modigliani, mystery, and me

Just above my computer monitor, the one I stare at all day every day, is this print. A few years back I was lucky enough to go to a Modigliani exhibition at a gallery nearby and was blown away. Completely. I had always been a fan, but this was Modigliani heaven!

This print called to me, I had to have it. And she has been sitting there, staring down at me, ever since.

What is it about a certain painting, photo, essay, poem, that draws us in? That makes us fall in love? That makes it became something we will carry around with us always, until it actually becomes a part of who we are? Is it the piece itself or the artist behind it? We don’t generally know the artist personally, but we feel a kinship with them. We feel that somehow, they are like us.

The strange thing is that most artists I know, myself included, tend to feel that they are different, odd, out of step with everybody else. You know, weird. When I was a teenager, I hated feeling weird. When I got a bit older, I actually wanted to be weirder. But as I have gotten older still…creeping toward fifty (yeeehikes!), I have come to realize that in fact, I am not weird, I am really just like everybody else. So does that mean I’m not really an artist?

No. It means that I have finally figured out that everyone is, or can be, an artist. We can’t all be Modigliani, or Van Gogh. That kind of artist is the guiding star, the one in a million, the one that solves the mystery of what art is and then claws their way back to humanity by sharing their soul with the world. We can’t all make it that far. The sacrifice is too great.

But to be an artist, to live as an artist, is simply this: You have to sit down and make art. In whatever form makes you happy. You have to actually sit there, with just you, yourself and maybe your good friend Modigliani, and do the work. Paint, draw, take photos, write, design jewelry, dance, sew. If you are there, actually doing the work of being an artist, then you are, indeed, an artist.

You might not be famous. You probably won’t get rich. But if you are lucky, someday someone might fall so in love with a piece of your work that they will carry it around with them until it becomes a part of who they are.

Thanks, Modigliani.


I LOVE this! I definitely
needed to reminded of this
today. I don’t know why, but
one of my favorite lines from
Ratatouille (I KNOW!) came to
mind. “Not everyone can become
a great artist. But a great
artist can come from anywhere.”
~Anton Ego

You have a beautiful blog Kelly!

Thank you so much, I am glad you stopped by. Love that quote, I never made it to see that one, but Finding Nemo is still one of my favorite movies!


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the original work of Kelly Letky, unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved.
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