Have I done this one already? WordPress’s Prompt of the Day can be repetitive, which is why I have by-and-large avoided it, but every now and then, when I am struggling for inspiration, I’ll turn to it. The prompt from all the way back on the 10th of October was ‘who are your favourite artists?’
Well, firstly, I am not going to limit myself to painters and sculptors, because that sort of art is of only a cursory interest to me. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the works of Leonardo Da Vinci and Michelangelo, but there are other forms of art that speak to me more, such as music and acting. With these forms of expression, the tapestry comes alive, and there is something about an especially beautiful piece of music that never stops being amazing to me.
It will be of no great surprise to any of you that I will reference The Lion King here. 29 years (yes, 29) since the release of the original film, the musical score from Hans Zimmer, the songs by Tim Rice and Elton John, and the rich African elements provided by Lebo M have become engrained in popular culture, and their endurance alone speaks to how epic and wonderful they are. All of them are storied artists, at least in this meerkat’s opinion.
They are not alone. The late Howard Ashman is responsible for some of Disney’s most emotional music. He won Oscars for songs in The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast, and it is easy to understand why. His songs helped tell the story, and breathed life into the characters.
Another musical giant (though I am not necessarily a huge lover of his work) is Andrew Lloyd Webber. Whilst the film version of Cats was a nightmare, the songs were great, and the dramatic, epic nature of the music in The Phantom of the Opera is hard to top. I’ve seen Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat, and whilst it is not my cup of tea, I can appreciate the hard work and effort that Mr Webber put into the songs.
So far, I’ve talked about music. What about acting?
One of my favourite actors is Sir Patrick Stewart. He famously played Jean-Luc Picard in various iterations of Star Trek, and on more than one occasion, he was given the licence to flex his acting muscles. From a very personal, heart-felt performance in the episode ‘Tapestry’, to the famous ‘there are four lights!’ scene in ‘Chains of Command’, Sir Patrick provided us with a layered, complex character, and he understood how to give the seemingly stern, emotionally distant Captain Picard a heart.
Another actor who deserves a lot of respect is David Tennant, of Doctor Who fame, though he deserves a lot of credit for other roles. Yes, he was intense as the Doctor, but he was also an excellent Scrooge McDuck in the reboot of DuckTales (yeah, I went there), and his performance as serial killer Dennis Nilsen in Des was chilling.
Could I go on? You bet. How about writing as a form of art? There are books I have read that have touched my soul. Whilst I found some of the later entries in the Honorverse series lacked the heart of the earlier books, those earlier books from David Weber created a living, breathing, messy, vibrant world, filled with real people, who felt no different from who we are today. There’s something quite magical about being able to do that with words alone. It’s a skill I hope I can develop.
So, whilst I don’t know if I have clearly defined my favourite artists, I hope I have informed as to who I respect and admire, across various forms of art.