How to Fail as an Artist, 4

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Before you can fail as an artist, you must look the part.

Let's use the best artistic failure known to man, Jackson Pollock, as an example.

You may know that Pollack, whose elder brother studied art, wanted to be an artist from youth. What you may not know is that he literally dressed in a smock and beret in the best stereotype of a French painter.

Pollack was smart to destroy as much of the photographic evidence as possible, but the photo (right) gives you a fair idea what he looked like.

Naturally, no one was ever going to take him seriously like that, but fortunately Pollack was cultivating a new look by the time he was 20.

The greater part of Pollack's genius was in being timely. American sentiments towards foreigners and foreign culture had taken a decidedly negative turn after WWII, and Pollack was able to fashion a new stereotype of a manly, American artist.
I can easily see him saying, "how do you like that, you f***ing commies?" when his work went overseas. He could not have been a more perfect cultural ambassador for the States.
So take a lesson from the master and always suit your look to the times. It would not be going too far to have a microprocessor embedded in your forehead just now. Maybe a few LEDs. Think about it.


Cecile/DreamCreateRepeat said...

Jackson Pollack had another typical artist signature: he had an early starving artist period. I grew up in the town where he spent much of his time, and a HUGE Jackson Pollack hung in the stairwell up to the doctor's second floor office. Turns out, he treated Pollack when he was sick once and the painting was his payment! ; )

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