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Top 10 Most Famous Eccentric Artists in the World

Art has elicited a divided opinion over the years with some people failing to see the value that art real carries while others will kill for it. When one mentions art, it makes a lot of sense to people who understand the importance of creative art, to others, they often wonder why someone would part with a tremendous amount of cash for a piece of art. However, art, just like beauty, only the eye of the beholder can perceive it. On the part of the artists, evidence suggests that most artists are more often eccentric or they have unique personality features than other people. The creative geniuses in the art industry sometimes have a strange kind of life, with some their folks fleeing from them or rather they had varying level of respect and reputation during their time. The most curious thing about these eccentric geniuses is that the more bizarre they are, the more unusual and outstanding than their art is. In this list, we have explored the worlds of the top ten most famous eccentric artists with their unconventional styles and personalities.

1. Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio – Italian Painter (1590s – 1610)

Eccentric Artists - Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio

Caravaggio was an Italian artist who is reckoned for creating innovative paintings and pioneering the use of lighting and representation of religious figures in modern clothing attitude. For instance, if anyone could have done justice to Goliath’s severed head tangling by hair strand from David’s hand is Caravaggio, the tempestuous Italian artists. In creating emphasis in his artwork, Caravaggio used an intense beam of light as an attention catcher on some aspects of the painting by contrasting the well-lit parts with the dark shadowy areas of the canvas. Caravaggio contributed profoundly to the art industry through the introduction of his individualized style that was imitated by his contemporaries and the significant impact on painters and influencing the art sector of the 19th century.

The paintings of Caravaggio had a dark twist that is inspired by his radical naturalism eccentric lifestyle. For instance, Caravaggio celebrated the completion of his portrait by spending the next month or more drinking and stumbling around town with his sword to pick fights. He has been implicated with several murders; 1606 he fled Rome for killing a man after one of many battles; and he was a standard fixture in jail. The pope issued a death warrant for Caravaggio because of his complex and radical naturalist character. In 1610, Caravaggio died in a controversial circumstance just at the age of 39 years, and many claimed he had been murdered while others claimed he died of fever. Based on the research contacted in 2010, human remains found in the Italian church were believed to be Caravaggio’s, analysis confirms the claim because of the high content of lead poisoning in the body due to the exposure to lead in the paints.[1]

2. Salvador Dali – Spanish Draftsman (1904 – 1989)

Salvador Dali

Salvador Dali was a Spanish artist described as the author, impresario, critic, and the provocateur who first featured in the art sector in 1929 remained in the public sight until his death. Dali was the master of surrealism who was a public contradiction, a self-proclaimed agnostic and devout Catholic. Though he was a communist, he sided with fascists during the Spanish civil war by writing letters of support and painting the fascist leader’s granddaughter paintings. He traveled everywhere around the world with his pet Ocelot, and gave Mia Farrow a gift of a dead mouse in the bottle! Dali paid his restaurant bills by painting on the rescript. The fans were in for a rude shock for he always kept the fans pen once he signs the autograph. In his house, Dali created a melting watch and a lobster telephone that spoke a lot of his artistic skills, however, his eccentricity outside the art profession played an essential role in ensuring will be remembered forever. For instance, one of his greatest saying states “every morning upon awakening, I experience a supreme pleasure: that of being Salvador Dalí.” Which forms part of his inspirational, creative, genus, and unforgeable aspects of his artistic life.[2]

3. Andy Warhol – American Artist (1928 – 1987)

Andy Warhol

The legend of Andy Warhol continues to grow year after year and while his contribution to the art world is impossible to override. One of his famous sayings states “business art is the step that comes after Art. I started as a commercial artist, and I want to finish as a business artist.” It explains the fact that Warhol was one of the most successful commercial artists in the history of art. For instance, in the 1960s, he pioneered the integration of art and music to create the pop-art culture not only in his soup can painting but in the creation of several pop culture music bands like the Velvet Underground with a constant aspect of Warhol’s ruddiness. In the 1975 Warhol masterminded the creation of films, that was too rude for general release, and was a control freak, controlling everyone around him. The most notable quality of Andy Warhol is that he was a mass contradiction in many of his art pieces, presented as a Catholic virgin who painted homosexual erotica art masterpieces that were too explicit for galleries. His odd personality throws many people around him, but only a handful got close to him, a complex genius artist.[3]

4. Tracey Emin – English Artist (1963 – )

Tracey Emin

Tracey Emin is a known modern world artist of the British Romani and Turkish Cypriot origin who emerged to prominence in the art world in the 1980s during the “Young British Artists” movement. She is notoriously famous for her sexually explicit and provocative artwork for decades. The most controversial and renown is her tent painting with encrypted names of her lovers titled “Everyone I Have Ever Slept With 1963–1995. ″ She later produced “My Bed” the bed that was unmade, with her soiled underwear, another sexually provocative piece that was exhibited in Tate, qualifying her as the winner of Turner Prize. Emin produced a host of workpieces encompassing paintings, sculptures, videos, and textiles which heavily illuminate her controversial and troubled childhood and adolescent life.

