The Tortured Artist

The Tortured Artist has been a common saying for centuries. Is it true that the best artists are trapped in their own minds?

I’ve been thinking more about artists over the past few year and what makes for great art. Of course, we all know art is subjective, and there have been children’s scribbles that have sold for millions of dollars. Then there are people who can draw as if a professional photographer took a picture with a high quality camera. I am not referring to those types of artists or art in the least bit. Instead, I’m referring to the great art that is channeled from within. The type of art anyone can pull out of themselves.

While taking major mandatory English classes to become an English teacher, I also took a few English art classes as minor mandatory classes. I felt as if the artistic English teachers were trying to lift the spirits of each student to release their inner artist. At the same time I thought some of the more lecture-based English teachers put past artists on a pedestal, and would say great art is only available from the few.

After years of writing and dabbling in various forms of art and entertainment, I realized that simply using the right words arranged in a pleasing manner wasn’t good enough. Through a series of miserable events in my life, I experienced suffering within my own mind. Using that I was able to see how great artists created their art forms. I believe that true great art is simply expressing a deep emotion in which others can feel and/or relate to. Writing a poem, producing music, painting a picture, telling a story, all of these are the same. They can be done by anyone, but the best artists are those who can transmit the emotion well to you.

Unfortunately, the most common types of art relay pain, drama, and struggle. While it can be easy for a tortured artist to be lifted up out of a bad situation with or without their art, many artists choose to remain in their bad environment or tortured mind in order to draw the pain from within. While this has been successful for some, it’s playing with fire, and has taken the lives of countless young artists.

I know I cannot remain in a terrible mindset or I will hurt myself and those around me. Yet at the same time, I felt the most creative when I was in my worst emotional state. Many musicians have songs filled with painful lyrics, but the finest are those who continue to speak on their pain during interviews.

I would also like to add another saying that comedy is simply tragedy remembered. Or in a mathematical formula: Tragedy + Time = Comedy.