Tirade – Sell Yourself Shorter

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec with Tremolada, standing next to Jules Chéret’s 1889 poster, Bal du Moulin Rouge, Place Blanche, ca. 1890

Written by Adam Holzrichter.

Does your personality fit neatly into categories that make it easier for others to determine your value? Do you demand the art you collect follows similar criteria? You absolutely should.

When looking at artists throughout history you probably notice a striking resemblance from one of their paintings to the next. Very occasionally there’s this moment where a person breaks through their self-imposed limitations and begins to believe in what they’re doing. It’s what makes them recognizable. Ideally, it accentuates their complexity rather than just abbreviating it. The life they’ve lived comes out in broad strokes, and lands neatly into the public marketplace with crystal-clear identifiers. A brand STAR is born!

Someone might tell you that Andy Warhol understood business. What I think he understood was that people are most digestible in small doses (especially him). The more you get to know someone’s habits the more distant you want to be from them. Familiarity breeds contempt. When an audience stops being seduced with fresh ideas by a favorite artist they may be lost forever. Everything around us reinforces this way of thinking. Cliches like “the new normal” and “adapt or die” are both brutally true ways of looking at modern life; life is truly as unjust as business itself! Do we hit a standstill in awful recognition of this basic truth?

There’s another cliched slogan I like to remind myself of whenever I’m working: K.I.S.S.(Keep It Simple, Stupid). The basic concept here is that paring things down to their strongest parts will help to ensure success in anything. When we look at ourselves we tend to want to highlight our every strength. Truthfully, a strong jawline is accentuated better by a visible collar bone than any necklace. Making that kind of assessment in your artwork will go a long way. Perhaps even farther in your personal life.

Henri Toulouse-Lautrec, “At The Moulin Rouge” (1892-95), 123 cm × 140 cm (48 in × 55 in)

One thought on “Tirade – Sell Yourself Shorter

  1. Everyone is interesting & boring, beautiful & ugly, stupid & smart.
    Time reveals all sides.
    The evolution of an artists work is not dissimilar to my eyes.
    Great thoughts, really got me to think.

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