Based on her work and lifestyle, Tracey Emin is an undisputed eccentric persona. For one, her biography is titled “Strangeland” with an equally bizarre line which reads, “Here I am, a…. crazy, anorexic-alcoholic-childless, beautiful woman.” If you watch her on TV in her drunken, swearing shows, you will automatically concur that she is not only eccentric but also crazy! Lucky for Emin, her eccentricity personality and career earned her a lucrative job as the Drawing Professor at the Royal Academy in London.[4]

5. Pablo Picasso – Spanish Painter (1881 – 1973)

Pablo Picasso

Scholars in the field of art are intrigued by the works and contribution of Pablo Picasso, a Spanish born artist who moved to continue his art career in France. According to popular reports, the first words of Picasso were “Piz piz” which is Spanish translation for a pencil (la piz). Picasso was the most instrumental artist known for his well-recognized styles and the pioneering the cubist movements during his time. The signatory paintings of Picasso encompass painting women with lopsided breasted and rearranged faces. One of Picasso’s quotes states “Art is a lie that makes us realize the truth.” He is famously reckoned for producing over 20,000 artwork pieces ranging from drawings, paintings, sculptures, ceramics and costumes as well as theatre sets. Further, Picasso was a wide-mouthed communist receiving a Stalin Peace Prize and the painting the Russian leader. The other odd personality of Pablo Picasso is that he was not afraid of pushing boundaries in all aspects including artistically, politically, socially and was not scared of anyone as he answered back to Paris’ Gestapo.[5]

6. Marcel Duchamp – American-French Painter (1887 – 1968)

Marcel Duchamp

The French artists illustrated his traditional aspect of eccentricity while making art from toilet bowls. Duchamp was a constant force in the art in 1887 not only by his contribution to the art world but also as an inspiration and adviser to artists such as Peggy Guggenheim. In 1917, he submitted the ordinary urinary to the gallery horrifying the board of directors, when they declined to display it, Duchamp resigned as a committee member. Duchamp specialized in “found art” exhibiting a snow shovel, bicycle wheel, a bottle of drying rack, and more so, the urinal. The type of art Duchamp believed in, and he classified it “Ready-mades” in a descriptive way Duchamp stated: “My idea was to choose an object that wouldn’t attract me, either by its beauty or by its ugliness. To find a point of indifference in my looking at it, you see.” He was mediocre, and he was also very dismissive of fellow artists calling their work “retinal art” meaning the art that is designed to attract the eye as compared to his urinal which has no any appeal for the eye.[6]

7. Banksy – British Street Artist (1974 – )


Banksy is the street name, in actual little if any is known about the actual artist. The graffiti artist popularly recognized as Banksy has done great work on the street walls. It is perplexing to note that the beneficiaries of the anonymous artist’s work are the owners of business whose walls have been painted on by Banksy, the rogue artist. The business owners are receiving thousands of pounds for the paintings, thanks to Banksy. The only information known about the artist is mere speculation. For instance, it is speculated that he came from Bristol and was a butcher trainee in his early teenage life. Among his great pieces include the Mona Lisa Bazooka, Hammer Boy 2013, kissing Coppers 2004, rage, the flower thrower 2005 among many others. In 2010 for instance, his film Exit Through the Gift Shop was nominated for Oscar Award, and in a rare public statement, he stated that he does not agree with the concept of award ceremonies, but there is room for the special one that he is nominated. A quote from Banksy states “The last time there was a naked man covered in gold paint in my house, it was me” it cites the kind of eccentric personality we are talking about here.[7]

8. Damien Steven Hirst – English Artist (1965 – )

Damien Steven Hirst

The most unpleasant artist ever who rose to fame in the 1990s, Damien Hirst was obsessed with the theme of death in his art career work. The first piece in 1991, was a shark suspended in a tank of preservatives formaldehyde with the title: “The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living” which amazed the repulsed audience. One of the quotes by Hirst reads: “The difference between art about death and actual death is that one’s a celebration and the other’s a dull fact.” It as well surrounds his favorite element of his artwork. For one, the “Mother and Child Divided” represent the cow and calf split into half and immersed into formaldehyde was first displayed in 1993, and his unique signature in art became the feature of dead animals and preservative fluid run across his work. For instance, the rotting bull and cow surrounded with flies was banned from New York by public health experts claiming it will cause visitors to vomit. The eccentricity attributes evidenced in Hirst’s work paint him as a depressed morbid character; however, he was also an ironic misogynist directing Country House videos which primarily featured big breasted women dressed in short skirts. It is for the best if less is highlighted about his musical profession in Fat Les.[8]

9. Vincent van Gogh – Dutch Painter (1853 – 1890)

Vincent van Gogh

According to the many art kinds of literature, they seem to suggest that van Gogh is the most known artist in the world, perhaps because of his extremely eccentric personality. Many know him as the mad, crazy artist. Van Gogh, just like many genius creative artists, appeared to be internally tormented. The Dutch genius artist’s life and work were hampered or overshadowed with his mental illness (disorders) that many art researchers speculate emanated from lead in his paint. The post-impressionist artist was associated with mental disorders such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, epilepsy among others, making his work to be overlooked as just a reflection of his troubled ill mind. according to van Gogh, “Paintings have a life of their own that derives from the painter’s soul.” One of the scariest aspects of the art of van Gogh is the aspect that he severed his ear, wrapped it in a newspaper, and lost it in a drunken sword fight with friends. The surprising element in the literature on van Gosh is that he was depressed, ecstatic, and was only okay when he painted, the work received little respect and recognition during his time, but it is considered as classics during the present era.[9]

10. Jackson Pollock – American Painter (1912 – 1956)

Jackson Pollock

The American artist is one of the leading abstract expressionist artists in the world. The most outstanding contribution of Pollock in the art sector encompasses the development of his abstract radical art style which entails detaching line from color, redefining painting and drawing categories, and establishing new image description approaches. Pollock was devasted and struggled with the calamity of alcoholism. According to his saying, “the painting has a life of its own. I try to let it come through” this explains why his paintings are not associated with his mad alcoholic lifestyle. Pollock’s paintings are described as a must have-asset that was instrumental in defining the abstract expressionist art movement. Though eccentric in many ways encompassing alcoholic lifestyle, social challenges; he remains the greatest in terms of art pieces and his influence in art industry is still felt even in the present era, and probably the future generations.[10]

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