Yun Yi's Stuff

Artists vs. Thinkers

Posted on: March 20, 2011

NA432512Image by Catfunt via Flickr
Generally speaking, being an artist all you need is TALENT. Artistic talent is well respected through most time in history and almost anywhere around the world, because usually creative art does not jeopardize the social stability and people’s narrow minds. So being an artist is not much about “courage”, or “difficulty”, but “capability”.


Being an individual thinker is quite different – one not only need TALENT (the talent of creative thinking), but also courage. This is because almost at any time in history, or in any places in this world, creative thoughts and ideas would easily intimidate political powers and upset majority people who blindly defend orthodox ideology. So, even if an individual thinker did not live in a despotic country where his/her life might end up in jail, he/she would still very likely face more or less degree of mental isolation due to their different stands from social ideology.
For this reason, I admit that while I respect artistic talent, I do admire thinkers more.
P.S. This comparison is based on general features of these two “professions” (even though I believe neither one of them should be a “profession”). From a wider perspective, any creativities – intelligent or artistic – require “courage”.
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10 Responses to "Artists vs. Thinkers"

That's a neat perspective. I'm sure there are many great thinkers without the courage to say what is on their minds. In those cases it's just talent wasted, like a painter with a picture in his head who refuses to pick up the brush.

I like the article, thinkers, and speakers do often take more risks.

Some great artists are thinkers also though, and create the art to convey the idea.

DaVinci and Banksy come to mind.

Thanks PBScott! I actually consider DaVinci more a genius technician than a artist.

thought-provoking post….I like it best when I can balance my creative side (artist) with a little courageous thought, as you suggest : )

I agree. And I do believe the greatest artists and thoughts do have balanced both of strengths.

I think it's true that their political views get artists in more hot water than their art. But in the 20th century, many artists were persecuted for not creating the kind of art the State approved of, particularly in Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union.

I think that in some ways, people can relate easier to written words than to art. As a result, the 'thinkers' get their ideas out there a lot easier. It is easy to say that 'so and so wrote blah blah blah' and convey the idea being expressed. It's not so easy to say that 'so and so painted this picture that portrayed….”. The very nature of art having to be seen and personally experienced perhaps limits the reach it might have.

You are an artist and a thinker! Actually there are times when artists need more than talent, times when they need courage, courage in the face of repression. I give you Käthe Kollwitz by way of example.

Thanks Ana! Kollwitz was my favorite back in college. I am very glad/impressed you knew her.

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