Dec 11, 2008

Late Bloomers

Interesting article in the New Yorker comparing artists that are early/late bloomers. It uses Picasso and Cezanne as examples. Not necessarily pertinent to sound design as a whole, but something to think about as artists in general.

'Prodigies are easy. They advertise their genius from the get-go. Late bloomers are hard. They require forbearance and blind faith.'



  1. Most of what we talk about as early or late blooming is actually a comment on when society started making a note of talent. Just because someone is classified as a late bloomer doesn't mean that they weren't doing great work when they were younger; rather, it means that for many reasons (societal, scientific, artistic), the world wasn't ready for them. Look at Van Gogh, for example.

    What's more interesting to me is looking at flameouts - those creative people who achieved success early in life but failed to keep up with their early pace.

  2. I think you're right on Vinnie. I too think flame outs are much more interesting.

    Obviously people like Van Gogh are doing great work but it takes a long long while for someone to achieve a masterpiece. In any art there is trail and error and learning from each piece so to say they are late blooms is as you said not exactly accurate.

    I'm trying to think of a flame out that I thought was truly going somewhere but didn't end up getting there. I cannot think of any right now. Thought where does the flame out line fall? Is it one spectacular work and then nothing or is it a few spectacular works and then a quick demise?

  3. I was mostly interested in this article because of its discussion between what we consider late bloomers and early bloomers, and the difference between the two being the difference between conceptual and experimental art. That idea of a young man coming up with creations based on ideas and concepts, where as an older man taking his time, playing with form and function, creating something that has been almost scientific in nature, is what caught my attention. I don't think, as artists and as designers, we are rigidly trapped within so black and white a notion as this, but I think we drift back and forth between concepts and experimentation, and I see a lot of both of these ideas within myself. Coming up with an idea for a design for a play winds up being very conceptual, and if I had a machine to take what was in my head and put it on paper, I would make a lot of money. But once I sit down to try to create that, it tends to be very experimental. Playing with every sample/ processor/ noise/ etc I can think of until I hit that concept. Sometimes I know exactly what I want and hit it right away, but other times it takes a lot of experimentation to reach my ideals, and sometimes I never hit them, and throw the painting out the window (being careful not to hit anyone on the head).

    Joseph Heller, the author (and one of my favorites) of Catch 22 was one of those ‘flameouts’ as discussed, creating a masterpiece early in his career and never creating anything as spectacular as this for the rest of his life. One of the interesting things about him though is that he struggled with this for the rest of his life and career. His last book being called ‘The Portrait of an Artist as an Old Man’ he struggles through his character, to create something as worthy as his first book, and while not living up to his own expectations there is something noteworthy in the struggle, in the constant experimentation to figure out where he went wrong and to create a masterpiece again. It’s a really fascinating book.

  4. I guess you could say J.D Salinger is a flameout as well but we really do not know since he refuses to publish anything else he has written.