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elbanditoroso's avatar

Is there such a thing as a contented artist? (read the whole question)

Asked by elbanditoroso (14937 points ) February 14th, 2012

I don’t mean financially.

One reads about art being the result of struggle and angst – that good art is the result of internal conflict and challenges within the psyche that are represented in the art that is produced. It doesn’t matter if it is acting, music, paintings, or a specific type of art – just that the act of producing something creative is itself the result of struggle, conflict, angst, or whatever.

Can happy people produce good art?

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17 Answers

wundayatta's avatar

Do happy people exist?

I think life is struggle. Perhaps we choose our struggles to some degree, but very few people are content to be contented and problems abound, should we choose to see them as problems.

The artistic temperament may simply be that of a person who is never content. Someone who always sees trouble or problems or room to improve. Or they may be raising laziness to an art form. That is, they want an easier way to do things (because they are lazy) and they create, create, create in order to find an easier way. I include inventors in with artists here.

I think that art must be about a topic the artist feels passionately about. I do not believe strong passions fly from contentment.

However, there may be other forms of happiness that can inspire art. Like when you are in awe—whether of nature or God or people or love or whatever. That kind of happiness inspires artists to create.

digitalimpression's avatar

I think both content and discontent people can make great art. The artists who are filled with angst, stress, and emotion can come up with some original, and fascinating work. Those who are content in life and at peace with how things are going can do the same. I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a difference in their artwork though.

jrpowell's avatar

Well, it is impossible to classify art as good. I have made things everyone agrees is shit but I think is good. I’m pretty sure Thomas Kinkade should cry himself to sleep every night knowing he makes shit. But he masturbates onto stacks of 100 dollar bills before bed.

elbanditoroso's avatar

I’m no artist – I’ll admit that up front. I did some creative writing in college, but that’s a generation ago. What I remember about that effort was that it came out of enjoyment and adventure, and not out of some inner rage trying to be enunciated. In fact, it was fun and creative and I enjoyed doing it.

But as I said, I’m no artist and my creative writing never even was published,

@johnpowell raises an interesting point – Kinkade’s stuff, to me, isn’t art. It’s kitsch. But a lot of people like it, and it certainly sells. But who am I to judge someone elses’ attempts to make money?

Blackberry's avatar

I think “happy” or people content with life can be artists. I know a few people from upper middle class suburban life that are great artists. They do it for fun/boredom lol, and they’re really good: very accurate paintings and sketches/drawings.

jrpowell's avatar

And my aunt after retiring from the Air Force got a Masters of Fine Arts and likes making lampshades out of cow stomachs. They are actually lovey once the smell goes away. She likes making them and people buy them.

Never had the balls to ask her, why?

YoBob's avatar

Adversity has a strange tendency to act as a catalyst that forces us to come to grips with the essence of our humanity, and our need to express those small insights into the core of our common humanity is what drives the creative process and in turn compels us to produce art.

marinelife's avatar

Yes, I think that they can.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@johnpowell Is your aunt related to Ed Gein? ;)

jrpowell's avatar

I don’t really appreciate the comparison. She is a vegan that gets leftovers from local butchers.

SpatzieLover's avatar

Sorry…it was the first thing I thought of. Skin furniture isn’t common

6rant6's avatar

I went to see a Baldesarri exhibit this weekend. This pictures of him looks happier than Santa Claus. His career has included many visual jokes and much mocking of authorities. Oh, and critical and economic success. What’s not to be happy about?

Coloma's avatar

Sure. I’m a creative personality and write a fair amount and while once in awhile I enjoy a happy brownie or a beer or couple glasses of wine my creative drive is not based on angst and substance abuse.
I am a natural extrovert and we are known for our overall optimistic and enthusiastic natures.
“Suffering” may access deeper expression at times for certain creative personalities, we ALL grow through our sufferings, or, at least we should, ideally, but suffering is in no way a pre-requisite for creative drive.

For me my strongest creativity comes through in the early morning, pre-dawn hours, waaay before the cocktail hour and flows from a well rested and peaceful state.

Sunny2's avatar

Inspiration may come from any feeling the artist has, including anger. Wanting to preserve a moment or series of them, the enjoyment of creating, the joy of observance remembered, a statement of belief, etc. may motivate an artist. So, no, not all artists are angry; many are contented, from my experience.

Sunny2's avatar

@SpatzieLover Leather chairs and couches? Cowhide and other animal rugs?

SpatzieLover's avatar

@Sunny2 Stomachs don’t make me think of cowhide

SpatzieLover's avatar

@Sunny2
Here is a short video of an artist contented with making lamps from sheep stomachs.
Yes, they still remind me of what I read/saw in a book about Gein…Oh well…Art is subjective

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