Saturday, June 22, 2024

How to Become Iconic


Frida Kahlo, Self-Portrait Dedicated to Leon Trotsky, 1937, National Museum of Women in the Arts, Image by Google

First of all, you won't know you've become iconic until you're no longer here. Even if you think you're iconic, you'll never be sure--not while you're still living, anyway. Sure, you can be famous. You can be notorious. You can be a celebrity. A household name. (In other words, a big cheese.)

But, you won't know you've reached iconic status until you're no longer around to enjoy the fruits of your labors. I know, it's frustrating--at least for those of us in the Arts and Croissant crowd who have sacrificed so much and lived on so little, just to become iconic. 

Here's another little secret about becoming iconic--you, as an ordinary living human being--will never become truly iconic. However, your work, your art, your paintings, your poetry, your books, your films, your music, your dance--well, that's what will become iconic. 

And there's only one way this actually happens--it's when your work inspires other creative people--not necessarily your peers, but artists down through the generations. This process can take a hundred years and more than likely, you won't be around to see it.

Ah, yes--that's a long time to wait. But in the meantime--just to get you started on your journey--here's a few things I've observed: 

1. Icons often wear hats.

2. They hang out with other creative people.

3. Sometimes they get into famous brawls with their creative cohorts.

4. They write or paint or sing about said famous brawls (as well as infamous love affairs!)

5. They embrace androgyny.

6. They have their own animal mascot--a Siamese cat. And a monkey is always a good idea! 

7. They don't follow anyone's rules, but their own.

However, a word of warning, dear Creative Friends--you can do all of these things and still not become an icon. 


So, what's the answer?

It's very simple, really. Work hard. Make friends. Wear a hat. Carry a cat on your shoulder (or a monkey--that's good too). Above all else, be original.

And so, your creative prompt for this week is to imagine what your animal mascot might be. Write a poem, paint a picture, write an epic song about your animal mascot. Then, sit back and watch as you and your mascot become iconic. Of course, you won't be here to see what comes to fruition, but that's not the point. The point is to be original. And do the work.



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