Art, and confidence…

Just listening to David Bailey talking about Picasso on Radio 4’s ‘Great Lives‘.

There was a discussion about how Picasso scandalised his context by his departure from the accepted rules of painting, in the pursuit of something that came to be known as ‘cubism‘, during which Matthew Paris asked Bailey about confidence, and where it came from. Bailey replied that he had never known a good artist who did not have absolute confidence in their work.

I wondered if this is true?

And if so, is it true for all forms of art?

I think of all the musicians and poets and writers whose art has twisted on a hook of insecurity. Who are driven to create by something inside, but are torn by self criticism and self doubt. Does this make the art less than great, or is it part of the engine for the art itself?

And I decided that great art does not require confidence (although as in all things, it may well help) but it does require tremendous courage. Because what we create, we create out of ourselves. And once created, it leaves some tender vulnerable part of ourselves out in the open where the wolves range.

What confidence does, I think, is allow art to be marketable. It gives shape to commerce. It makes legends in their own lifetimes.