the Artist as his Greatest Masterpiece

That Andy Warhol’s best Factory product was a masterpiece made from his own person all critics generally approve – yet to what degree can we extrapolate it to produce a statement such as the following, which claims the world’s lot of genuinely prodigious artists do the same – make works of art of themselves ? Surely a man nicknamed Drella can’t constitute an argument sufficient for validating this.

Well, since from time immemorial sculptors, painters, composers, writers & co., however introvert or gregarious, did nothing in this regard but showcase their personality, character, and even physique by ways quite similar to those employed in producing their works, why shouldn’t we consider Warhol’s case emblematic? Alongside Vincent van Gogh, Dali, Picasso, Artemisia Gentileschi et cetera – each a prominent figure boasting to have mesmerized the public with pictures on canvas as well as self-portraits ex personal flesh and blood – the ‘Campbell’s Soup’ maverick is a paragon of artist turned masterpiece. Because, not much unlike these memorable individuals above enumerated, he took a raggedy, bashful young man, dressed him up in his ‘Andy costume‘ and thus gave birth to a whole new symbol. Because he generated a persona he could subsequently interpret to gargantuan fame.

People are just engrossed by the spectacle a living work-of-art provides. And it’s all the more captivating to watch a man renowned for immortalizing various subjects in marble or written word do the reflexive thing, contrive to become his very magnum opus. Midas gilding Midas. The icon-maker resolving to act out the idol.

The artist as his greatest work.

Wouldn’t we all feel tempted to do that?



Patricia Beykrat – the Roving Aesthete


11 responses to “the Artist as his Greatest Masterpiece

  1. Pingback: The Arts United, Vol 3: Metaphysical Expressions | Reason & Existenz·

  2. We as a society are amused by the production more so then we are the actual execution of anything. Look at concert artists — they study for months their choreography and placement, all for a show that last no more than an hour. Warhol comprehended that like any great artist, he saw that the performance caught attention, but it was the creating and undoing that really kept society focus.

    P.S. I really loved this article!

    • I do like that analogy with performing artists like singers and dancers whose lengthily conceived work is only shortly admired. One famous painter of the 19th century, Delacroix, was upset over quite the same thing: he complained his work, which lasted years or even decades to perfect, was barely looked at for a few seconds…
      P.S. I hope you stay tuned for more!

      • You can never please an artist, I think. How could anyone please someone who truly doesn’t know what they wanted or intended in the first place? Artists are a form of genius — it just happens to be the form most commonly associated with insanity.

      • We wouldn’t have half the wonders in the world if if wasn’t for the insane ones out there. Even the mentally insane and deranged give inspiration to others. Maybe not to necessarily kill, or do deranged things themselves, but inspiration to write or paint about things — which gives life a richer appearance and feel in turn.

  3. All artists whether it’s a painter, photographer, or even a writer are always judged for some reason. I mean when people ask us what do we do, and when we name our craft as a job, the eyes may roll, teeth will suck, or it’s the awkward silence that they have. I say it’s not always the destination, it’s the journey. Keep doing what you love.

    • I think it may be both: it’s always rewarding to fulfill a dream and reach a target but at equal value stands this enjoyment of the whole process. Thank you for sharing your opinion!

  4. Very well said. I love your insights, you have a deep understanding of the mystery called creativity.

    I can relate to this pretty strongly since I tend to see myself, a juggling runner, as a work of art, a masterpiece in the making. The joggling isn’t my art, I am my art. It really is just a form of distance dancing. Making art on the run.

    This is why I don’t feel so embarrassed when I drop balls or screw up; error, or imperfection is an important element in any great art. Most people see and admire me for all but a few seconds, but that is fine. Sometimes I may even sing a little while juggling. I really should sing more. If this makes more people think I am insane, this is a good thing. I think we should all strive to be a little more crazy, to become artists who are our own works of art and turn ourselves inside out.

    We should always be our own most important work of art; the “works”(songs, paintings, writings) we produce should be a mere side effect of this constant striving of creativity and reinvention, of breaking through to higher levels of conciousness and transcendance.

    • In certain aspects, all great artists I can momentarily recall have made masterpieces of themselves at a certain point.
      Having your art in your hands through, say, it’s exhibition, you can easily be associated with it as integral part which is not by far the case with either writers, painters or sculptors, the traditional set. Genuinely interesting given that not many see joggling art. But than again, how many people think about what true art looks like vs. what they were thought it looks like?
      Thank you for the feedback!

  5. Pingback: Muse or Artist – Which to Be? | The Art Clique·

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