Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Albrecht Durer on Advertising.

If you ever decide to search for the apotheosis of Western art, looking at the work of Albrecht Durer isn't a bad place to start. His work has a precision, soul and depth that's hard to fault. Or maybe I just like zoo animals.

In any event, during the course of my recent literary, historical and biographical peregrinations I happened upon this quotation by 19th Century millionaire art historian and patron Charles Ephrussi on Durer.

"Picking up a drawing enables us to catch the thought of the artist in all its freshness, at the very moment of manifestation, with perhaps even more truth and sincerity than in the works that require arduous hours of labour, with the defiant patience of genius."

It's the last five words of the above that caught me..."the defiant patience of genius."

This is not to say that I believe any work in advertising is genius on the level of a Durer. No, that ain't the point.

What first struck me in the quotation was the word 'defiant.' Being a creative takes defiance. It demands an upset of the status quo, a search for the startling, the different, the unexpected, bold, unorthodox.

The word 'patience' is next. Genius/creativity takes patience. It takes an abnegation of those timesheet terrorists who rush you along. Patience doesn't mean slow. It means a dedication to the task that is stronger than those ephemera that press on you. It means unraveling a problem on your walk to the train, in the shower. It means the patience to derive something defiant against all odds.

An atmosphere that encourages or at least allows defiant patience is a hallmark of successful agencies. Successful creatives, too.


Rich Siegel said...

Peregrinations. Ephemera. Abnegation. Good night nurse, George. You're killing me. Now I'm questioning the validity of my SAT scores.

george tannenbaum said...

Sorry, Rich.

Here's the deal. I work all day without a partner. I have no one to talk to. No one to fill the important role of amusing me. So, I get screwed into my own head and decide I must amuse myself. So I trot out the vocabulary I've acquired over the years. Which amuses me. And since no one actually reads this blog, some times I lay it on a little thick.

Dinesh Bhadwal said...

I, on the other hand, like the words you use and the way you use them. The one i remember is schmoose. I like your point that ‘patience doesn't mean slow’. But how will you make others understand that you are not being slow but patient to produce quality work. Especially, if they don’t need or want good work.

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