(a)nderstatements

Learn like a pro

On ArtistsPia Clodi

Thinking about art there is hardly a day that Picasso doesn’t go about in my head. Today I am walking through the rooms of the Picasso museum in Barcelona - seeing his early work was such an eye-opening experience. There was no “Picasso" in any of them, there was just someone trying to draw well. And oh he did! You could see that he was relentlessly practicing, copying and learning from the masters.

Picasso famously said to "Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist." and although it might be especially painful in a field that asks for originality and a creativity, I believe it is a vital part of every artists development: We all start off trying to create something that we see works, that we are magically drawn towards and fascinated by so much that we are willing to face potential failure to achieve it. As Will Gompertz writes in his absolutely delightful book Think like an artist: "Look at the early work of any artist and you will see an impersonator yet to find his or her own voice.”

He’s 23 years old in this picture. Did he know back then what would lie ahead? He surely wasn’t afraid to find out. Let’s not be either. Let’s learn and understand, create and try to achieve. Let's make a home in a craft - any craft, be it in art or in business - let’s make it ours. Then yes, then we can start to truly unfold: Taking away layer by layer, bit by bit until you reach an unknown ground on which the essential becomes visible and what is you can no longer be denied. 

Pablo Picasso as a young man