Chade-Meng Tan was hired by Google to be the company's official Jolly Good Fellow (That is his formal job description). His job is to "spread compassion, good will and world peace throughout the company". In this 15 minute video Chade-Meng Tan talks about compassion as the true source of business success. I found it relevant to the post personal project in so many ways. One is that compassion could also be a true source of artistic inspiration. Making me wonder, how would an artist express compassion through art?
The true artist has a faith in what he or she is doing that is so strong it doesn’t matter if anyone has a negative opinion about it.
This was true of the Impressionists. It was true of Van Gogh.
If great artists of the past had stopped creating art the moment someone said an unpleasant thing about it then we would not be speaking off them today.
Genius moves forward regardless of personal inadequacies. It never stops. It persists regardless of any deficiencies in skill, precision or talent.
Many of the greatest artist of the world were never talented. They just never gave up. It is because of their audacity and passion regardless of their limitations that we are able to be inspired by them today.
That doesn't mean a person should never accept advice or criticism, it just means that advice and criticism will not stop you.
Some may say, Yes, what you say may be true of a genius, or some great artist, but certainly not me.
The only difference between you and a truly great artists is that the truly great artist doesn’t think about himself; how he's measuring up. Instead, he is busy applying 100% of his attention to his creativity.
Internal criticism is the worst. If you believe in your negative opinions about yourself, they will crush you. But why be crushed?
Believing you are either great or inadequate if for amateurs. If you have a fire in your heart then let it burn through your life and into the world. The rest will take care of itself.
"True self-interest is alway in the true self-interest of others." —ph
"Be the change you want to see in the world." —Mahatma Gandhi
If that same inspiration could be applied to the art world then we could say "Be the change you want to see in the art world".
If you have a passion to make beautiful, truthful and meaningful art in an art world that sometimes seems superficial and self-centric, then you are the one to bring the change that you want to see.
Great artists of the past, such as Vincent Van Gogh, gave their lives passionately to their art while believing that their effort was somehow spiritually valuable to themselves and to all of humanity.
But if we artists today are merely focused on amassing wealth and celebrity then their profound effort, spiritual depth and passion will have been wasted and misunderstood.
The degree of superficiality in the art world today implies that the soulful struggle of artists of the past is now irrelevant. Who cares about substance, depth, honorable purpose or a profound connection to nature and humanity when achieving immediate popularity feels so much better?
Let us not squander the magnificent endowment bequeathed to us by Van Gogh and so many other ancestor artists.
Some Van Gogh quotes
“Your profession is not what brings home your paycheck. Your profession is what you were put on Earth to do. With such passion and such intensity that it becomes a spiritual calling.”
[Today we might say "vocation" instead of "profession". Vocation indicates that an activity is a heartfelt calling, not merely a means of earning an income. -ph]
“I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it.”
“If you hear a voice within you saying, ‘You are not an artist,’ then by all means make art . . . and that voice will be silenced, but only by working.”
“The sun itself cannot make the world bright without souls to feel its light.”
Patrick Howe, Artist, Author, Educator, Electronic Music Composer