Being sad and miserable is not going to
improve your work. Glamorised is the idea of the tortured artist, which is a
dangerous myth giving creative people permission to go on and ignore their
physical and mental health. It can result in a culture where artists are
accepting their unhealthy working environments and the lousy treatment they are
receiving from others.
You don’t need to be a tortured artist, with emotions hidden and tucked away neatly in an airtight cabinet; instead, you need to be the artist with the iron-will. Be an artist who can sit and healthily process intense feelings to be able to work past them and inspire others. You want to be an artist who is thriving with great relationships with their peers and the public. You need to be someone who can set limits and be paid for the time you have worked. Be the artist who can structure life and sustainable career. If you think any of these things are true for you and you believe in them, then it’s time to start exploring the reasons why you believe them. When people are depressed, manic or even drunk, some might do exciting things. However, most people create good work when they are in touch with themselves and the world around them. You don’t hear many people talking about it as there aren’t any camp stories that talk about how well-adjusted the writer was when he wrote that well-selling novel.
You want your work to be mind-blowing not the thing that is a tragic demise. There are many cutting edges, unique artists that have improved their mental health, well-being and produced better work than they did before. Two examples are Tom Waits and David Lynch.
Some people go with the saying that states if you are happy you are not motivated. Imagine spending some spare time looking at cute babies and kittens pictures and ending up too well-adjusted that you cannot be bothered with your work anymore. It just seems unlikely. Promote your work through collaborative relationships, thoughtful work and your true well-being.
Matisse lived to be very old and eventually became blind. He artistically overcame this by using coloured cut-outs and went on to create what many people state is his best work. Not only is his work very stunning, but it is also an inspiration to the artists that are struggling with a physical limitation that is impacting their work.Many celebrity artists fall into the trap of self-destruction like Amy Winehouse, who, bless her soul, made beautiful blues-pop ballads on her harrowing experiences, singing her heart out. If only these countless lives lost to addiction and troubled minds, had gotten sober and gotten help. They would have been able to live out their legacy and a become symbol of hope to those who are suffering from alcoholism or another addiction. But most of all, they would still be here with us today.
These are heartbreaking stories that could go on and on. These people are exceptions to the rule but are not the rule themselves. If you are using their painful stories as permission for you to be miserable, there is much more going on than you know about.
You never know creating art could be a way for you to run out your demons and learn to understand your emotions. It can be a way to work through the pain. If being an artist has become an excuse or a source for a life of misery, then you need to rethink your mindset and your relationship with art before you put it up on the exhibition walls for the public. Please reach out to your community, it not only is for yourself but for those who are around you and care the most.