I am not really sure who started this whole trend of the “suffering artist” and that somehow the self image of a creative person is a lot of time linked to the idea of enduring hardship and pain. Society loves the stories of artists that kill themselves or have some mental issues, then they can stand it front of the work and tell each other the stories of how much suffering went into the creation process as if this would be a sign of excellence.
Fuck that shit.
Creativity has nothing to do with the need to suffer. I mean seriously, maybe you can write a couple of deep poems when you have hard break or get on track with a couple of paintings when you are depressed but overall, it’s much much easier and full filling to work when you are balanced, trusting and inspired.
Creativity is saying YES to what is and adding on top of it. It’s an improvised conversation between you and the inner endless galaxies of ideas. Adding the idea that you need to suffer is like riding that train with the hand break on. It might still get somewhere but it wears you off. It’s a state of flow that needs the right fuel and it surely is not a “NO”. You can only keep the conversation going if you say “YES”. But then somehow many artist friends feel almost like they are betraying their own kind if they are just happy. Some are even scared their self image as an artist might crack if they live with a happy and self fulfilled smile on their face.
i mean open up any art catalogue, who are all these depressed serious looking painters and authors? Didn’t they enjoy the work? Will it buy some credibility if their black and white suffering self looks at the reader suggesting: “You don’t know what kinda shit i went through just so you can see this!”.
Wearing all black like a preacher on openings or concerts, not smiling in press photos, because art is serious. Creativity is serious. Artists need to be serious, need to endure hardship, cut ears off, kill themselves, not have money, moan about the system, do it anyway just for the love because otherwise they would die.
Fuck that shit.
Creativity is not serious.
Really, i am just tired of this story. I am glad i got out of it and create from a different place. It doesn’t mean you can create works that are political or dark or criticize the fucked up ness. On the contrary, it might add for punch to your work because you can hit further.
So here is my proposal, let’s be realistic with the work and how much it can support you and how far it can reach. Not all of us can yet live from it and we might need to take on extra jobs on the side. it’s just realistic, no reason to moan about it. Do your best and the rest is simply not up to you. Relax, enjoy the ride. We aren’t here to leave some eternal mark in history. Make that creative process a very direct one just between you and the universe, give 100% and dig deep what really comes to your heart and then say it boldly, fresh, weird, great, small in whatever form.
And then let it go. It’s not yours anymore and another idea will come and knock on your door. And another. If i am depressed and in a shitty mood I can’t create. I can’t trust. I am anti everything. I don’t even have the balls to cut my ear off. So first things first, create balance and an open minded atmosphere and then let things happen. In my case i need to combine it with a lot of discipline (i am not a big logistics guy) to close all the cycles from idea to creation to getting the work out there. But seriously now, can we please get rid of that myth that we need to suffer? That being creative and making art means we can’t be abundant? That art is a serious matter that needs black clothes and fancy words to describe otherwise mediocre concepts? I feel the next year will be a good one and i love to surround myself with other creatives to cross pollinate, co-create, have wild discussions about almost impossible ideas and then bring them down to earth anyway. Let’s kill that image of the suffering artist and feel that contentment of actually being able to create on a daily basis. I mean who else has the right to feel fullfilled? That dude going to work for a cooporation in whose values he doesn’t even believe in?
What are our values? If we work for ourselves or freelance we create our own work culture and should carefully craft them so that we can be productive. Does your own company still tell you that you need to suffer in order to succeed? Fire that CEO. What a party pooper.
If you create just to get recognition (and it hasn’t happened yet, or not in the form how you want it, or you compare yourself to artist XYZ who is already further down the road) it will not make you happy. There will always be another artist more successful or better, but what a fucking drag to live with this comparison mindset. Like a cement block on your own potential to be creative and happy. Really investigate this, and then redirect at all means. If it’s a conversation between you and the universe the effect is immediately. It’s humble and humbling and it comes with a silent smile because no one can ever take it from you. You had a conversation with the stars.
How can you NOT smile after an idea manifests itself right in front of you? How can you not be touched by the magical process of giving life to an idea? Now take that experience and let it be the fuel for your next work and days and see what happens.
Okay 2019, let’s do this.
Anyone with me on board?