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EBSQ: Art Meets Blog
News from the Self-Representing Artists Community
strategizing in the shadow of a giant
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wickedgillie From: wickedgillie Date: December 16th, 2006 09:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think Schumann must be on the collective brain, since I just heard a conversation on the radio the other day about RS being bi-polar, and the debate over whether medication might have saved his life, thereby giving him an opportunity to create a larger body of work, or whether this would have compromised his artistic genius and killed his muse. Regardless of the media, it's an interesting debate for any artist facing mental health issues.
angiereedgarner From: angiereedgarner Date: December 16th, 2006 11:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think bipolar and creativity are on the collective brain for sure-- these same kinds of questions came up in the academic colloquium I attended. I couldn't believe the questions were serious and imagined the person asking them had no life experience with bipolar.

I personally get both tired and offended-- I'm really clear that mental illness is a problem for creativity as it is for any other kind of human functionality. I don't think it gives us anything, it only takes.

Which doesn't mean that people don't make amazing art relating to experiences of adversity, they do. But impaired functioning does not make someone magically able to produce in the studio. People with bipolar aren't creating when they are hallucinating and out of control and injuring themselves and others.

I think there is kind of a collective, sick thing going on by which working productive artists are treated as "other"-- insane, not like "us"-- as that against which normal people get to define (and excuse) themselves.

All we truly don't need is the kids (or adults who should know better) trashing their heads thinking it will make them more creative, yanno? And I get tired of people basically asking me if MY creative work comes from some aspect of Teh CRAZY. At this point I tell them I do not have to be crazy to paint, but there are some aspects of being a professional artist that could make anyone crazy. And I give them the Look. :)

An amazing artist friend, Kate Sedgwick, is about to debut a body of work dealing exactly with her breakdown and hospitalization for bipolar. It is amazing work. And she didn't do it while her bipolar was unmanaged-- it took her ~years~ to be able to make art about it. She send me images of her stuff so I can blog it, and maybe this rant will get refashioned into a post of some sort. A less ranty one maybe!

Bless you for your comment, I needed to get to this issue and I know I took a pass on it with this post. I've just had a short fuse re people thinking mental illness causes creativity.
wickedgillie From: wickedgillie Date: December 17th, 2006 12:20 am (UTC) (Link)
I really like where you went with the original post. It definitely made me think about my personal iconography, inside jokes, and the ways I "converse" with my art history background.

As to your rant, I'm interested to where the tide takes it!

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