Trial Balloon

Trial Balloon: February 23, 2010 Archive

Ask Dr. Heartlander

Posted at 6:00 AM on February 23, 2010 by Dale Connelly (41 Comments)
Filed under: Ask Dr. Heartlander

Ann_Landers small.jpg

Dear Dr. Heartlander,

I am a sculptor who hopes to be thought of as a great artist long after I am dead. In order to do that, I will have to employ all my talents in terms of beauty and grace, but the work must also speak of my time and the culture I live in.

My problem is in choosing a subject. I find it hard to pick someone to sculpt who has the time to sit for me and who people will agree is worthy of the effort.

It would be so easy to make a mistake. If I pour all my talent into creating a figure that represents some liar, cheater, a Ponzi scheme perpetrator or some other kind of pathetic loser, I'm afraid my work will be disparaged or worse, ignored! In the old days, you could always chisel out the figure of some God or mythological creature and you could be pretty sure people would accept it as magnificent. Who's going to risk the wrath of Zeus by suggesting his nose looks crooked or his head is shaped like a melon?

In antiquity, it was easy for sculptors to get a rave review. Today, all you get is arguments about whether your subject is qualified to stand on a pedestal. Politicians, athletes, movie stars ... I wouldn't dare take the chance on any of them. I once sent a letter to Tiger Woods, asking if he would sit for a portrait. Now I'm so glad he didn't answer. I could have wasted a year with that one.

Help me, Dr. Heartlander! Who can I sculpt?

PS - it would also help if they had enough money to pay me something now, while I'm living. I'm famished!

Starving Artist.

Dear Starving Artist,

Stop being such a baby. It doesn't matter who you sculpt. The nastier the better - critics of the future won't care if you put a pedestal under somebody who doesn't merit the honor. Is there anyone who truly deserves it?

All you have to worry about is the art itself. Take your time and make it something special.

And if you want to be famous in a thousand years, always remember to look at your subjects as if they were missing their heads and arms. Because that's the way they'll end up. Torso, torso, torso!

But that's only one opinion. What do YOU think, Dr. Heartlander?

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