Picasso in the Park

I was talking with a non-VO friend of mine this evening and we were talking about rates. He is also in a service-oriented industry and we were sharing our dismay at clients who only think they are paying for the end result as opposed to the process, study, equipment, etc that produces that end result. And he told me this fictional story to drive the message home:

Picasso is sitting in the park one day, painting a lovely scene with trees and the lake stretching out in front of him.

A lady approaches him, sees his beautiful artwork and exclaims "You must be Picasso! Please, sir, will you paint my portrait?"
Picasso responds, "Thank you for your kind words, ma’am, but I don’t think so. Not today."

"Oh, please sir! I must have my portrait painted by you. Of course, I’ll pay you!"

Picasso puts his canvas away, sighs and says "Ok, dear. I’ll paint your portrait."

The woman sits down while Picasso pulls out another canvas and readies his brush. He looks at the woman and paints a single stroke of paint across the canvas. He turns the canvas to the woman.

"Oh, Mr Picasso! It’s wonderful! Fantastic! You’ve captured my essence so well! I’ve never seen such a beautiful painting! How much do I owe you for that lovely work of art?"


The woman is aghast. "$2000? But all you did was make one stroke? It only took you 5 minutes?"

"Ah yes, ma’am. That is correct. And I’m only charging you $10 for the 5 minutes. The rest is for a lifetime of inspiration."


About Jeffrey Kafer

I am a Seattle-based voice over artist specializing in audiobooks, but also working in corporate narration and commercials. You can find me at http://audiobook-voice-over.com View all posts by Jeffrey Kafer

One response to “Picasso in the Park

  • This Art, This Artist « the man who snarls

    […] One more anecdote. This is how I was able to gauge how far I’d come: I gave up on visual art years ago. I concluded I wasn’t good at drawing, painting, etc. I have an immensely talented artist friend. When he showed me his fantastic, photorealistic sketches, my shredded ego screamed, “Why can’t I do this too?” Envy kept me from appreciating the art. All I saw reflected was my own inability. After accepting that I too must sleep, looking at my friend’s art catalyzed two responses. (1) He really is an amazing artist. (2) Apples and oranges. My friend’s attention to detail is flawless. He reproduces his source material perfectly. His art is informed by order and control. But my art celebrates chaos. I’d like better line control, but my project isn’t reproduction. It’s ridiculous to me now that I once mistook difference as deficiency. I’m not him when I sleep. I am my only sleeper; I dream my own dreams. Once divorced from the loathsome specter of reception, the revelation occurred. No one can ‘suck’ at Art. Your style and substance are more than an evaluator’s assessment of your proficiency. Art is more than you in this moment, nunc stans. Your Art is the culmination of you. […]

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