Archive for May 7th, 2022


For those who know how to read, I have painted my autobiography. 

-Pablo Picasso

I would like to write an autobiography but can’t decide who I want to write it about.

I run this Picasso quote and painting every few years. It always makes me wonder if that will apply to my own work at some point in the future when I am long gone, if people will be able to discern any part of my real self or life in the work.

I guess I hope that they will though I’m not completely sold on that. Maybe it doesn’t matter. I am sure it won’t matter to me at that point, having moved on to whatever fate awaits one after death. So, if they can’t read my autobiography in the work that survives me, it won’t be a tragedy.

But on the chance that they do see something of my life in the work, what might it be? Will it be accurate or some idealized version?

And how accurate is our own self-image most of the time? After all, it’s normal for most of us to overestimate those things we see as our strengths and downplay our flaws and weaknesses. Nobody wants to write in their autobiography that they’re not that smart or strong, that they have at least as many, if not more, glaring flaws as the average person. That they have lied and stole and hurt people along the way.

That being said, maybe an autobiography in one’s art rather in writing might be more honest. It is always in the moment in which it was formed and not mere recollection. It is as it is, not written as we want to remember it.

Plus, it is both precise and ambiguous. It very seldom says anything overtly but is filled with unavoidable clues to its meaning and the person behind it– if the work is honest.

And I hope- and believe- that my work is honest and earnest. So maybe it will serve as an autobiography just as it does for Picasso.

Let’s hope it’s worth the trouble…

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