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 You may also like:

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 […]

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, […]

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 […]

‘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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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