Friday, July 6, 2012

About Fame and Fortune

"Fame, for a painter," said Pablo Picasso, "means sales, gains, fortune, riches. And today, as you know, I am celebrated. I am rich." 

I let my mind wander down that lane.

It is a difficult topic to approach with honesty. One could take the “sour grapes” stand, or express disappointment or pretend to have no feelings at all about it. I have heard talk on the subject from artist friends, mostly desirous of imagined great success. Artist Elmer Bischoff once commented “Success begins and ends in the studio.”

My usual response when the topic arises is to say something along the line of “What I want is, above all, to get up every day and go to my studio.” There are of course a few other things I want. I want my family and friends to be well, food in the frig, a warm and comfortable home to go to when the work is done. And more. Peace in the world around me. An end to the warming of the climate and the deterioration of our planet. Maybe a few other things that I’m not remembering at the moment.

So what would fame and fortune bring that could possibly enhance so perfect a world? Well, the above desired utopian scene is not going to happen very soon. I can’t even arrange my life so that I can be in the studio every day. My children are grown, the husband is history, the grocery shopping done, but still there are chores and obligations and commitments and appointments. Fame would add to those diversions; just imagine: the television and radio interviews, public appearances and paparazzi trailing after one. I do love my privacy. 

Ah, but fortune. Now there’s an attractive scenario. I could have people to clean the house and do the laundry. Someone to do landscaping and yard care to make lovely the lot my house sits on. I would have the dull details of bill paying and checkbook balancing and such given over to a trusted accountant.

But would I be in my studio as much as I would like? Would I not be tempted to visit all the museums of the world and some of the wonders that I have read of? And wouldn’t that defeat the intention I began with? Kind of misses the point, doesn’t it?

So my conclusion here is: If fame and fortune were to come my way (and it would be a little late, I’d say), I would suffer accepting such fate.

The image above is Suffice ©1998, Acrylic on Paper on Canvas, 23" x 87"

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