What You Like Reveals Who YOU Are
“Who is your favorite artist?” These days I have received this question repeatedly from people around me. In every occasion I gave a different answer and none of those answers can be regarded as a satisfying answer to myself. Yesterday I got asked the same question again when I was at BBuzzArt’s office and it urged me to think about it seriously.
When I was in kindergarten, I told my teacher that I wanted to be Picasso. At that time, Pablo Picasso was the only artist I knew. It was a time when I did not have “artist” in my vocabulary bank, when I wanted to be a “painter”.
As I grew up, I never really liked Picasso. At university when I encountered the story between Picasso and Georges Braque, I even hated him — they shared the same studio and developed Cubism together, yet Picasso was the one who got famous while Braque died with less than 70 paintings in his life. When I came across their paintings in museum, I preferred Braque over Picasso. Yet I learnt a lesson: some people value quantity, some value quality. Both could lead to success if you are persistent enough.
When I was in elementary school, I got to have a first favorite artist — Vincent can Gogh. Again, the major reason is that van Gogh is one of the limited artists I knew at that age. But even if you ask me today, he is still one of my all time favorites.
Like all other people, The Starry Night is the first painting of van Gogh that I knew. Instead of seeing any of the copies or products of the painting, I got to know it because I received an acoustic love song collection album First of May for my birthday and Don McLean’s song Vincent(Starry Starry Night) was featured. To be precise, I fell into the romantic feeling of van Gogh’s tragic life at first.
Throughout my art study, van Gogh had always been my subject to study. In high school I did copies of his oil paintings. At university I immediately chose him to be my study subject for my first essay. I read through all letters Vincent wrote to Theo. Finally in Year 2, I got the chance to visit Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. I spent half day crying in front of Almond Blossom. Until today I do not know why Almond Blossom could give me that touch instead of any of the other paintings.
Yesterday I answered Yoko Ono. At university, I did love Yoko Ono. Feminist Art opened my eye about how art can be. I was impressed by many of the 1960s radical artists including Annette Message, Carolee Schneemannr, Orlan, etc. Yet none of them I called favorite except Ono. I love how poetic and elegant her works are despite sharing the same radical mind. But when coming back to the present, scrolling through her Facebook, how John Lennon was brought up (if not by herself) for promotion, my interest seems to have faded. Just as my feelings to Marina Abramović, sorry to say but my favorite works of hers are the works with Ulay.
At university I ‘fell in love’ with many artists, but only in a short time. I spent nights and nights reading their autobiographies with tears. Yet the love could not last. To be called ‘favorite’, to me, it should contain certain degree of fondness that I could ‘like’ them.
Say I loved Andy Warhol for a while. Before I read his autobiography From A to B and Back Again, I hated him, for how witty he is to make big money by art, for how he calls art ‘art business’. But then that autobiography changed me. Warhol is a result, almost a product of his times, those things I used to hate in him are not actually ‘him’, but the sad truth of our society.
From time to time, my favorites change. Because I change. Creating or appreciating, art is self-discovery process. I no longer could pick a favorite artist since with a certain degree of understanding, I believe I could find appreciation. Every piece of genuine artwork brings me a new perspective in life, agree or not, they help me grow as a person.
By Celia Liu
What about you? How has art brought influence to your life? If you have any art stories to share, or art topics that are troubling you at the moment, shoot us an email under the subject ‘A Letter to BBuzzArt Curator’ at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will post your stories with your consent. We will also reply and discuss the topics you have brought up. In art we are together!
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