“Could an Artist Have Anything in Common with A-Rod?” by Pamela Beck

What if Artists took Steroids? Join Pamela Beck in her column, ARTdart, as she explores and considers the different perspectives that define the art world

ARTdart: There are as many ways to think about art as there are to create it. Join Pamela Beck in her column, ARTdart, as she explores and considers the different perspectives that define the art world.

Recently I read a provocative article inspired by the deluge of baseball-steroid shenanigans entitled: “What if Novelists Took Steroids?”*

Alex Rodriguez bats in a game on April 19, 2008 courtesy of Keith Allison.
Alex Rodriguez bats in a game on April 19, 2008 courtesy of Keith Allison.

The writer wonders would he, too, indulge if the results were superpower skills that allowed him to leap to the best-seller list faster than a speeding bullet?  If his stories could flow like water and his fingers could grow extra-muscular to better attack the keyboard with stamina and zeal—would he be able to resist the temptation to pop that pill?

While this falls in to the category of “What I’ll Do When I Win the 45O Million Dollar Powerball,” you have to admit that the pill-popping question intrigues and makes you silently consider your ethical stance.

Le Penseur, (The Thinker), Auguste Rodin (1840-1917)
Le Penseur, (The Thinker), Auguste Rodin (1840-1917)

As an artist, the consequences could be extraordinary.  What if by taking such a pill, original ideas would frequently appear to you along with the technical mastery to produce them?  What if the results would be met with international acclaim? What if there was a shortcut to creating satisfying work and your motivated hands would work forcefully and successfully to paint, sculpt, or fabricate the best ideas you’ve ever come up with?  Would you be able to resist the temptation for that new little chaser with your morning coffee?  You could take that pill secretly.

It’s hard to say if you’d develop affection for a fantasy capsule that’s accompanied by a solo show of your work at the Guggenheim Museum.  The writer of the article cited says, “Cheaters always know how it’s going to end. That’s why they become liars too.”

What hand would you play…if no one were watching?

Pamela Beck
Pamela Beck

Pamela co-owned Pannonia Galleries in NYC. There she was also an art appraiser, private art dealer, art fair exhibitor and catalogued paintings at Sotheby’s. Perhaps it’s not surprising that she is also a psychotherapist. She has a keen interest in the arts and supporting Sarasota’s future as a lively, diverse and forward thinking city for young and old. Pamela is a member of The Fine Arts Society of Sarasota, Curatorial & Acquisitions Committee and Institute for the Ages Volunteer.

*http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/11/opinion/sunday/what-if-novelists-took-steroids.html?_r=0

8 thoughts on ““Could an Artist Have Anything in Common with A-Rod?” by Pamela Beck”

  1. Through such an erroneous way of thinking countless artists,have sacrificed their health, sanity and lives (and those around them) ingesting and injecting vast quantities and varieties of substances thought to help along those lines. There are things that have steroid-like effects on artistic results and are healthy however…focus, persistence, work, constant study and attentiveness to the creative spirit.

  2. As isolated creators it would be “helpful” to acquire the “special additive” to increase our productivity and to cheer us on in times of lacking such powers. I’ve often mentioned to other artists to create your own magic pill. Mine is 1 foot long, bright yellow and very hard to swallow… but after taking it in my minds eye I have the happy-go-lucky attitude of “I could care less what I put down on canvas and take a flying leap into non-editing creation.” The results have been liberating as well as rewarding.

  3. There is an unhealthy fascination in the American culture with the idea of superpowers. Personally, I don’t want to think of artists succumbing to the same kind of false, selfish, manipulative thinking as the super high yield promising investment banker or the unbelievable uber performing sports figure. I hold creators to a higher personal ethical standard as their work is entirely fabricated from their own unique, imaginative mental powers.

  4. Personally, I don’t see the similarities. The arts cannot be objectified in the way that most sports can. I agree with what other commenters have said about hard work, persistence, being open to the creative spirit, and surprise, etc. I would also like to point out that no artistic-enhancing drug can guarantee that what you create would be appreciated by anyone. So what’s the point if you turn yourself into a manic production-machine. Quantity does not necessarily equate to quality. Nor does it assure acceptance, if that is one’s intention. But all of this could just be the turpentine talking.

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