About Artists

Voice Card  -  Volume 13  -  Suzanne Card Number 4  -  Tue, Mar 13, 1990 2:27 PM

This is ONE OF 3 responses to Vol 12 John 11 ("Skinning Skinner")...

Walden Two sounds grim, as does that rat you had to confront in the lab in order to get your psych degree. I remember quite a while ago in my developmental psychology reading encountering an article that said at a certain developmental point disturbed children with active fantasy lives either cross the boundary into some form of psychosis or develop into artists. Maybe I've gotten it wrong, or maybe the person who wrote the article got it wrong. Who knows.

But it seems clear that artists at least at some point must have felt themselves as separate from their societies in order to attempt any kind of interpretation. It's an imposed, not a conscious, separation.

Since artists look beneath the surface of things to attempt to find some kind of meaning there, if everything had gone right in their lives and they emerged as adults well adjusted and satisfied, I don't see where the motivation would come from to examine long enough to create any art, particularly since it's hardly ever paid well, and many of our greatest artists seem not to have received a whole lot of reward or recognition during their lifetimes.

So if things had gone fine for them, I think they'd just have gone on living their lives having a good time, accepting the way things were rather than feeling any need in particular to comment on them.

Michelangelo: "Hell, let's dance. I can start on the Sistine Chapel tomorrow."

James Joyce: "Geez, Nora, people sure do a lot of drinking around here, don't they? Local color, I call it."

Why question anything if you're having a good time? So sure, I think they have to suffer at some point, although I don't like that word. It romanticizes the notion of pain, as though suffering is some elevated state of pain that artists ought to strive for. If a person is really an artist, I think they've already suffered plenty and don't need to go out looking for any more of it.

I don't know what I think on the question of creative people being introverted. I know a lot of creative people, and it seems to me they don't really follow any kind of a pattern, other than being weird and quirky.