Is it true that only the truly depressed can create their best art?
You see, I’m asking for a friend. This friend is an artist, in the new age meaning of the term, but she overwhelms herself by thinking she can do it all, yet the biggest problem she has is that she truly can’t create at all. Her problem is that she thinks she’s not sad enough, or that she’s way too sad. Picasso had a period of his best work. Van Gogh was known for being an artist solely from his depression. Then there are poets who pick apart their sadness and create a beautiful blanket using words and wrap us all up inside.
I told this friend that glamorizing the mentally ill was a poor route to go.
I told her that perhaps it wasn’t sadness that made them create, but for the sake of hope. You hold on to this slither of beauty and this big bright idea that you can make something, anything, from the throes of your ultimate sadness or anger or nothingness that are you emotions. Sometimes it works in their favor, I believe. Sometimes they create so many beautiful things even when they feel less than, because some day, one day, they’ll remember that that dark day wasn’t as dark as they thought.
I told this friend that she can make art no matter what.
That she’s capable of taking pen to paper, fingers to keyboard, thumbs to phone, graphite to canvas and make something that will at least just make her feel better. I said maybe that’s why those artists became so big, because they did things that made them feel better and won the jackpot on making others feel good because of them. Because artists are made to share their love, to spread their joy, and all emotions to just help those others not feel so alone.
I’m asking for a friend because she won’t believe me. I’ve been telling her this all her life and she just won’t believe me. What would you tell her?