I read an article not long ago about a Chinese artist — Pei-Shen Qian. You might know that name because a few years ago he was living in New York City and wound up selling many of his paintings for millions of dollars. However, what he was selling were amazing fake paintings that imitated great American artists such as Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning. This great art hoax caused the writer of the article, Ken Johnson, to ask the question: What is it that makes a masterpiece a masterpiece?
Johnson makes an interesting conclusion when he says that what makes a masterpiece a true masterpiece is “soul.” Interesting. S.O.U.L. By soul Johnson meant that you can tell when the artist has put himself or herself into the painting, that an artistic presence / energy is found in the painting, and while there might be good imitations, an imitation is not the same as the original painting possessed by the soul of the original artist.
Take a Breath today. We’re all artists — artists of our own lives — and one of the most important questions we’ll ever ask is this: Am I living with soul? Am I an original? Am I pouring enough of myself into something so as to leave a palpable sense soul in all my activities? Not phoning it in. (Or texting it in.) Not going through the motions. Not getting by. Not picking up a paycheck. But really, honestly, genuinely, putting some of my soul into my living.