Van Gogh: ‘These waves are claws, the boat is caught in them, you can feel it.’

Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai finished his most famous work, The Great Wave, at the age of 71. Upon seeing the print, Van Gogh remarked: “These waves are claws, the boat is caught in them, you can feel it.” Read about Hokusai’s great wave: a lesson in persistence

Van Gogh’s fascination with Japan

Japanese art flooded Western Europe when in 1854, America forced Japan to open its borders to trade. Some of the prints of Japanese woodcuts made it all the way to Vincent Van Gogh in Paris. He grew obsessed with ukyio-e, or “pictures of the world,” joyful elements he copied into his own art. ‘Seeing with … Continue reading “Van Gogh’s fascination with Japan”

Hokusai’s great wave: a lesson in persistence

Can we improve our craft over time? The Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849) seemed to think so. “Until the age of 70, nothing I drew was worthy of notice. At 110, every dot and every stroke will be as though alive.” He only lived until 89, but he proved his theory of incremental improvement. He finished his most famous work, … Continue reading “Hokusai’s great wave: a lesson in persistence”

The internet could save your life

The internet could save your life because it allows you to skip the process of being picked. Anyone can be an author, musician, photographer without waiting to partner up with a label or a distributor. Standing out in a sea of DIY artists is the real challenge. Ryan Holiday argues that most people should not … Continue reading “The internet could save your life”

Loving Vincent: When nobody becomes a somebody 

Vincent Van Gogh was a nobody. He only sold one piece of art while he was alive and it was to his brother! But that’s who we all are at the core — small sprinkles on Earth in a vast universe. If the solar eclipse was any reminder, the cosmos operate whether humans exist or … Continue reading “Loving Vincent: When nobody becomes a somebody “

Success, no matter the age

When it comes to success, age is just a number. Van Gogh only sold one piece of art before he passed away, and it was to his brother. According to a recent study, success is “a combination of personality, persistence and pure luck, as well as intelligence.” Younger people are more productive, increasing the likeliness … Continue reading “Success, no matter the age”

‘It is a joy to be hidden, and a disaster not to be found.’

Success bears responsibility. All of a sudden, your work and words mean something because the first time in your life people who you’ve never met are listening to you. “It is a joy to be hidden, and a disaster not to be found.”– D.W. Winnicott The alternative to fame is anonymity. Van Gogh gained recognition … Continue reading “‘It is a joy to be hidden, and a disaster not to be found.’”

Newsletter: The art of the wasted day

Hi Friends, below are some interesting links I discovered this week.  Summary: Author Patricia Hampl wants to get rid of the to-do list. Mike Vardy ditches the computer for plain pen and paper to get stuff done. Van Gogh emulated Japanese prints. Video footage of New York City from 1911. Check out all these links and more … Continue reading “Newsletter: The art of the wasted day”

The only reassurance you need

We treat fame and social media status like currency. We presuppose that anonymity or a lack of engagement trivializes what we do. Even worse, we let TV and Instagram determine our self-worth. But what and who matters is rarely popular. No one wants to pull back the curtain and see the sweat and tears of … Continue reading “The only reassurance you need”

Staying edgy…

The audience already exists. The hard part is getting them to pay attention to your story. How do you gain a fan base in the era of distraction? You select a specific audience, even one person, and write for them. Different is attractive.  The first few years of anonymity are hardest but they are also the … Continue reading “Staying edgy…”

Creativity is a form of prayer

We give anxiety power, and the right brain consciousness loves to conjure up imaginary bombs of self-destruction. What if instead of keeping any worries in we could express them through outward movement, some form of art. The art of fiction, the art of underwater basket weaving, the art of rolling dice — whatever you fancy … Continue reading “Creativity is a form of prayer”

How to unthink

Knowledge can be a hindrance. The more we know, the more likely we’re to hesitate in times of execution. So the overthinking basketball player misses a wide-open layup, the tennis player misses an easy return, or the painter or writer can’t seem to get their inspiration to convert on a blank canvas. Stalling is a … Continue reading “How to unthink”

Be Like Mike

    Hemingway wrote in Moleskine notebooks. So did Van Gogh and Picasso. What kid does not want to play basketball in a pair of Jordans? We use other people’s tools believing that we can enjoy the same success. However, we often fall short of the dream. “You don’t get what you hope for. You … Continue reading “Be Like Mike”

Finding Vivian Maier

The 19th-century French novelist Gustave Flaubert once said to be “be regular and orderly in your life like a Bourgeois so that you may be violent and original in your work.” Vivian Maier took this to heart. No one ever knew this nanny was an artist of her own. She took over 100,000 photos, mostly street … Continue reading “Finding Vivian Maier”

Kevin Kelly: ‘I define art as cool and useless’

Kevin Kelly was the former editor of the Whole Earth Catalog, the counterculture magazine Steve Jobs adored. He also founded Wired Magazine and continues to write books and give speeches worldwide about the future of technology. Below are some of the most interesting highlights of a recent interview with an online publication The Caret. Just … Continue reading “Kevin Kelly: ‘I define art as cool and useless’”