Artistic Depression

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Do you think an artists work can be affected by their depression or mental illness?
I am doing a project for A level and would love as many different views as possible :)
Here's my cycle:

I get depressed —> being depressed makes me creative —> something really good and creative comes out of being depressed —> which makes me feel really really good about myself —> which means I'm not depressed anymore, which means I'm not very creative either —> so I get depressed because nothing good comes out —> which means I get creative because I'm depressed about not being creative —> rinse, repeat.

Sure, artists get depressed, but there's easy ways to cheer them up:

http://www.colossusblog.com/mt/archives/images/sock_puppet_theatre.jpg
:smile::smile::smile: NOOORG! you're retarding my creative flow!
 
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Here's my cycle:

I get depressed —> being depressed makes me creative —> something really good and creative comes out of being depressed —> which makes me feel really really good about myself —> which means I'm not depressed anymore, which means I'm not very creative either —> so I get depressed because nothing good comes out —> which means I get creative because I'm depressed about not being creative —> rinse, repeat.
OK. Serious answer: a person might do something creative to work themselves out of a depression, some people might think to tackle the depression this way and they might possibly succeed, but depression is a bad thing and generally paralyzes people creatively and otherwise. In general, depressed people don't do anything. It's a horrible state of mind and shouldn't ever be mistaken for the ground in which the seed of creativity grows or any romantic silliness like that. Artists get stuff done when they're feeling hopeful and energized or at least content.
 

Math Is Hard

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I knew an artist with bipolar disorder. When she was depressed she didn't get anything done, but during her manic phases she cranked out a ton of work.
 
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I knew an artist with bipolar disorder. When she was depressed she didn't get anything done, but during her manic phases she cranked out a ton of work.
Exactly. That's pretty much the same for all bipolar people who do artwork: the work gets done during the manic periods, not the depressed ones.
 
OK. Serious answer: a person might do something creative to work themselves out of a depression, some people might think to tackle the depression this way and they might possibly succeed, but depression is a bad thing and generally paralyzes people creatively and otherwise. In general, depressed people don't do anything. It's a horrible state of mind and shouldn't ever be mistaken for the ground in which the seed of creativity grows or any romantic silliness like that. Artists get stuff done when they're feeling hopeful and energized or at least content.
It was a serious answer. There's nothing silly or romanticized about it (ok, my tone wasn't exactly serious, but it rarely is. I just find everything too funny all the time). To many people, writing, painting, or music are the best method for dealing with whatever it is they are dealing with. Why is art about death, losing love, war, etc. etc. so common? — some people listen to music when they are depressed, others make it.
 
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It was a serious answer. There's nothing silly or romanticized about it. To many people, writing, painting, or music are the best method for dealing with whatever it is they are dealing with. Why is art about death, losing love, war, etc. etc. so common? — some people listen to music when they are depressed, others make it.
No, I meant since you'd given a serious answer, so would I.
 
No, I meant since you'd given a serious answer, so would I.
O, ok, sorry :biggrin:

I wasn't saying depression is wonderful. I went through a pretty deep depression for, well, most of my teenage years (I'm almost 20, so this isn't that long ago). I wouldn't want to go back to that state of mind —I'm one of those annoying "I love life" people now. Only slightly less annoying than those "I hate life" people— but it definitely didn't hurt my creativity. I would spend days without sleep, writing and painting.

A lot of it was a crap-O-licious display of crap; a crap extravaganz-O-rama, if you will: mad, depressing, ramblings. And considering I had just moved to Canada and my English wasn't very good: horrid grammar errors. But some of it was interesting. And I often steal from myself and polish things that I wrote back then. I still write a lot, and better, I think; just not as compulsively as I did back then.

Here's one of my old depressing poems. I was 15 or 16 when I wrote it:

SID THE HALF KID

Sid, the half kid: the kid-mid: won’t stand, won’t sit.
Half stood and underseated, Sid—the mid-kid—half does:
but it won’t do.
Sid: kid mid, half walks, half byes. Half steals, half buys.
And everyone knows “hey! there goes Sid! the half kid!”
Then Sid, Kid-mid, half waves a disconnected “Hi,”
a fragmented smile,
and hellows bit too slow.
And everyone says: “how mice to meat Sid—Sid the half kid.”
Sid half eats, half stares, half speaks, and half cares.
“Half me...” thinks Sid.
And half halved, Sid drinks.
Sid, the half-kid—half suicide, half lives.
Coward!
Poor Sid... the half-kid. Sid always half kids.
Half friends, for Sid—Sid Mid.
Sid is scared S***less.
F***.
Stand up, Sid!
:yuck::yuck::yuck::yuck::yuck: way too much for my taste now, but it still has some amusing lines I'll probably steal for something better.

