I’ve been thinking recently about our connection with our creativity and how it links to our mental health, especially in my own work and how it has influenced me. I’ve often thought that if I was one of the lucky ones that had never experienced anxious cycles or never knew what depression really meant, would I still be an artist? If I was an artist would my work be totally different?
Seems like a lot of over thinking doesn’t it?… but that’s creatives for you, and that’s where we get our strange outlandish ideas from, it’s also where we find ourselves falling down the rabbit hole of spiralling “what if’s” and “what is”. A question I have asked myself in the past a few times is which life would I have rather had? A life without anxiety or a life without art. Don’t get me wrong, you can definitely have both I’m just not sure if one would begin without the other.
I’m not saying you have to be crazy to be creative, but it definitely helps, more recently studies suggest that there is a definite link between creative people and their mental health, I would presume because we are using the right side of our brain which controls all of our abstract thoughts and emotions and less of the left side which is logical and calculated. Throughout history we can see many of the greatest artists and musicians struggled with addiction, depression and some just pure obscure behaviours. Take Salvador Dali walking anteaters or Estee lauders obsession with touching people faces, the suicides of Van Gogh, Virginia Woolf and in pop culture the likes of Kurt Cobain, Amy Winehouse’s addiction and most recently we watch Kanye West’s creative madness unravel through twitter and interviews. There’s no doubt that there is a link but I also think as a society we glamourize bizarre behaviours and those that died before their time, would we still think the same way about these people if we hadn’t romanticised a tragic story and making it part of their art?
Realistically art is everywhere, and it is everything. From the piece of furniture, you’re sitting on to the piece of technology you’re using, the colour of your walls or your favourite song. It all began with someone who thought a little differently to everyone else, none of those things would exist without those people pushing the boundaries of what was once considered “normal”. All our favourite songs were written through tears, even the happy ones because nobody knows true happiness without knowing true sadness, it is the ying and yang of life. Which kind of makes everything a little bit more beautiful.
Being creative is having the ability to turn darkness in to light, everything around us has the potential to be something uniquely beautiful. Again, it just emphasises the balance we need in the world and in ourselves, we are allowed to see beauty, but we must also see sadness, we can have love but we also have heartache. Hearing a dripping drainpipe can inspire a song that people listen to for years to come, a crack in a wall can rouse a concept for a painting, a drug induced dream can inspire a book that becomes someone’s saviour. So which would you rather be? It doesn’t mean that if you’re artistically inclined that you’re plagued by mental illness, just that maybe you can’t be creative without questioning existence once in a while? Because that’s what we do, we question things, we are curious, we are inventors, we make things that bit more magnificent… We are the lucky ones.