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Creativity and madness. Makes sense.

December 18, 2010

I’m back!  For the moment.  I finished classes last Monday and finished the semester last Tuesday.  I have been working all week and today, for the first time in a very long time, I basically did nothing.  Three cheers for catching up on sleep and Remi cuddle time!

I just watched the movie Sylvia.  (With Paltrow).  All the while I kept thinking of a statistic I once read: you can’t really gauge creativity, but research on artists showed a correlation with insanity.  The strongest correlation was between female poets and insanity.

While not necessarily a poet, I can certainly relate.  I am über sensitive.  I think that’s where the link is born.  Artists are very sensitive beings.  We must be for our senses to operate on the level they do.  We feel the vibrations of the earth a bit more fully.  The thing is there is a very fine line to be walked.  If your pinky toe passes that realm of sensitivity, it’s dipping into insanity.

Since in my teens I have referred to the creative drive as the beast — like Nixon’s ‘beast’ (hmm, talking about insanity….) — this unquenchable force that takes hold and drives the creativity on canvas or paper or film or whatever/wherever.  It is not so much the individual desiring creation as much as this beast forcing its way out of the individual.  It’s not about money or fame — not true art — it’s about something that so badly needs to come out, death is the only other option.

And then what happens?  So called critics take this work of pure passion and rip it up and dissect and critique every little millimeter.  As though it is their possession.  That is what happens once art is out there.  It no longer is the property of the individual.  It becomes property of the public and therefore must be judged success or failure.  No middle ground.  Not with art. Critics have always fascinated me.  Don’t they have anything better to do with their lives, then spend it trashing — or praising — other’s brilliancy?  I guess there is no beast raging in them and perhaps that leads to its own insanity.

There is a great book by Paul Auster, The Book of Illusions, that deals with the question of art ownership.  Is the work ever only the artist’s?  Is it always for the public?  Personally, I love my paintings as my children.  I have tried to part with them — put them out into the world.  But for the most past they line the walls of my room — where they are safe from other’s unforgivable fits of rage — surrounding me.  I find meditative peace in the midst of my paintings.  They all have their own energy — and my energy is a part of that.  So, in some way, they bring me back to myself.  And lately I feel more disconnected than normal, so being brought back is not only very much needed, but very much appreciated.

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