“Lebenskünstler” is a German
word for someone who inhabits his or her daily life with the imagination and positive
energy of an artist. The emphasis lies mostly on how an individual approaches
life (“Lebenskunst” is defined as the art of living) and not
necessarily on any concrete artistic endeavors.
For example, someone who turns an arduous chore into an amusing game could
be considered a Lebenskünstler.
Tracing back to mid twentieth
century Berlin, the notion of the Lebenskünstler arose from an anti-establishment
mentality wherein the would be artist prized “the here and now” more than
anything else (possibly as a result of the collective memory of multiple world
wars), thereby valuing their actual work itself over the accolades or money it
Of course, to an outsider’s
perspective, the Lebenskünstler might be considered a slacker or a loser—but I
reject this idea. If you’ve met someone that could be considered a true Lebenskünstler,
you’ll find that such a perspective is often very contagious.