Tag Archives: Hokusai

The great wave of desperation and The Wave by Hokusai

4 Oct

If you think you know it all, you’re blinded.

Because the wisest know that all they know is not much at all.

If you feel that the more you learn, the less you know, you’re on the right path.

Because to be good, you have to first be bad.

These thoughts are the single most important event of my day. I know Sokrates or some other bloke has probably said things alike before, but the little discovery of these thoughts in me gave me the patience needed on a tight spot. That’s why I wanted to share them, to hopefully give someone else the same mundane Heureka!-moment. The realisation that in this goal-orientated, so-very-functional yet sadly violent society you don’t have to be wonderfully brilliant and dazzling. Good is enough. Half-way there is enough. Less is enough.

Both the source of these thoughts and the thing ripping my patience into shreds in the first place, is this, this devil’s fist of a drawing:

It’s still so hopelessly unfinished that it makes me wanna cry. After spending 9 hours on it and grinding the same shades and lights, going in circles and squinting my eyes to see better till they hurt, my teacher had to literally take the pen from my hand to show me what I was doing wrong. And I still wasn’t sure I got it.

At that moment I was scared of all my teacher’s knowledge and passion (and he is not a scary man at all, more like Harry Hill of the art world. Really quite loveable). He is from the great Art Academy of St. Peterburg and thinking about all the amazing works he’d seen, I wanted to crawl back to my childhood drawing subjects, the covers of Disney films. Just any scribbles that couldn’t be taken seriously, so I wouldn’t feel like a failure.

But then my teacher told me that the Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai had yelled at 72 years old: “Finally, I feel like I can draw something!”

That made me feel better because I happen to love his art. If I could, I would tell him that it truly is quite something. Something incredible.