Beauty and Madness: A Meditation on Pygmalion and Galatea

Look I wrote a thing back when I was a teenager

pudding shot

Originally published in the College of William and Mary’s Acropolis Art Magazine’s 2012 issue

What creates what, the creation or the creator? The division between the artist and their work blurs like that cold winter morning Michelangelo died over his canvas, spattered in paint. To create is madness, an inner drive that too often is inexplicable. Art has no immediate benefit: it will not clothe or feed you. Yet we create to express ourselves, to convey ideas words cannot capture.

There is something in art that is Lovecraftian: grand, majestic, and horrifying. From William Blake’s impossible figures to the Dadaist’s upside-down urinal, art often seems tainted by madness. Sometimes it proves a point, other times it is elusive. Is traditional art an anachronism in an age when man should have surpassed crushed pigments and the horsehair brush? Some debate its utility. But an impulse, perhaps divine, always drives us back…

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