What every lover should know about the creative artist. Part 1

If you have ever lived with one or loved one, you know that the creative artist is a complex character seemingly devoted to emotional contradictions.  For hundreds of years, writers, painters, sculptors, composers, and musicians have made self-defenses of their passions and life styles.  The efforts extend pity to paradox, and the divorces and estrangements continue from age to age.

 There are many common elements of the creative personality that form a syndrome of their peculiar malady.  If the disease can be identified and isolated, perhaps there can be an understanding of the behavior of the patient.

 First of all, let’s define what we mean by a creative artist.  The creative artist creates a body of work.  The definition is not dependent on whether the work is published, produced, or performed.  Each piece, long or short, must be completed, however, and a compilation of past and planned projects must demonstrate that serious work is being done on a continual basis over a period of years.

 An individual who writes one novel, one play, or one symphony and then quits because the work was not accepted is not a creative artist.  The creative artist cannot quit no matter what his circumstance.  If the society condemns his work, he will become furtive, go underground, but he will nevertheless be productive.

 You can identify the creative artist by his persistence to produce work in spite of poverty and rejection.  There may be very productive periods and very unproductive periods depending on circumstances, but the creative artist is always working at his art.

 Pretenders at being creative artists can talk for hours about their plans and ideas, but they will have no continuum of finished work to show for all their talk and emotion.

The creative artist has finished work to show.

The creative artist creates in spite of all financial and interpersonal obstacles.

 The creative artist may perform other occupations.  She may even do commercial work within her discipline, but no work outside of her creative production satisfies her.  If happiness can be defined as inner peace and tranquility, the creative process is her only real, unqualified joy.  No matter what emotions were involved in the arrival at the creative moment, beyond the anger and the tears.  The moment of creation is pure delight.

 If your artistic friend seems moody and distant at times, it is because he is in the creative process.  He is experiencing the withdrawal symptoms between bursts of creative energy.  He is a creative junkie waiting for the next fix of creative juices.

The creative artist can experience unqualified happiness only in the solitary moments of the creative act.  She is often inept emotionally outside of that experience.  When she is concentrating on a large work, she has little or no energy left for other activities.  That’s why she flops into bed and sleeps for ten hours at a time.  That’s why she watches too much television and ignores the household chores.

 The creative artist has an innate drive and passion for his art that is genetic.  A long evolution has produced him.  He is programmed by nature to express himself in literature, or marble, or with musical instruments.  Often in his lifetime, he will wish that he could cast off the impractical yoke of this insatiable desire, and some fight it to their own mental and physical destruction.  The will to art is not always a welcome passion.  It often seems to the individual a cruel joke that denies choice and free will.

10 Comments

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10 responses to “What every lover should know about the creative artist. Part 1

  1. Re: title & terminology. A. Proposition: 1. For creative artist, creating defines me AND 2, so I’m the way I am b/c there’s no choice. B Analysis: Definitions:a. Element is pt of a whole. Therefore, elements comprise me, creative artist. b.Symptom is a sign so symptoms describe creative art-ism. Enough symptoms equals complete creative artist. c.Syndrome is a set of symptoms which, if high, can be a disease. C.1. Malady- disease – is
    deviation from “nl” & comprised of symptoms. 2 If disease is ID’d/set apart, you can understand sick one’s actions. Conclusion: Therefore, you KNOW I
    have creative artism, understand my behavior & love me anyway as you
    would if I were diabetic or had epilepsy. This should help, Honey, b/c the
    majority of “nls” are not like me & you, understandibly, would prefer to love
    a “nl”, like You. The process can be agony. Creative MOMENT = JOY.

    Re: “happiness”, it’s the moment of creation that brings unqualified joy. The

  2. As a writer, I don’t choose the stories that come to me, but I am happy with them.To be an artist of any kind is always a challenge; some people curse that challenge, but I welcome it-I know I am strong enough and talented enough to reach my goals no matter what.

    Thanks for this post.

    • The “will to art” is, I believe, a genetic program. Our duty, yours and mine, is to be true to that intuitive drive. There is no happiness in avoiding it. Greatness is assigned by others and beyond our control. It is a subjective judgment at best except for souls like Shakespeare. Do the work. That is your only responsibility, and I celebrate you for it.

