Somewhere out there is a young artist who I hope will eventually find these words. All the writing I do is directed to this person, who quite possibly hasn’t even been born yet — or who perhaps celebrates a first birthday even as I write. This artist is not like most artists because he (or she) is “destined” to become a great artist. And I am keenly desirous of writing to this young person, not because I have anything essential to tell him since a great artist comes already fully equiped, straight from the factory (who is Mother Nature, after all) with all the innate essentials for greatness intact. What the young great-artist-to-be really needs most of all is encouragement.
Many are the people who would divert you from your path because — well, there are several reasons. One, they do not believe greatness is actually possible — or not anymore — and so you shouldn’t make the attempt, you should instead go with the flow and master all that is hip and happening now. Second, are the people who believe in greatness, they just don’t think you’ve got it. Why? Well, because they know you. The “great” artist cannot be anyone that we know personally since “great” people are always afar off, somewhere else. They are exotic. They live in Paris (19th century) or New York (20th century) or in some other “important” place. They could never live in Delft (Vermeer) or Provence (Cezanne) or in Maine (Winslow Homer). And if you think you’re great, then you’re just conceited. Shame on you. Hipness hubris — since hipness and greatness are joined by an equal sign these days.
[The drawing of asparagus was made by my young, great artist at age 9.]