The Happy Sensitive Painter: Therapy Art versus Inspirational Art

There are many reasons why I dropped out of art school. One of them was that more and more, it felt like group therapy with unwilling and unqualified therapists. Don’t get me wrong.

Yet, once that “flow” is activated, it will also take you to places you don’t necessarily know how to handle.

Years ago I had a small exhibit of drawings, paintings and photos. Especially the paintings were quite dark and …is the word ‘distorted ‘ ? A friend of mine commented at the time that, he didn’t like the work, because it reminded him of ‘how fucked up he felt on the inside’. A day-job colleague commented that it looked like “the kind of work made by people who are psychotic”. The gallery owner considered it work “at a par with artists who’d been working professionally (that is, full time) for several years”. Me, I just worked with what came out. It wasn’t the kind of work I much imagined people hanging in their homes though.

A few years later still, I burned it all. Not all at once, that would have been too overwhelming. I burned it in the shower, little heaps at a time. Saying my goodbyes to pain on paper. I never wanted to paint like that again. By that time, I had found a different way to process and heal. I also started to feel how everything has an energy, that communicates. What was it that I wanted to say to the world?

As a friend recently commented: “you don’t frame shit and hang it on a wall”. Yet, that is what often happens with art. It’s an expression of the worst shit imaginable, and then it’s framed. It doesn’t really make sense. We need to distinguish between therapy art and inspirational art. Therapy art is unfinished. It is akin to screaming into a hole in the ground and the screaming needs to be buried or burned, the energy dissipitated. You could call yourself Munch, and be proud, but the question is, does it help you? Does it help those who see your work?

Underneath the scream, there is another, deeper energy flow, one that can be used to create inspirational art. Unfortunately, much of the art world seems to “frame” screams as being the hight and depth of sophistication, encouraging artists to work from that place of screaming, to stay there, to feel wretched and be artistic.

As an aspiring artist, you are scared into believing that anything upbeat will be akin to wallpaper.

In the end, none of that matters though. What matters is to know what it is that you want to put out into the world. Because what you put out, will come back to you, to haunt you, or inspire you. Creations have a way of growing on their own and then coming back to visit. You can refuse to creatively share from a place of distorted pain. The pain needs to be cleared, not given free reign to generate offspring. Procreation is called making love for a reason.

[see my current paintings]

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{ 1 comment }

1 Simas July 30, 2014

Thank you for distinguishing those kinds of art, designating the difference. It’s something I always was aware off, but didn’t translate to words.

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