What came first the chicken or the egg? Did the artists listed below get away with eccentric behaviors because of their fame and talent? Or are they a product of their environments? Have we cultivated a persona of the eccentric artist over the years that celebrates behavior counter to our societal norms?
I despise the trope of the strange and tortured artist more than crocs with socks. Or just crocs in general. But, you know what they say, if the shoe fits.
Dali has a list of eccentric behaviors a mile long. But, the strangest has to be filling his Rolls-Royce with cauliflower. You could say Dali arrived at the Sorbonne to deliver his lecture “Phenomenological Aspects of the Critical Paranoiac Method” in style.
The famed Italian Renaissance master never bathed in his lifetime.
Picasso always carried a revolver with him and loaded it with blanks. Whenever he encountered an admirer who was a bit too curious about his artwork, he would fire at them. A bit of an over reaction if you ask us.
O’Keefe used to paint in the back of her car, in the summer, in the Santa Fe desert. Not the strangest of the bunch, but still questionable behavior considering the summer temperatures in Santa Fe.
Wilde had a pet lobster that he would take for walks. Wilde loved the pet lobster because “It does not bark and knows the secrets of the sea”.
Satie the French composer created his own religion and compulsively collected umbrellas.
The guy cut off part of his ear after a fight with his best friend and rumored lover, Paul Gaugin. Because nothing says “I love you” like a sliver of an ear.
So, what do you think? Do we allow eccentric behaviors from artists because we’ve been programmed to?
Or are we just a strange lot after all?
Kaeley is a contemporary artist and cultural organizer who loves good espresso and a cold Coke Zero.