I think depression is very common among artists, not because the depression itself is what causes the creativity: Hours of deep, brooding introspection are inherent in a depression. This is more likely to be the cause of inspiration than the depressions itself.
 
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O, ok, sorry :biggrin:

I wasn't saying depression is wonderful. I went through a pretty deep depression for, well, most of my teenage years (I'm almost 20, so this isn't that long ago). I wouldn't want to go back to that state of mind —I'm one of those annoying "I love life" people now. Only slightly less annoying than those "I hate life" people— but it definitely didn't hurt my creativity. I would spend days without sleep, writing and painting.

A lot of it was a crap-O-licious display of crap; a crap extravaganz-O-rama, if you will: mad, depressing, ramblings. And considering I had just moved to Canada and my English wasn't very good: horrid grammar errors. But some of it was interesting. And I often steal from myself and polish things that I wrote back then. I still write a lot, and better, I think; just not as compulsively as I did back then.

Here's one of my old depressing poems. I was 15 or 16 when I wrote it:



:yuck::yuck::yuck::yuck::yuck: way too much for my taste now, but it still has some amusing lines I'll probably steal for something better.

I think depression is very common among artists, not because the depression itself is what causes the creativity: Hours of deep, brooding introspection are inherent in a depression. This is more likely to be the cause of inspiration than the depressions itself.
I don't think depression is any more common among artists than among physicists or engineers, (and mathematicians have to be universally acknowledged as all out of their minds). I'm sometimes surprised at the number of threads about depression that get started here by the kinds of students who haunt this forum. Do you find the same thing on sports forums? I dunno. It could be, though, that anyone prone to "deep, brooding, introspection" will find themselves involved in art or science, or some other thing where introspection and general cogitating apply.
-----
Sid, the half-kid sounds like the lyrics to a Who song.
 
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I just remembered Bill Byrd! He was a catholic composer in protestent england, and the only thing keeping him from being killed were his skills as a composer. he was good enough that queen elizabeth protected him but he was still shunned by the rest of society. that might explain why nothing he wrote is really 'unhinged' happy.
 
Do you find the same thing on sports forums? I dunno. It could be, though, that anyone prone to "deep, brooding, introspection" will find themselves involved in art or science, or some other thing where introspection and general cogitating apply.
Yes, probably. Maybe it's more widely known as a trait of the artists simply because artists are more likely to talk about it publicly (either explicitly in an interview, or through their art).

Sid, the half-kid sounds like the lyrics to a Who song.
O no :eek: I hate when that happens :yuck: O well, happens to everyone once in a while; there are only so many words in the english language :biggrin:

what song is it? I don't know any songs by the who.
 
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O no :eek: I hate when that happens :yuck: O well, happens to everyone once in a while; there are only so many words in the english language :biggrin:

what song is it? I don't know any songs by the who.
No, I mean it sounds like something The Who would write. Not actual Who: Pseudo-Who.
 

DaveC426913

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As an artist with bouts of productivity, I have often argued that a state of angst is often a requirement for creativity. When I'm happy and doing well, my artistic productivity drops to zero.
 
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As an artist with bouts of productivity, I have often argued that a state of angst is often a requirement for creativity. When I'm happy and doing well, my artistic productivity drops to zero.
I guess for you, then, it represents a retreat into the cave to work out problems.

I, personally, have to feel moderately OK about things in general or I can't pick up a pencil to draw.
 

hypnagogue

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As an artist with bouts of productivity, I have often argued that a state of angst is often a requirement for creativity. When I'm happy and doing well, my artistic productivity drops to zero.
Same for me. I used to be depressed quite a bit and it was this state that impelled me to do art. For me it functioned kind of like hunger or thirst, a negative drive that eventually forces a behavior to satisfy it. The process of creating in this state often felt cathartic, as if I was externalizing the bad vibes and so getting them out of my system. And this all helped both the quality and quantity of my stuff. My dabbling in art, besides fooling around on guitar a bit, has dropped to about nil since I've been generally quite happy and depression free the past few years.
 

hc_17

Thanks guys, this is really helping me! anyone else who has something to say, go ahead! :)
 
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Thanks guys, this is really helping me! anyone else who has something to say, go ahead! :)
How are a few random opinions by people who dabble in art on the side of any importance?
 
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Children's art (painting) seems to have a strong correlation, when the child is going through stressful and/or 'abnormal' times, in the painting to be able to 'read' the status of the child sometimes, as to the color, composition, etc. , and is sometimes used to initiate conversations about problems within the child.
 
