Rothko’s RED

On Saturday Dec 1st. I went to see the play called RED.
It was set around the time when Mark Rothko was commissioned to create a group of painting for the new Four Seasons restaurant that was slated to open in New York City in 1958.

Four Darks in Red, 1958,

The story revolves around his frustrations and being very tormented with the idea of doing a set of coordinated paintings and being paid good money to do it. Maybe he felt like he shouldn’t of accepted the commission because it meant that he had to create something on demand, which sometimes can go against the very fabric of what being an artist is all about.
Throughout the play he is constantly fighting himself and questioning why he is doing it and I think that lead to him finally conceding to cancel the commission and give the money back.
The play was quite enjoyable and I liked that he was very much an artist who was not willing to compromise in what he believed art should be.

Red Skies, 2006

Mark Rothko was I would say one of my first influences when I started painting. I loved his simplistic notion of wanting his paintings to bring colour to the forefront and make it as important as the the rest of the space on the surface.

I sort of understood this complicated and tormented man in that sometimes it can be frustrating to an artist when if they are being told what to paint and the way to paint. Some might consider the advice of an art dealer telling them to change their colour palette or the way they paint trees. I think though, as an artist, your strongest vision is your own and simply painting for someone else is neither satisfying nor productive to your career. No one knows what is going on in your mind or what you see, only you have that vision and it might take years to figure out what it is that you really do want to show or create and that is a road meant only for you. Compromise is good if you’re buying tires but not when it comes to painting. Stay on course and good things will happen. Lose yourself and you might end up painting “something that matches my furniture”.
Art is meant to connect the artist with the collector. Remember, you are buying a piece of the artist’s thought and vision and that is essentially what will set you apart and make you love art more.

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