“Strive to be a genius or be a nobody”
Is the pressure that contemporary culture put on artists. But are artists really meant to solve the inner and outer mysteries of life?
Although the Enlightenment did a lot of good to dispel superstition and promote science, they took it too far. The Romantics swung to the other pole and put “fine art” on a pedestal, strangling craftsmanship in the process.
The heritage from the Romantics and the Enlightenment not only demolished crafts and and made the art-genius a kind of religious figure, but as a side-effect placed a tremendous burden on generations of artists following: “Solve the meaning of life with every pencil stroke”.
No artist can live like that. But here’s the good news: There is no genius. There is no “fine art”. The job of an artist is not to solve the philosophical complexities of life. Neither is it devoted to genius. As Hans Rookmaker puts it: “Art needs no Justification” That does not mean, that the artist should be lazy. On the contrary. Mastery and content is crucial to good art. But the Super-rationalists were wrong. And so were the Super-art freaks. There is mystery. There is art – and crafts – to be made.