Art and Romanticizing Being Miserable

The struggling, troubled, artist has always been a trope both in real life and in the media. I can't remember the last time I saw an artist in a film that was the "healthy" character. Sure, we do tend to be an eccentric bunch who take ourselves too seriously, occasionally party a little too hard, and have a tendency to hyper focus on whatever we're doing. For example, when I'm working in the studio I communicate in hand gestures and half words, which can be frustrating for the people who are helping me out, and can sometimes be a little off putting to my subjects. In my real life, I'm a little more laid back. 

Depending on what I'm working on, sometimes making art makes me miserable, because it takes so much of myself I don't have the energy to do anything else. It can make me a difficult person to be around when I'm focusing on one thing for a long period of time. My senior thesis was like that, all I could do was focus on the concept and move forward slowly but surely without stopping. Despite these quirks and rough patches, art making truly brings me great joy, and in fact helps me deal with my mental illness in a healthy way. 

I think the point that I'm trying to make is you don't have to be miserable to make great art, but a lot of times being miserable facilitates great art. It's a complicated dichotomy, another blurry line that all creators have to walk. I truly think that any strong emotion can push someone towards something great, and hopefully for most of you that strong emotion won't be sadness or depression, but joy or passion, which can be just as powerful and can create something just as beautiful. 

Despite this beautifully painted picture of positivity, my art does not always come from a place of joy. Sometimes it's a place of pain or trauma, sometimes it's a burning desire to tell someone else's story, sometimes it's obsession, sometimes it's purely me all the good and bad bits sewn together which will hopefully in the end amount to more good than bad. I try to avoid romanticizing the depression that for a while was what fueled my work, a lot of times it's very difficult. I now know that creating is more nuanced than that, and making work can and will come from all aspects of the human experience. 

Anyway, that's all for today. 

Until next time,