  3. Today, I select four slices of this Creative Artist’s life on which to masticate, meander through, make ‘chicklet smiles’ with and fail at mandating the ‘never-end-a-sentence-with-a-preposition mis-usage.
    Re: “furtive and underground”, it’s just fine. They all know me there. Re: “persistence in spite of poverty”, it’s been done – and well – in sensitive, sentiant, scented monastaries. Re:” . . .a cruel joke. . .”, , therein lies the
    monetary meaningfulness. Because re: the “innate drive and passion for his art that is genetic”, and of “long evolution”, would that the Creative Writer could inherit the Monumental Trust along with the “Dumb-Ass” Gene, his merriment would be meaningfully successful, not just successive.

  4. All I know is that on days when I am able to write solidly for eight hours or more, I am the happiest. If I was ever given the opportunity to write in hermitic solitude for three months or more, I would be in heaven. No telling what I would look like at the end of that time, but I would have finished an impressive pile of creative work.

  5. bab

    You hit the nail on the head in that last paragraph especially. Sometimes the people around us just don’t get it and never will because they do not have this driving passion.
    Enjoyed your article immensely.

    • A mentor of mine warned me about a fork in the creative artist road. One leads away from relationships that might complicate, and the other risks walking into the responsibility of marriage and a family. I chose family, and although I had to write journalism and even advertising to support my wives and daughters, I was able to write nearly 50 major literary works . My wife of 28 years, Pat, deserves my deepest gratitude for supporting this production. Pray for such support and wait patiently for it to arrive. For me, it was the second time around, but it made all the difference.

  6. Once again (managed to LOSE what I just typed), the last time I wrote I was responding to the commentor singing Monty’s praises for going off & writing lest Monty’s creative product remain unknown/appreciated.
    And imagine my pleasant surprise today to read, in Monty’s own words, that the proverbial fork in the road not only exists but executes the phenomenon we know as “writing as a professional”.or getting published. The creative artist here, made the best of choices, selected the perfect soulmate, with whom they gave each other and the world offspring and SUPPORTED not only the little ladies (by working/performing activities that yielded money) but ALSO provided the opportunities that would lead to (I don’t know where this reply will stop. THE END IS THE WORD “ART” IN CAPS. Editing issues)

    hearing that necessary material knock and OPEN THE DOOR to dissemination. The “happily-ever-after” here is the absence of opposing/conflicting views. The applause should/will continue for Monty’s devotion to the creative process undistracted by thoughts of monetary compensation AND do the same for his recognition/usage of the support he earned/deserved to ensure the all-important endurance/preservation of his ART. solely for the sake of the craft – remuneration be damned. This because devious materialism dilutes the very “Merlin” magic of the artist’s creation resulting in but a weakened, naym malignantly depleted version of the creation which, to everyone’s loss, results in a “wannabe” product. But Monty, again as per this writer’s evaluation, was staunchly turning his creative back to such shallow motivations, focused entirely on the creative produce – “hold the lettuce”, please. To be sure this pursuit & its impetus is nothing short of admirable. Really. My retort – humanly greedy/mundane as it was – was simply intended to inject a few mls of reality into the fix, uh, mix, ie, all of this un diluted beauty, creativity, inspirational work would – the way our world ‘rolls’ – fall before sightless eyes/minds/hearts were it not to reach an audience. The contaminent – materialism – necessarily must make its entrance. Knocking on the pure creative one’s cell, causing him perhaps to fracture his creative quill, is “Sugar Daddy” – aka PUBLISHER/ANGEL – the necessary evil carrier pigeon. NECESSARY is obviously the operative word

  7. What a great article! I always have a driving passion and neglect everything else. Your post definitely hit the nail on the head. No one seems to understand and they all think I’m consumed, and in a way I guess I am. It is so natural to me and I was born with it. It’s very hard to ignore my creative instinct. My mind is always going in that direction no matter what else I’m doing so it’s hard to be fully engaged in something that isn’t creative.

    I know I probably sound like I need therapy but I started out drawing as soon as I could pick up a pencil and then went to painting in various mediums and now I have been writing pretty seriously about 15 years

    I enjoyed your article.

    • I term your “driving passion” as the “will to art.” Your art is your therapy, but you are most sane in that self awareness. The artifacts that you create are of value. They are the evidence of human beingness. I, too, paint. After some success in Europe, I was drafted into the Army. Two years later I had a one-man show in the US that showed me that I couldn’t make a living as a painter. After a 40-year hiatus, I started painting again in 2007. A blog posting will tell that story and show some recent work. The transition from writing to painting is seamless as you have probably experienced. All that we have to do is to honor the passion that gives meaning and purpose to our lives.

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