Kanye West recently gave a speech at the Oxford University, comparing himself to Picasso. According to the rapper, if he would’ve pursued a career in fine arts, he would have become Picasso or greater... This is not the first time that Kanye has shown his enormous ego. The Urban Dictionary even acknowledges the term ‘Kanye West Syndrome’ as official slang. According to the dictionary, this term concerns “A person who thinks that people want, or need to hear what they have to say, or what they think about any situation whether it directly involves, or has nothing to do with them at all.” Nobody's a bigger fan of Kanye than Kanye. But way before the Kanye West Syndrome, there was the Picasso Syndrome. And the Dali Syndrome. In history there have actually been a lot of genius artists, architects and writers with enormous larger than life egos, constantly high on their own talent and success.
Painter Gustave Courbet was the self-proclaimed proudest and most arrogant man in France. Architect Frank Lloyd Wright was notorious for believing he was superior to mere mortals. In fact, the architectural genius frequently acted as though the rules – yes, even those of geography and climate - did not apply to him. But when you're Wright, you're right.
Picasso was pretty full of himself as well. According to the artist: “My mother said to me, ‘If you are a soldier, you will become a general. If you are a monk, you will become the Pope.’ Instead, I was a painter, and became Picasso.” Can you be even more arrogant than this artist? Yes you can. If your name is Salvador Dali.
The great artist Dali was definitely not a humble man. He bragged that "Every morning when I awake, the greatest of joys is mine: that of being Salvador Dalí." Yes, he actually said this. Dali was known to walk the streets of New York City with a hand bell, ringing it regularly. He believed that this was the way people would notice him. Well maybe someone should have told mister Dali that his appearance, including the curled up moustache, was already pretty noticeable even without the bell. Dali believed that not being recognised was just too unbearable… the poor guy.
But actually, these attitudes have probably brought them a lot of advantages. Even if these artists were very narcissistic, they had an unwavering certainty about their own talent, which can bring huge artistic benefits. For those who don’t care what others think of them are more likely to take risks and to push beyond what is considered acceptable. These artists broke the rules and made their own. And we still play by their rules. If you are Picasso, you can say whatever you want. We love this attitude at The Public House of Art. Because we are also the very best. Really.
Written by Freelance art writer Rosanne Schipper for The Public House of Art