Through April 3rd at our near and dear MFA in the Japanese Print Gallery (Gallery 278A) you can encounter “In the Steps of the Master: Pupils of Hokusai.” While the MFA hardly has an exhibit not worth going to this one sticks out to me in particular. Hokusai is such a powerhouse in the world of Eastern visual art and fine art in general it is not surprising those he chose to take under his wing are noteworthy but moreover I am interested in the conversation regarding mentors and pupils.
This comes up often as is it not uncommon for the great playwrights and directors of our generation to have been mentored by the greats of the previous generation. In fact, this is one of the most effective ways of honing ones skills and gathering influence rather quickly, as we have studied. On the one hand I very much understand and believe in this dynamic. Those who were mentored pass it on and foster the next generation of artists and influencers, passing on their wisdom and experience. This makes perfect sense, but it leaves me wondering, what about those not fortunate enough to encounter such masters? How many otherwise incredible artists if given the same chance would have grown to become powerhouses in the world? in history?
But, you can always say what if. The fact remains that these masters are so renowned and so established if you should be so fortunate as to be taken under their wing and hold your own, success is almost certainly to follow.
In any case, go to the MFA as much as possible its a magical, wonderful, inspirational place.