July 7th – August 3rd 2016

Day 23

July 29th 1890
Suicide of Vincent Van Gogh

“Art demands dogged work. Work in spite of everything and continuous observation.”
– Vincent van Gogh

Vincent van Gogh was an artist who attempted to paint the actual vibrations of the world – the world that he observed before him. How accurate was his rendition of that inner universe we cannot know, but in his paintings there is bountiful evidence that an extraordinary tumultuous vision was Van Gogh’s everyday. What is there for the tortured genius in a society that caters not for such an outsider? We cannot write off Van Gogh as a cautionary tale for his case is far too unusual: between his madness and his genius, there was no separation. Even the most compassionate government cannot legislate a safety net for such outlaws. All that the outlaw can expect is to cadge and scrape and scratch a living until a patron comes along. It’s incredible to think that Vincent, supported only by his brother and sister-in-law, created 2000 paintings and drawings before the agony of rejection forced him to a standstill. 2000 works of art perhaps, but only one sold.

Ah, but how those colours flowed. Van Gogh lived in a rave of his own. Before time, after time, out of time – none of these really were Van Gogh. He’s the Igjugarjuk of polite society, a tail-end shaman dancing at the borders of his village unable to interface with even the next most tormented soul, let alone the grocer from whom he needs his bread, sausages and a pack of cigarettes please? He’s Igjugarjuk of the Inuits, whose vision burns so brightly, so obsessively, that it crackles and threatens to engulf others who touch it. Igjugarjuk, whose shamanic fire startled his own people so much that they were forced to summon the help of the Canadian Mounties to hunt him down and take him into custody. Of Vincent’s suicide there can have been only a tragic inevitability. Were we talking of the suicide of Hunter S. Thompson, we could even perhaps raise a smile and a glass and sing ‘My Way’ with some truth. For Vincent, his death was surely as lonely as his life. And yet, like William Blake, he burns more brightly in our hearts than ever.

Today let’s remember that “it is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society” (Jiddu Krishnamurti)

Thu Thursday
Fri Friday
Sat Saturday
Sun Sunday
Mon Monday
Tue Tuesday
Wed Wednesday
Day 1: Thursday Jul :7th
Death of Syd Barrett
Day 2: Friday Jul :8th
Death of Percy Bysshe Shelley
Day 3: Saturday Jul :9th
Day 4: Sunday Jul :10th
Day 5: Monday Jul :11th
Day 6: Tuesday Jul :12th
Henry David Thoreau’s Birthday
Day 7: Wednesday Jul :13th
Day 8: Thursday Jul :14th
The Storming of the Bastille
Day 9: Friday Jul :15th
Roky Erickson’s Birthday
Day 10: Saturday Jul :16th
Day 11: Sunday Jul :17th
Day 12: Monday Jul :18th
Death of Nico
Day 13: Tuesday Jul :19th
Full Moon
Day 14: Wednesday Jul :20th
Death of Dieter Moebius
Day 15: Thursday Jul :21st
Day 16: Friday Jul :22nd
George Clinton’s Birthday
Day 17: Saturday Jul :23rd
Day 18: Sunday Jul :24th
Robert Graves’ Birthday
Day 19: Monday Jul :25th
Day 21: Wednesday Jul :27th
Day 22: Thursday Jul :28th
Day 23: Friday Jul :29th
Suicide of Vincent Van Gogh
Day 24: Saturday Jul :30th
Day 25: Sunday Jul :31st
Day 27: Tuesday Aug :2nd
Death of William S. Burroughs
Day 28: Wednesday Aug :3rd
Death of Arthur Lee