Design is the expression of what already exists. Charles H. Duell was the Commissioner of US patent office in 1899. Mr. Deull's most famous attributed utterance is that "everything that can be invented has been invented." Artists and designers find inspiration in the past to translate a vision of our environment. Any form of art recycles what has been done already. The “art” itself is to have the idea to combine these references together and translate that into something inspiring.
To live, artists need to connect to the right audience. Most of the artists we remember as being part of our creative history were seeing the world through the prism of their own emotional and intellectual filters, but they also had a good sense of how to sell their work to the right people. In her book, “Artists have always loved money: from Albrecht Dürer to Damien Hirst”, French journalist Judith Benhamou-Huet demonstrates, in thirteen cases common in history, preconceived notions about artists belonging to posterity - and proves, in passing, that the lure of gain is not the privilege of the present period. Contemporary society looks with displeasure at the Jeff Koons and other Damien Hirst who do not hide their desire for wealth. Yet, artists have always created to become prosperous and recognized. In the twentieth century, Magritte "made" his pipes that were not. But long before him, Cranach was the fortunate painter of an infinite number of Lucretius, Judith, and other Venus, who all resemble each other - reproducing themselves in the sixteenth century as clones. Rubens' "Factory", if it was not really rock'n'roll, was nevertheless a mechanized production site intended for the canvases of the master of Antwerp to invade all the courts of Europe. As for Courbet, the man of the origin of the world, he counted on a fine media strategy to become rich and famous. Even Van Gogh, the archetype of the accursed artist, who died poor and misunderstood, had as his protector one of the greatest art dealers in Paris, in other words his brother Theo.
Money is the only guarantee for artists to have enough financial endurance to express their visions and inspire their audience. People buy art to feel. The most charismatic of them attract a crowd of followers who acquire art to imitate and gain status. And once the artist’s work is recognized and praised, it becomes valid enough for speculators to invest on it. The art then becomes part of history, used as a reference for future artists, and the recycling process starts all over.
As Chinese artist Ai Wei Wei states: “creativity is the power to reject the past, to change the status quo, and to seek a new potential. Simply put, aside from using one’s imagination – perhaps more importantly – creativity is the power to act.” What an adventure it is to be different and to survive outside of the standardized norms of expression!