BY JACOB MATTHEWS | Opinion
A Dangerous Lesson
The rise of Hunter Biden’s art career proves that fame trumps talent. It’s a discouraging lesson for many young, talented artists who are struggling to be noticed in the overcrowded art world. The message is clear, no matter how good your art is, unless you have famous parents, chances are, you won’t make it.
Those that decide to stay in the art game may take away a much more dangerous lesson – to be noticed you must embrace scandalous decadence and become a self-destructive public figure like Hunter Biden. After all it worked for Andy Warhol, who was a lifelong drug addict; it worked for Jackson Pollock, who was an alcoholic for most of his life; it worked for Petr Pavlensky, who nailed his scrotum to the ground; it just may work for you – right?
You may think that doing something outrageous will attract attention to your art, however chances are, your performance will be nothing but a small blip on the art market radar. Learn from Vincent van Gogh who lived in poverty and agony all his life, eventually cutting off his ear and committing suicide. There’s nothing romantic or glamorous about that, and all the colossal post-mortem success of van Gogh’s paintings means nothing to him, for he is dead.
Sadly, van Gogh was one of the first artists that unintentionally started this dangerous trend. From then on countless artists have been trying, and for the most part failing, to imitate his disturbed personality in hopes of attracting attention. To this day there are thousands of wannabe artists attempting to outdo each other, not in the quality of their art, but in some scandalous act or another. Most serious art collectors see right through such shenanigans and try to avoid these unstable people. Unfortunately, once in a while some of these train wrecks, like Hunter Biden, win the art-lottery and in doing so set a terrible example for every other artist out there.
As a result, there are now armies of disturbed paint-splashers all over the world who call themselves artists. They splash paint on canvas, claim it’s as misunderstood expression of their emotions, do scandalous, often dangerous self-promotion, and get nowhere. Why? Because they aren’t Hunter Biden. Because they don’t have a rich daddy. Because in trying to be like Biden, Warhol or Pollock they all became the same paint splashers that are imitating a select few who have been chosen to win the art-lottery. You don’t need to take it on faith, go on eBay and see how flooded it is with modern abstract art of every sort, most of which is no better or worse than Biden’s artworks.
I Have a Famous Father Therefore I Can Be a Famous Artist
This trend has been gaining momentum for decades, with Hunter Biden being the latest wealthy offspring who decided to capitalize on his father’s fame. Three characteristic that unite all these “child-artists:” they have rich celebrity parents; they haven’t accomplished much on their own; their art is just paint smeared on canvas (as they don’t actually know how to draw or paint).
To become a professional artist, you need talent and (if means allow) a good artistic education. That takes discipline and commitment, something that so many children of celebrities woefully lack. Hunter is a perfect example of this. There’s nothing difficult or innovative about his art style. His artworks lack discipline, complexity, originality, and uniqueness. For a serious art critic there’s simply nothing there to judge because Hunter Biden just splashes pain on canvas in random ways just like hundreds of thousands of other untalented and unknown paint-splashers. Every person reading this can do what Hunter does, and possibly better.
The fact of the matter is that if Biden’s name was removed from his artworks, they wouldn’t sell even for $20. Some may not sell, period. Try it. Replace his name with a made-up one and list such a “masterpiece” for sale on eBay or Etsy. Better yet, contact Sotheby’s or Christie’s and see what they say. Some of you may ask – how could this be?
C’mon man, if there is a posterchild for privilege in the art world – Hunter Biden is it. There’s simply no one more privileged in the modern art world right now than Hunter and yet the media, that normally can’t stop talking about privilege, is suddenly found looking the other way in total silence. It’s amazing how many journalists and art critics, who love accusing every one of their privileges, now pretend to be completely oblivious to the blatantly obvious unearned privilege that has been bestowed upon the son of the 46th President of the United States.
And what did he do with all of this privilege, fame, and fortune? Did he pursue higher art education from the best universities? Did he travel the world studying from the best artists? Did he use his status, wealth, and free time (that so few of us have) to attempt to create truly spectacular works of art like Michelangelo, Rembrandt, Vermeer or Rubes? No, he certainly did not. Hunter Biden squandered his privilege and like so many paint-splashers chose the easy path of creating generic abstractions.
There’s nothing wrong with privilege if you use it to become a better version of yourself. However, the more of it you have, the more responsibility is upon you to strive for extraordinary achievements. Hunter Biden is neither responsible nor extraordinary and that is the tragedy of his wasted privilege, but he is not entirely at fault for his scandalous art career. The Media is.
Hunter Biden is a grown man and can make any art he wants. It’s the mainstream media that has blown his new hobby out of proportion, created a hype, gave him a pass on his privilege, and drove up prices on his artworks. Prominent journalists, reporters, and art critics offered virtually no criticism of his art. Most jumped on the Biden Train in hopes of advancing their journalistic careers. In doing so promoting yet another untalented painter that is clearly a bad example for many artists that don’t have all the wealth, fame, and free time that Hunter takes for granted.
In reality, when artistic standards are diluted to a point where no standards exist, being an artist becomes the easiest thing in the world. The only difference is: if you are famous, it’s essentially a license to print money in a short amount of time; if you are unknown, it can be a profession that will consume your time and money with lifelong consequences. The media doesn’t tell you this. Instead, by promoting people like Biden, they often lead many new artists down a path of scandal and self-destruction.
What To Do
Don’t be like Biden. Don’t abuse alcohol and drugs; don’t be an irresponsible screwup; don’t humiliate yourself; don’t create scandal or risk your mental and physical health. Don’t take the easy path of abstract art, like just about everyone else. Instead, focus on improving your skill as an artist. Try to be truly different. Take the hard path that virtually no one dares to take. Strive to get a good artistic education; learn from the old masters that have withstood the test of time, and attempt to create difficult, complex, extraordinary art that so few nowadays can. Challenge yourself, test and experiment with different genres and style, go outside of your comfort zone in pursuit of perfection. This is what will make you stand out in the art world, this is what will get you noticed, and if you keep at it – this is what someday will make you a successful artist.
The World Art News (WAN) is not liable for the content of this publication. All statements and views expressed herein are only an opinion. Act at your own risk. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written permission. © The World Art News