Emotional pain can be a fantastic prompt for the creation of art. This is no new news. And for some artists, it’s not just about deriving inspiration from instances of pain and bending them into works of art — it’s about finding one’s self so broken by an upheaval (or upheavals) that creating art is the only way to stop the pain from consuming the artist whole. The pain is like a disease of the soul and it must be bled out in order for the host to survive. That’s why the best and most meaningful art is made up of authentic and oft times painful experiences that have been manipulated into beauty, through words, visuals, music and so on.
There is a threshold and the artist exists on both sides of it. Before this symbolic tollbooth of sorts, the artist stands with the knowledge that they’ve been betrayed, or lied to, or humiliated, or made fun of, or cheated on, or cheated of — you get the point. So, there they stand with their arms full of all this pain, and they know that the only way to get rid of it is by creating their art. Art is the payment for the freedom from the pain.
Now this whole ‘getting rid of the pain’ thing is not just about self indulgence. It’s about taking something terrible and making something beautiful out of it. That’s why it’s ART — it’s creative, not destructive.
Anyway, back to the threshold. It’s like a magical passage where all the pain is processed into beauty, and once on the other side, the artist has the option of either releasing this beauty into the world (hopefully as good and meaningful art), or returning for more pain. It’s a personal choice and both options are frequently visited. Until of course, the pain runs out. Then they can draw and write about pretty puppies and how love makes the world go ’round.
I have spent countless years purging betrayal. It seems to be the number one ‘troublesome inspiration’ in my life, though I’ve learned to shy away from mostly everything that could possibly hurt me on that level. Like, um, people. Good ol’ people. And such a vicious circle too, because who else do I create my art for if not people? Oh no, it’s never been just for me, in fact, I laugh when I hear artists claim that they create just for themselves. Especially when they’re standing on a platform, singing it for all to hear and… approve of.
So, we create our art to purge ourselves of pain, which we show to people who in turn…destroy our art with their insensitive treatment of it — because, thanks to technology and the internet, these are the days of the rapid-fire insult. It’s nothing to hurt an artist or writer now, in fact, it’s encouraged. So…suddenly, this miraculous release, this amazing and most wonderful path by which we can end all of our pain as we know it – art – becomes this thing that, once it’s viewed by other people, can now be instantly defiled by those with the freedom to shoot their damned mouths off. The Art Killers.
We search for freedom through creation, but freedom invites everyone in. Even those who — because they cannot create art — choose to destroy it. Just for fun. Or perhaps it’s because they are seething with sickening jealousy. Because truly, to live without a productive outlet to diminish the pain of life can only create one kind of person: an anonymous, talentless critic.
So, for those of you who disrespect art to such a degree that you cannot even put your name to your degrading words, read this as I watch you weep:
Fuck you. You create nothing but pain. You add nothing to this world. You attach yourself to greatness like an engorged leech, but make no mistake — as much as you glut yourself on all the beauty there is in this world, in the end all you are is full of shit and everyone knows it. So please, go get a job or something. And for fuck’s sake, use your real name. That anonymous name game — it’s old and it’s as useless as you know yourself to be.