A Conversation with Vincent Van Gogh
Arshak Andriasov – Thank you, Mr. Van Gogh, for having a conversation with me. You have made life so much better with your incredible work. What is your main quality in your paintings?
Vincent Van Gogh – “Paintings have a life of their own that derives from the painter’s soul. The more I think about it, the more I realize there is nothing more truly artistic than to love people.”
A.A. – This is a wonderful quality to have. But does loving people bring us pain and an aching heart most of the times?
V.V.G. – “Love always brings difficulties, that is true, but the good side of it is that it gives energy. Love is eternal – the aspect may change, but not the essence. There is the same difference in a person before and after he is in love as there is in an unlighted lamp and one that is burning. The lamp was there and was a good lamp, but now it is shed.”
A.A. – I understand. But the love of people is not your only inspiration for creativity.
V.V.G. – “Love many things, for therein lies the true strength, and whosoever loves much performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is done well.”
A.A. – This is why you have been able to give us such an indescribable beauty to the world.
V.V.G. – “I put my heart and my soul into my work, and have lost my mind in the process.”
A.A. – If I may say, Mr. Van Gogh, but I do not think you lost your mind. My feeling is that you were completely misunderstood by many.
V.V.G. – “I wish they would only take me as I am.”
A.A. – Most of us understand that this world can be very lonely and sad, and any decision done by a human being is very hard to understand fully unless we spend the most time with the person making the decision. This is why many and I do not judge. The person makes a decision and many wish they would be around this person to give their love, joy and happiness. Then certain decisions would not have been made due to loneliness.
V.V.G. – “For loneliness, worries, difficulties, the unsatisfied need for kindness and sympathy – that is hard to bear… We feel lonely now and then and long for friends and think we should be quite different and happier if we found a friend of whom we might say: “He is the one.” But you, too, will begin to learn that there is much self-deception behind this longing; if we yielded too much of it, it would lead us from the road.”
A.A. – This has definitely helped me in my life. Many people have misunderstood that friendship is gratefulness for other’s time and love. Without it, like you say, would lead us from the road to a very bad place. My last question is if you would have some advice to painters and all other professions, what would it be?
V.V.G. – “If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.”
A.A. – That is definitely great advice, because a person will sometimes doubt their strength in pushing through with their ideas.
V.V.G. – “What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything? As we advance in life it becomes more and more difficult, but in fighting the difficulties the inmost strength of the heart is developed. Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.”
A.A. – Thank you so much for your time. You have helped us with your poignant advice. May people continue to read your letters and visit the museums with your paintings to better understand your soul.