Everyone knows that all true artists are driven by consuming pain
(often to the outskirts of sanity... if not beyond
) and sacrifice mundane needs for their vision (and also inadequately valued by the society)
to create incomprehensible but oh-so-sublime works
(which they'll soon disown in disgust, especially if the audience likes it
). Artists are also always moody, lanky chain smokers who subsist on cheap red wine and bitterness, only speak in irony, and habitually wear skinny pants, polo shirts and berets. Always in black.
The beret specifically has become the icon of this cliché image, and turned into something of a visual shorthand to code for pretentious artists, sometimes also philosophists or other "great individual minds". In some works a beret is simply a stock accessory for an artist just like a nerd will have his eye-concealing bottlebottoms
and a nurse will wear a skirted uniform and a cap.
This trope is nowadays nearly never played seriously.
Should non-artist intellectuals be included?
- Referenced in the song Taiteilia (Artest [sic]) by PMMP. The song is filled with parodying self-importance and hypocricy of self-proclaimed artists:
"Olen työstänyt matskua, sitä muistakin mainostaa - onhan baskeri kallellaan?"
"I've been working on some material, remember to mention it everywhere - is my basker tilted enough?"
- Painters on Pokémon games wear berets, and Smeargle, a painter Pokemon, looks like he's wearing one too.
- The unnamed Beret Guy may not be an artist, but his choice of headwear seems to signify his status.