“After 10 long years he sold a painting.”
“Will we still make our art even if no one is watching?”
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In a world obsessed with views, likes, and viral hits, it can be discouraging to feel like no one is paying any attention to the art you make. If that describes your photography, then you should watch this fantastic 10-minute video essay titled “Painting in the Dark: The Struggle for Art in A World Obsessed with Popularity.”
In it, Adam Westbrook of Delve takes a look at the life and work of Vincent van Gogh. Although he is now one of history’s most celebrated artists, Van Gogh struggled through years of poverty and obscurity during which no one cared about his efforts.
Westbrook shares how Van Gogh started painting relatively late in his life: he was 27 when he completed his first painting, and he knew very little about art at the time.
It would be another 10 years before he sold his first painting, so Van Gogh spent a decade painting with no audience except for his younger brother. During this time, Van Gogh constantly struggled to make ends meet, and he would often write about how hungry he was. …
..despite all the challenges he experienced, he was extremely prolific: in his short career that lasted about a decade, he created roughly 900 paintings and 1,100 drawings and sketches — that’s an average of 200 pieces per year, or 1 every 1.825 days.
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What they don’t say:
“He was deeply religious as a younger man and aspired to be a pastor. From 1879 he worked as a missionary in a mining region in Belgium where he sketched people from the local community.”
“After years of anxiety and frequent bouts of mental illness he died aged 37 from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.” (source)
So maybe Van Gogh should have sought God until he found Him, instead of trying to keep painting….
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The Long Game Part 3: Painting in the Dark