THE ART KING self-portrait photograph and the story behind it


It’s been a year since I minted THE ART KING self-portrait as an NFT on the Today, after a year, I want to tell you the story of this work.

For the concept of this artwork, I was inspired by three people, Vincent van Gogh (painter), Rubert Pupkin (the main character of the King of Comedy), and Monkey D Luffy (the main character of the anime One Piece).

In my opinion, the most important works of Vincent van Gogh are his portraits, but why? 

To answer this, I want to start by mentioning some questions. Can we believe that he painted his face just because he was alone and needed to paint portraits? And can we accept that he turned to self-portraits just to show his skill?

These two may seem logical answers, but I see another truth behind these self-portraits.

One day, when I was agitated and felt the burden of the world on my shoulders, I returned home from work with a depressed mind. I was wondering why my creativity is coming to an end? Isn’t art supposed to be my profession? Why am I distancing myself from my mental readiness to create works of art?

I was on my way when I inadvertently took my cell phone out of my pocket and said to myself, let me take a selfie along the way after a long time. And there was a spark in my mind. The ray of hope that I was looking for all the time was that the life of an artist is itself an artistic performance, and the artist is the performer. The fountain of art is the artist himself. Vincent van Gogh’s art was created because of himself, and he says in his self-portraits, I am my art, and my art is one with me.

Throughout that time, what I had lost was the value I had to place on myself and the respect I had to give to my life because every artist’s art comes out from themself, and their life is a platform for cultivating their art. 

The phrase “the artist’s art is one with himself/herself” is, 
I think, a saying that countless artists have tried to say, and Vincent van Gogh perfected it with his self-portraits. From that moment on, Vincent van Gogh became a leader, a guide, and a teacher to me. 

One Piece writer Ichiro Oda has the term “inherited will,” and I think one of the people I have his dreams in my will is Vincent van Gogh. I feel a motivating force in myself to explain the value of artists and their rightful place in society to people.

And after that few moments of thinking, the idea of using a self-portrait as the artwork came to my mind.

Vincent van Gogh taharazavi

The idea of pricing the work may be surprising, and you may ask why did I set such a high and symbolic price for this work? Let’s first read this dialogue from The King of Comedy starring Robert De Niro:

Rubert Pupkin (Robert De Niro):

“A lot of you are probably wondering why Jerry isn’t with us tonight, Well I’ll tell you, The fact is he’s tied up and I’m the one who tied him, ha ha ha. I know you think I’m joking but believe me, that’s the only way I could break into show business, By hijacking Jerry Langford. Right now Jerry is strapped to a chair somewhere in the middle of the city. Go ahead laugh, thank you I appreciate it, But the fact is I’m here and tomorrow you’ll know that I wasn’t kidding and you’ll think I was crazy, But look, I figure it this way, Better to be king for a night than schmuck for a lifetime. [Applause]”

To attract the attention for what I did, I set an incredible price for it, and on the other hand, being a king once, even as an NFT, is better than regretting it for a lifetime. :))

Rubert Pupkin, to me, is a symbol of someone who, no matter how impossible it may seem to do something for him, but if you are going to make deconstruction so that others can hear you and listen to you at least once, do it so that there will be no regret in your heart.

Rupert pupkin taharazavi

In the description of the artwork, I have written a sentence that is like a quote from the main character of the One Piece anime. Just like Luffy says: ((I’m Luffy! The Man Who Will Become the Pirate King!)) I also wrote: ((I’m Taha Razavi! The Man Who Will Become the Art King!))

Knowing Luffy’s character is the greatest pleasure I’ve ever had. One who makes a pact with himself to achieve a goal that leads to complete freedom. The highest value of my life is freedom, and I have never felt so identical to any other fictional characters in this way of thinking.

A similar story of constant displacements and a sense of excessive freedom made me vow to strive to achieve it with all my might. An everlasting covenant that says I will strive for it as long as there is life in my body. Whoever has more freedom will experience the kingdom.

That’s it, This is the idea behind this piece and I hope you enjoyed it. Thanks for accompanying me. 

Best Wishes

Taha Razavi – 10 April 2022