Thursday, May 29, 2014

The art, the artist

"I don't like being around volatile people. I have no interest in being around geniuses. Those tempestuous volatile geniuses the media likes to hold up. But I had the deepest admiration for his artistry."
--Franklyn Ajaye, quoted in Furious Cool: Richard Pryor and the World That Made Him, by David Henry and Joe Henry

There's a difference between admiring someone's art and admiring that person, a difference between wanting to spend time in the world of an artwork and wanting to spend time with its creator. I don't think every genius has to be a "tortured genius," and a lot of the volatility Ajaye speaks of ends in self-destruction.

Art draws on real emotions, real events. But one challenge artists face is drawing that line between life and art, knowing what can cross that border and what can't.


  1. This is probably why great artists are often mad, don't you think? They become their art.

    1. It may be a chicken-and-egg question. Do they turn to art to express and alleviate some of their suffering, or do they push farther into their suffering for the perceived sake of their art?