The Picasso Effect

Art is weird, right?

I mean, it’s the expression and perspective of one person at one time in space. So, it is completely dependent on how their ability, ideas, and experiences will shape their work. (Note: This is why that dog on a spaceship that your 3-year-old nephew drew doesn’t really look like a dog on a spaceship. But you’ll hang it on the fridge anyway).

And that first element, ability, is the really important part of art. What good is an artist if he or she cannot render how the world really is as well as what the artist perceives?

Well, actually, it turns out, that artist can still be pretty darn good if he or she does not adhere strictly to the rules of reality. Take Picasso. See Exhibit van Gogh. Look at Monet. Just because they didn’t paint in a realistic style does not mean they couldn’t. In fact, they needed a core understanding of how to paint “well” in order to deviate completely from the straight forward, photorealistic self-portraits of the time. If they had stuck to their basic skills learned in any class, they would have created art. Instead, they chose to strip away all of their knowledge and so made masterpieces.

Let me give you a more concrete and less abstract (art) example. I know how to dress to fit in. I know what make up to wear. I know what hair style is current. I know all of this because it is being forced down my throat in every media outlet, but I also know this because other people are reinforcing it for me by the way they style themselves as well. In the end, I could easily put on the right clothes, the right make-up, and do my hair the right way, and I might be considered by popular media to be “pretty.”

But I reject striving for “prettiness.” Instead, I strive for “me,” and my own truth, whatever that may be, and yes, my own truth sometimes eclipses with popular media’s desires for me (van Gogh did craft a self-portrait, after all), but mostly I try to step out of the box that people try to put me in, the same box that they try to stuff Picasso, van Gogh, and Monet in when they told them that they were not making art.

The basic point is that I know all too well how to fit in. I would have no trouble doing so, like a leaf floating down a fast-moving stream. It is that I choose not to.

Whenever you rebel against the norm, it is the Picasso Effect at work. It is simply doing what is different and new at the cost of your own personal comfort and the comfort of those around you. (Because when you aren’t doing what people expect, they get uncomfortable real fast.)

My only hope for you is that you will effect to the highest degree of Picasso, whenever faced with the choice to do so. That you will acknowledge your teachings but abandon them in favor of your own vision, irregardless of your ability. In the end, my one hope is that you will stay true to yourself no matter what the cost.

 

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