Interview With Two Famous Artist Research Paper

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Interview with Vincent van Gogh and Paul Gauguin

To Vincent van Gogh: Why did you cut off your ear; what was going through your head? Do you blame the absinthe?

Vincent van Gogh: As some of my biographers have indicated, I had emotional and psychological problems since I was a child. I was, for example, "highly emotional and lacked self-confidence," ("Vincent van Gogh: Biography"). Therefore, it should really come as no surprise that I exhibited signs of mental illness as an adult. And besides, what do you care? My greatest works of art exist because I was crazy. As one biographer states of my work: "all of it produced during a period of only 10 years, hauntingly conveys through its striking colour, coarse brushwork, and contoured forms the anguish of a mental illness that eventually resulted in suicide," (Pioch). It sometimes takes mental anguish and spiritual pain to generate creative energy. Charles calls me a "mad genius," and I believe that if I had not cut off my ear, I may not have been as famous as I am now. At the time, however, I cut off my ear because I was insane. My friend Paul Gauguin here can testify as to my mental state at the time. One night, for a reason no one, not even me, can understand, I went to Gauguin's bed and stared at him while he slept. My staring woke him up (Charles). Gauguin was by that time so used to my raving madness that it did not even startle him very much when he saw me rushing towards him with a razor blade. The next morning was when I sliced off my ear. I was not drinking absinthe at the time, although I dearly loved that green drink.
No, I was simply crazy. I remember having to use up all my spare towels to stop the flow of blood. Paul, do you care to comment?

Paul Gauguin: Well, I remember feeling conflicted about the whole issue. As Charles points out, I got many of my facts wrong. I assumed you cut off your ear right close to your head. Later it was found that you snipped off only the lobe. Still bloody, of course. I recall the events that precipitated your horrific act: the night I had to carry you home from the bar after once again you obliterated yourself with absinthe. Then, the evening in Place Victor Hugo was one I will never forget. I saw you running with that razor blade but when you saw me and stopped, I left you alone. I never thought you would do something so stupid. Then you gave your ear to a prostitute: I'm sure she appreciated the gift.

2. To Vincent: Why do you think you became famous after you died but did not enjoy the level of commercial success that some of your peers enjoyed?

I cannot answer that question any more than you or Paul can. Some people appeal instantly to the masses. Others like me exist on a dimension that is once removed from reality. When that happens, the creative genius might be stifled and suppressed. It took me a very long time to find my creative voice. I was a prolific painter, but one who painted for the sake of painting. Of course I cared that I was starving and poor,….....

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