Painting in the Dark: The Struggle for Art in a World Obsessed With Popularity

In the age of social media and the oversaturation of information, seeking recognition as an artist or designer can at times be a difficult, self-defeating effort. Creative individuals understandably have high expectations for the reception of their work, and hope for a public response that correlates with the labor spent on its production. In Adam Westbrook's new video essay we get a fantastic argument against the perceived value of modern popularity tied to social media likes and shares. Namely: the career of Vincent van Gogh.

Vincent van Gogh didn’t pick up a pencil with the intention of creating art until the age of 27, and the initial attempts weren’t particularly promising. Still, he persevered in the face of financial ruin, actual starvation, and crippling mental demons while sharing his paintings with an audience of exactly one: his brother Theo. Although his brother was rarely impressed, he continued to paint and create. Incredibly, it would be a full decade before Van Gogh sold his first painting or saw any sort of minimal success. Watch the video above to hear more about Van Gogh’s creative struggle along with some poignant thoughts about the creative process.

This is the third video essay in a series on creativity by Westbrook. See also The Long Game Part 1: Why Leonardo DaVinci Was No Genius and The Long Game Part 2: The Missing Chapter—also embedded below for quick viewing. (via Vimeo Staff Picks)

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