THE ARTIST AND HIS IMAGE
Image consultants can help artists understand themselves and other people. All artists go through a three-step process of development. An image consultant, more than a psychotherapist, can shepherd the artist through this developmental process.
The first stage of artistic development is the initiation stage. This is where an individual experiences some life trauma or develops a desire to express himself because of some life experience. Usually this is the result of an overbearing older sibling in the case of middle and lastborn children. In the case of firstborns it is usually a good dose of parental conflict that pushes an individual into an artistic career.
During the first stage, the artist’s image of himself is shattered. Instead of developing along normal lines and going into business or banking, an artist has his ego shattered by his older siblings or one or both parents. This leaves him with a void. That void is filled up with imaginary people, who become the subjects of poems, stories, and paintings. The artist’s own self-image is also shattered at this stage and he needs to rebuild it in stage two.
There are many examples of the shattered image of the artist in stage one. James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is an example. Stephen is more of a fractal than a coherent persona. This reflects the angst Joyce himself experienced as a young man after the death of his mother.
The first stage of artistic development is one of transition. During the first stage, the artist is not competent. He is in a state of destruction of his ego and he is in need of religious, psychological, or counseling services that do not materialize. His image of himself is shattered and he is unable to find peace of mind except through art. This is what propels him to become an artist.
THE SECOND STAGE OF ARTISTIC DEVELOPMENT
He develops competence during the second stage. He begins to reform his self-image. The biographies of artists from Picasso, to Rembrandt, to Shakespeare all attest to the development of competence during an artist’s life. This is the time when an image consultant could prove to be invaluable.
Many artists hire image consultants today. Examples include Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, and Jeff Koons. They invariably hire the consultant during their developmental stage, namely the second stage of artistic development. This is because they want to increase in competence and they wish more success would come their way. To accomplish this, they seek to improve their image.
Many artists today realize they need a self-defining image. They are not content to be a banker or a bookkeeper. They don’t want that nine-to-five job or that nine-to-five look. An image consultant can be considered a butler to an artist. The butler helps the artist. The butler does not boss the artist around. Instead, it is the artist who is in control. He hires the image consultant to work for him. The consultant functions like a slave, or a mirror. In his capacity as slave he buys clothes for the artist and shops for him. In his capacity as mirror he gives objective feedback.
THE THIRD STAGE OF ARTISTIC DEVELOPMENT
Mastery is the third stage of artistic development. During this stage an image consultant can help the artist secure his position. Many successful artists hire image consultants to help them maintain their power. This is akin to an alpha male gorilla letting subordinates groom him. The image consultant is not a threat to the secure artist in the third stage. The artist uses the consultant to further his own goals.
Example’s of artists who have reached the third stage include Truman Capote, Tom Wolfe, and Hunter S. Thompson. They all had a distinctive look, too. Capote wore a hat. Wolfe wears a white suit. Thompson smoked and drank to excess and carried a gun and wore sunglasses. Their image is so strong it is recognized by millions, even by those who do not read their work.
To develop your own artistic image, you need to realize that you’ll probably go through three developmental stages as an artist. The first stage is most likely over. You have decided to become an artist. Chances are good that you’re now in the second stage or the third stage as you read this. That means you’re in the perfect position to hire an image consultant to help you attain the goals you have set for yourself or to maintain the position you have achieved.
Copyright (c) 2010 William Cane