What will be your Artistic Legacy? by Wilson Bickford


Have you ever wondered how your art will survive the ages? I don’t mean just the actual pieces of art you’ve created, but also your “reputation” as a bona-fide artist. I know it crosses my mind from time to time.

Hey, we’d all like to be remembered after we’re gone, wouldn’t we? Artists have a unique opportunity to leave their “stamp” on the world. Have you ever seen the paintings of the dogs playing poker? Sure you have. Although there are other people “borrowing” that theme today, the originator of that idea was Cassius Marcellus Coolidge. He was born in 1844 in Antwerp, NY, a mere 15 miles from my home where I’ve lived all my life. The fact is that I had never known that until a couple of years ago when I saw an article in a local newspaper. His work became very popular in the early 1900s.

Although I have seen his “dogs” on calendars, posters and even wall tapestries, I had no clue that he was a northern New York native.
Though most of us have never heard of, or would recognize his name, there’s no doubt that we’re familiar with his work and he left behind a legacy which will endure for a much longer time to come.

His work is still popular in the print market. Some would say that’s a small accomplishment, but is it, really? To leave something behind that endures and takes it’s place in history and popular culture is no small feat.

I admit, it doesn’t carry the clout of Da Vinci and his Mona Lisa or Michelangelo and the Sistine Chapel, but Mr. Coolidges’ work will carry on, none the less. Will you and I be fortunate enough to reside in posterity’s memory?
Maybe we should consider our future impact when we sit down at our easel, chisel that sculpture or write that poem. We certainly don’t know where the chips will fall, but I think it’s important to do the best work we possibly can because it will be the ultimate record of our existence.
I have an idea,…………… how about pigs playing hockey?

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