you don’t need to hurt to be an artist. and as an artist, you are not obligated to make your pain your art.
the glorification of pain in art is toxic.
to make art you do not need to have pain.
if you are an artist who hurts, you are not obligated to pimp out your trauma or pain to make art.
catharsis doesn’t have to be public, even if it is your best work.
while people have a responsibility to talk about painful things to remove stigma, you are not obligated to showcase your ruin at the expense of your own mental health.
you are not obligated to complete the work.
you are not obligated to keep a bright face, and you are not required to provide someone else’s catharsis.
i think about this a lot. as an “artist” i’m afraid of depending too heavily on negative emotions to create.
art is not worth my mental health deteriorating.
balance is key, to mental stability, and to skill as an artist (challenge: can you write a happy poem as cathartic and good as your sad works?)
i don’t want to base my identity on my art if it relies on my internal darkness.
i don’t want to shirk healing in favor of my art.
i don’t want to make myself sad to make myself make to make myself happy.
“don’t fall in love with falling” -aircatcher, joseph
“I can’t live this way just to write a song to play” -just like yesterday, tyler joseph
ps. this post stems from statements from particular songwriters that mental illness is the reason they’re such good artists, and that medication is a bad thing to take if you’re mentally ill, as it blocks your creativity.
i’m not going to discuss medication and illness, but i did want to touch on the above, which is more universal. i hope this comes across: if you need medication or supplements to function, please take it. it’s less that art is hard to make when you’re happy/healthy. it’s that it might be a different kind of art, and it takes practice to make. that’s fine.
pps. artists know this. my three favorite artists use their mental state to create and even they have reminders for us:
“take a day to break away from all the pain our brain has made” -migraine, tyler joseph
“Will I always fall asleep to dream of mending up my wounds, then wake to spend the day reliving every bruise for the sake of a sad song, or a sweet repose, or seeing the blood flow from the stitching like it were a cavalry of demons in retreat, promising to leave me alone? They’re liars.” – A Time To Speak [And A Time To Keep Silent], levi the poet
“do it for the love, give a f about the payment / If I’m being honest, I don’t know what I’m chasing / need a space to place my thoughts and the song’s the location / I’m sick of writing all these sad songs / but I’m just being real, it’s how I feel, word is bond / I just wanna let you know you’re not alone” -ruiner, nothing,nowhere
“So I been putting all my thoughts in this verse / and I don’t know that if it’s helping or it’s making it worse / i just know its been a while since I felt like I’m fine / I’ve been trying to learn to live my life one day at a time” better, nothing,nowhere