Must Artists Suffer for their Art? (optional)

rheadg-sufferingOh please.  Those who know me know that’s not my plan.  Now does suffering inform an artist’s work?  Maybe. Art is not literal; it is emotive.  So feelings inform an artist’s work and they are central to the artist’s unique voice. And life experiences and a certain depth of emotion develop an emotional register that I think is necessary if an artist is going to have anything interesting to say or to express. The artist has to feel it if their audience is going to feel it. I’m not actually a fan of most contemporary art because it expresses a very narrow band of emotions: irony, angst, and shock.  I’m bored with it.  And I don’t relate to these emotions.  Although I do believe that they reflect the broader contemporary culture. I can only express my voice, deepened by my life experiences. Why is my tag line “Savor the colors of a moment?”  It’s catchy, but it actually goers deeper than that.  Because for most of my life, before I started painting for a living, I suffered from chronic anxiety and deep depression.  I was actually advised that I would suffer from these conditions for the rest of my life.  Thankfully, I told the doctor to stick it and I took charge. And it’s been many years and I no longer suffer.  If I had to sum up the experience of anxiety I would say that it’s a preoccupation with the future.  And depression is a regret or a continuous review of the past.  I have a friend who had chronic anxiety and then developed stage four breast cancer.  She said the anxiety was harder to cope with than the cancer.  That's suffering. When I paint I am the most present that I can be.  So my subject is light expressed as color.  And this single focus gives me peace.  So my suffering did inform my work but I certainly don’t feel obligated to suffer.
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