Wisdom of Robert Henri - Future of art and the current state of entertainment

 I'm only 48 pages into 'The Art Spirit' by Robert Henri, and already I find this great thought:

 "I believe the great artists of the future will use fewer words, copy fewer things, essays will be shorter in words and longer in meaning. There will be a battle against obscurity. Effort will be made to put everything plain, out in the open. By this means we will enter into a real mystery. There will be fewer things said and done, but each thing will be fuller and will receive fuller consideration. Now we waste. There is too much "Art," too much "decoration," too many things are made, too many amusements wasted. Not enough fully considered."

This part I find especially relevant, especially considering the current state of entertainment:

 "We must paint only what is important to us, must not respond to outside demands. They do not know what they want, or what we have to give."

 Wow. Where to begin. Talk about being a 'thought-leader' of his time. This book was written in 1923, yet I can see many truths of this excerpt appearing today.

I think anyone who has professionally working with clients can really identify with that last line 'They do not know what they want, or what we have to give.' 

How many times has this happened to you? This creates such a language barrier between the ones wanting the art and the ones creating it. This is why designers create a 'template sheet' of examples of what could be, to show clients in order to save time figuring out exactly what they're looking for.  It will always be tricky.

Anyway, this little bit just hit me, and made me think of where we're at today. 'Battle with obscurity'! How relevant. If you have any thoughts on this feel free to comment.


  1. With more space to be creative and thoughtful maybe then clients can give you exactly what they want, but even then you artists will blow our minds with what you can transform :) I knooowwwwwww

    1. Yes this is true. I don't mean to belittle clients by any means. It's just interesting the dynamic that occurs between the two of us. But what's a story with no conflict! Re-reading it now, it feels a little entitled. Eeek - the word for our generation.