We hear the kids talking all the time about the popular super heroes of the day. Super heroes seem to come and go, but if you think about your own life, who in your life has been your ever-present super hero? Perhaps a parent, grandparent, aunt or uncle, a special teacher or coach, movie star or musical performer? We all have had them for sure. If you haven’t, you have definitely missed something.
If you could choose any artist, present or historical, to be your role model, your super hero, who would you choose? Would it be someone in the area of the arts you are interested in? Or someone who has nothing to do with your particular area of art but you admire them for other reasons. Many times, people in the arts have worked their way up from poverty and have enjoyed a certain amount of success in their lifetime. If not from poverty, but at least from a background like any of us have had.
Very few artists have come from a family of money and influence. Real talent doesn’t always happen to these people and it seems as though the true talent sprouts from the average, or less. Also, in the mix could be emotional poverty, meaning coming from unloving parents or abusive households. The art work of the adult usually shows these beginnings. They live on in the spirit of the artist and it makes itself apparent in the work even later in life.
While Leonardo da Vinci was born into a modest household, he wasn’t wanted so in his case he suffered in emotional poverty. Van Gogh struggled all of his life to make a go of his art work but was never able to pull it off; he only sold one painting during his lifetime. Paul Cezanne received nothing but criticism and rejection with the salons of his time. He had the same misfortune with relationships and died leaving his family in financial dire straits. The list goes on and on of truly famous historical artists who had all kinds of misfortune and poverty, many never seeing any success with their art work.
Knowing this, who would be your choice for a super hero from present or historical artists? What quality attracts you to these people? Perhaps it is the undying ambition and determination even in light of the results. There has never been a successful artist, modern or historical, who hasn’t worked themselves to death to get where they are (were), and stay there. Like I said, some of them never realized any success during their lifetime. That is a sad thought when so many have work selling now in the millions.
Would you choose a super hero for personality traits? Would you choose Van Gogh even though he bordered on insanity and genius at the same time? Many artists suffer(ed) from one form of mental illness or another, physical illness, and depression. It was not unusual for some to have mad fits of rage. One of these was Beethoven who lost his ability to hear, something dreadful for a composer.
Personally, I think I would have to choose Frida Kahlo as my super hero. Frida suffered from so many set-backs in her life, but she continued to paint even in the face of adversity. Besides the physical problems that besieged her, her personal relationship with Diego was disastrous and unsettled. Yet the will and desire to paint still dwelled in her even on days she had to paint lying in bed because of the pain in her back. What draws me to her? Determination, dedication, perseverance, and the love of her art.
I would love to hear who might be your choice for an artist super hero, past or present. Please post your choices below in the comments, and give reasons why you chose this particular person.