knocked back from the Salon many times. He began working with Camille Pissaro in his 30s, so being around peers helped him develop work, and he gained some small accolades in his 40s. He died reclusive and alone before his work was discovered by an English art critic many decades after his death.
Paul Cézanne, Paul Alexis reading to Émile Zola, 1869-1870, oil on canvas, São Paulo Museum of Art
Paul Cezanne, ‘The Bathers’, 1900, National Gallery, London, UK
Paul Cezanne, ‘Boy in the Red Vest’, 1889 or 1890, Foundation E.G. Bührle, valued at $91 million
And here comes another icon of Impressionism.After the death of his wife, when he was in his 40s, Monet began to paint in high volumes. He had painted in his 30s, and received small bits of recognition. He didn’t really hit the ground until nearly halfway through his life. After painting “Impressions Sunrise” in his 30s, it took him another decade before he invented and developed his iconic style. It was the artworks created in his ‘old years’ in Giverny, outside of Paris that contributed to his international fame and recognition
Claude Monet, ‘Le bassin aux nymphéas’, Private Collection – Claude Monet, valued at $89.6 million
Claude Monet, Mother and a child, 1875, Museum of Fine Arts (MFA), Boston, MA, US
The beginning of new year is a perfect moment to make a plan, write down the goals and stick to it, weather you’re an artist, a writer, an entrepreneur or a goalkeeper. If your chased by a creative idea or are busy with something – but aren’t there yet – do not get discouraged, but try over and over again. You just never know where the new journey will end. The trick about trying is is that you could wake up one day as a different, happier, more fulfilled person. This is whom I see now, whenever I look at Adrien Brody images, seeing him proudly posing in front of his paintings.
“Are you ready?” Klaus asked finally.
“No,” Sunny answered.
“Me neither,” Violet said, “but if we wait until we’re ready we’ll be waiting for the rest of our lives, Let’s go.”
― Lemony Snicket, The Ersatz Elevator