Friday, September 30, 2011
Artist's Name = Widespread Expression
When an artist becomes famous, the nature of that fame usually resides in the images of his work in public's mind. This is different from the fame of movie stars, actors, fashion models and others whose physical appearance is the leading "hook" for public grasping. A few artists are generally recognized by their appearance as well as their work, examples being van Gogh, Lautrec, Picasso and Warhol.
Then there is the odd case where the artist's subject matter becomes a concept that, in turn, is given the artist's name by the public. It's an odd path to artistic immortality, but there it is.
As an American, I naturally think of the Rube Goldberg machine, an elaborate, illogical sequence of odd connections that results in an outcome that could easily have been reached by simpler means.
Above is an example of a Rube Goldberg device and here is the Wikipedia entry for Goldberg who it seems earned an engineering degree from the University of California (Berkeley) before taking up the cartoonist's pen.
If I were British, I would use the term Heath Robinson to refer to the same sort of thing. Below is an example and here is his entry.
Robinson came from a family of illustrators and could whip up some nice, straight work in that field as well as his gizmo cartoons.
I don't know the inner thoughts of Goldberg and Robinson regarding the nature of their fame. But fame of a nice sort is rare, and if I had been them, I'd be happy to accept it.