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Children's art (painting) seems to have a strong correlation, when the child is going through stressful and/or 'abnormal' times, in the painting to be able to 'read' the status of the child sometimes, as to the color, composition, etc. , and is sometimes used to initiate conversations about problems within the child.
Can depression or mentall illness affect the way a child ties their shoe? Yes. Can it affect the way they eat? Yes. Can it affect the way they speak? Yes. Can it affect the way they do homework? Yes. Can it affect the way they interact with others? Yes. Can it affect the way they draw? Yes.

A huge percentage of depressed and mentally ill people have no artistic inclinations.

Michaelangelo was an irritable, cranky person. The Pope, who couldn't paint or sculpt, was vastly more difficult to get along with. Can a Pontiffs depression or mental illness affect his papacy?

Can a computer programmer's depression or mental illness affect his programming?

Can a physicists depression or mental illness affect his experimentation?
 
How are a few random opinions by people who dabble in art on the side of any importance?
well, in my case, I dabble in science on the side for fun and do art professionally (well, just starting out professionally) :smile:... I was going to go into biology, but what's the fun in a stable career :rofl:

I would get a bigger sample though (I assume you're not going by just 3 or 4 people), but I don't think that just because they don't do art professionally it makes them any less of an artist... I can think of more than a few famous artists who had other means of supporting themselves because they couldn't make a cent with their poetry/painting/writing for most of their life (or even all of it in some cases).
 
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didn't mean to hit a nerve there, zoobie---

I thought hc_17 might find reading some about kid's art and relate something that he may be looking for
 
Can depression or mentall illness affect the way a child ties their shoe? Yes. Can it affect the way they eat? Yes. Can it affect the way they speak? Yes. Can it affect the way they do homework? Yes. Can it affect the way they interact with others? Yes. Can it affect the way they draw? Yes.

A huge percentage of depressed and mentally ill people have no artistic inclinations.

Michaelangelo was an irritable, cranky person. The Pope, who couldn't paint or sculpt, was vastly more difficult to get along with. Can a Pontiffs depression or mental illness affect his papacy?

Can a computer programmer's depression or mental illness affect his programming?

Can a physicists depression or mental illness affect his experimentation?
I don't think anyone's saying that everyone who suffers from depression automatically becomes a great artist. I wasn't saying that, at least.

My mom is a psychologist who works mostly with traumatized children. Many of her sessions consist of having the child just paint, or play with toys. Sometimes she can get more information out of sitting and watching a kid play or paint, than from asking him questions.
 
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I don't think anyone's saying that everyone who suffers from depression automatically becomes a great artist. I wasn't saying that, at least.
There is a meme to the effect that mentally ill people are also very creative. People still believe the old saying "There is a fine line between genius and madness". It is clear that some people romanticize mental illness as the gateway to genius.

It's a meme that should be killed because, in fact, most mentally ill people lead terrible, painful, unproductive lives.
 
There is a meme to the effect that mentally ill people are also very creative. People still believe the old saying "There is a fine line between genius and madness". It is clear that some people romanticize mental illness as the gateway to genius.

It's a meme that should be killed because, in fact, most mentally ill people lead terrible, painful, unproductive lives.
Yea, that's true. I think people get these ideas either because artists tend to approach ideas in ways that most people wouldn't (films by Cronenberg or Aronofsky might lead people to think that they are insane), or because some artists and scientists are simply eccentric or "weird."

There is long way from eccentricity to mental illness, and I agree with you that there is somewhat of a romanticized idea of the "mad scientist" or "tortured artist" — Philip K. Dick was mentally ill; Kafka was just eccentric.
 
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Yea, that's true. I think people get these ideas either because artists tend to approach ideas in ways that most people wouldn't (films by Cronenberg or Aronofsky might lead people to think that they are insane), or because some artists and scientists are simply eccentric or "weird."

There is long way from eccentricity to mental illness, and I agree with you that there is somewhat of a romanticized idea of the "mad scientist" or "tortured artist" — Philip K. Dick was mentally ill; Kafka was just eccentric.
To stand out from the crowd an artist needs 1.) technical skill 2.) creativity.

While certain kinds of mental illness produce concommitant out-of-the-box thought processes that can be substituted for creativity, there is no mental illness that produces technical skill. That has to be developed by constant practice. In most cases mental illness makes that kind of sustained, long term effort impossible. On the other hand you also find obsessive behaviors in mentally ill people. In rare cases they can direct their obsessive tendencies at acquiring technical skills that allow them to articulate their out-of-the-box thinking. People like this are pretty much freaks, and don't represent typical mentally ill people or typical artists.
 

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