V I N C E N T
As a recent documentary I watched about his life noted it is so odd that whilst other famous painters who signed their work by their first names are known as such he is not. Yet he left us with a body of work and words that is perhaps unrivalled by other artists. Did I come out the documentary understanding him any better, probably not. Although he did leave behind letters to his brother and contemporaries of the time all of that is subject to our interpretation and we'll never truly understand the depths of his soul and what drove him to produce 2100 works of art in a decade and ultimately take his own life.
All I know is that I find a special magic in his work. It draws me in. My favourite painting is his Cafe Terrace at Night. Perhaps it is just the feeling of safety of being able to sit under the stars and enjoy the company of friends and a good meal that draws me to it. Or the mellow the colours. I don't know. And I believe you shouldn't over analyse art. You should sit back and just appreciate it for what it is and move on if it doesn't move you.
His painting Starry Night is perhaps a reflection of his turbulent mind. But in it I also see the circle of life represented. It is always ongoing and intertwined. And no matter how dark the night the stars will be there to guide a path for you.
I've put up 5 of his images which speak to me for various reasons. For you perhaps they also trigger a connection, or perhaps nothing. There could be other pieces of his, or of other artists, to which you are drawn. That is the magic of art. I personally don't think Vincent Van Gogh is the best technical painter the world has seen, nor the most accurate. It is widely known that he didn't actually know how to paint at first and in fact if you look at some of his paintings they look almost amateurish but perhaps that is why I am so drawn to his work. Despite having to work for his talent he kept at it because he was passionate about it and it shows in the work he produced. Although not as perfect as other painters there is a raw emotion in his work. There is a lesson in that for all of us. No matter how tough it is we need to keep at it because only with hard work and perseverance do we perfect our talents. We all have talents, we just need to work on them.
It is how I am about my photography. I first became a photographer who took photos and only now am I learning the more technical aspects, nearly 5 years down the line. But even so I know I am never going to be a technical photographer. If a slightly out of focus shot speaks to me emotionally then I am just as likely to post it as I would a perfectly executed technical shot. It comes back to the emotions for me.
Vincent Van Gogh was a man ahead of his time. I don't think any of us will really understand what went on his mind but he left us with a treasure trove of art to admire. Fortunately his family want to share it with the world so we have access to that artwork via the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam, instead of most pieces hiding away in private collections. This museum is on my bucket list of places to visit. I think to stand in front of one of his works would be awe inspiring.
Perhaps we all need an artist who speaks to us. His work has helped me see more beauty in my own photography. Also on really bad days over the last year when all I felt was darkness the beauty of his art works has allowed me to see light again and fight my way out the darkness.
To Vincent. We are all listening now.