3 Life Lessons from Pablo Picasso

While in Màlaga, Spain, Scott and I escaped the rain for a few hours to visit the Picasso Museum. I expected to be wowed by the amazing art but I was not expecting to walk out of there with an incredible amount of respect and awareness of Picasso’s mindset.

Innovation

Picasso is the father of Cubism, a style of art completely unheard of during the time. People know Picasso for his cubist art but what they may not know is he is an incredible “normal” artist who can capture the emotion of a subject better than you could imagine without seeing it for yourself. The difference with Picasso is he understood the imbalance of nature so understood art shouldn’t be balanced either. No eye is exactly the same. No leg is exactly the same. Cubism highlighted this in an unorthodox way. Picasso was also a sculptor who saw art in things as simple as a broken bicycle. On the way home from a friends funeral, he found a bike, connected the handle bars to the seat to produce the skull of a bull in honour of his friend. It’s little things like this that highlight Picasso’s penchant for innovation. How can we make the old new again? How can we create something that leaves a legacy? Picasso was always reinventing himself and his art…how can you?

Created for himself, not for others.

In his 90+ years of life, he created over 5000 works. The incredible thing is he didn’t sell one a piece until after he died. What I never realised is his focus was to create a collection for himself. A memoir of sorts. He loved painting and drawing images of his wife and his child, his family, different matadors, artists, acrobats and all sorts of things that he could remember his travels. He created beautiful works during the Depression and the World Wars that oozed pain and uncertainty in his own way. Unlike others, he didn’t produce images of war but allowed the feeling in the air to penetrate his work. Cubism would never have come about if Picasso was too busy focusing on the opinions of others. Truth is, we would never have known Picasso if he cared for the opinions of others as his art would not have been as memorable as it actually was.

Have a childish flair always

Even at 90, he painted with a childish flair. He painted matadors with a range of strange colours, kind of like a circus clown. He painted men with no backgrounds or context…just dots and strokes of different colours and shades. Picasso never lost his love of life and of his art and this shone through even at the end of his life. Going back to the previous point, it wasn’t about other people…he kept his childish nature to create art that made him happy, that told his story. As a child, we make art without worrying about what others think about us. At what point do we stop because we start thinking about people judging us? Let it go, create as a child would and allow that freedom of expression to filter into all parts of your life.

Thank you Picasso…your lessons and art will live on forever.