Monday, February 6, 2012


Alex Doolan's "Call 911!," 2011, Acrylic, oil and graphite on canvas, 72 x 96
In one of my writing classes today, we discussed whether or not an artist has to be tortured in order to make truly wonderful art. Some said yes. Some said no.

Names that came up: Truman Capote, Fanny Howe
Names that I thought of as the discussion went on: David Foster Wallace, Diane Arbus, Mary Karr, Marlon Brando

The question of causation versus correlation comes up. Do tortured people tend to gravitate toward art? Does making art and committing oneself to the production of art (which in turn requires intense critical evaluation) cause trauma? Does a tortured person produce better writing, canvases, performances?

People always say that comedians tend to be dark people.

But as an artist, I'd like to think that one need not be traumatized in order to be great. For logistical reasons.
Diane Arbus' Child with Toy Hand Grenade in Central Park, New York City (1962)


Costanza Saglio said...

ohh your blog is outstanding...!

House of Hemingway said...

Oh geez, I miss blogging about art!

Here's what I think:

Some people have the ability to express emotion past what they've experienced themselves. Many artists, however bleed art and inspiration when they are tortured. I find it as a way of coping. I remember 10 years ago, I was a freshman in college and I wanted to study Art Therapy. I was hoping that I could work with children that were abused and help them rehabilitate through art expression.

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to move to Fl. where the school was and so I studied Graphic Design instead. However, I find that art is expressed in so many mediums. It's like writers... I'm reading the book by Jaycee Dugard. Her writing style is that of an 11 year old because that's as far as she had gotten in school, yet her message and honesty in her writing style is so moving. The lack of skill did not enable her from expressing her feelings.