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The 'Artistic' Temperament-

Ebbie 30 Apr 06 - 01:12 PM
*#1 PEASANT* 30 Apr 06 - 01:26 PM
Ebbie 30 Apr 06 - 01:47 PM
*#1 PEASANT* 30 Apr 06 - 01:56 PM
Bert 30 Apr 06 - 02:06 PM
Ebbie 30 Apr 06 - 02:10 PM
Peace 30 Apr 06 - 02:13 PM
Ebbie 30 Apr 06 - 02:15 PM
Peace 30 Apr 06 - 02:18 PM
Amos 30 Apr 06 - 02:24 PM
sharyn 30 Apr 06 - 02:26 PM
Peace 30 Apr 06 - 02:27 PM
Ebbie 30 Apr 06 - 03:09 PM
Peace 30 Apr 06 - 03:24 PM
GUEST,JTT 30 Apr 06 - 06:27 PM
GUEST,wordy 30 Apr 06 - 07:00 PM
McGrath of Harlow 30 Apr 06 - 08:21 PM
michaelr 30 Apr 06 - 08:49 PM
Peter T. 30 Apr 06 - 08:56 PM
Bobert 30 Apr 06 - 09:03 PM
Big Al Whittle 01 May 06 - 05:22 AM
Peter T. 01 May 06 - 11:00 AM
Big Al Whittle 01 May 06 - 12:35 PM
M.Ted 01 May 06 - 01:28 PM
Ebbie 01 May 06 - 01:42 PM
McGrath of Harlow 01 May 06 - 03:56 PM
John Hardly 01 May 06 - 04:06 PM
Peter T. 01 May 06 - 04:29 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 01 May 06 - 04:54 PM
Don Firth 01 May 06 - 06:16 PM
Bobert 01 May 06 - 06:19 PM
Azizi 01 May 06 - 07:50 PM
Azizi 01 May 06 - 07:54 PM
Peace 01 May 06 - 07:55 PM
McGrath of Harlow 01 May 06 - 08:28 PM
Bobert 01 May 06 - 08:40 PM
Amos 01 May 06 - 08:48 PM
Ebbie 01 May 06 - 09:01 PM
Elmer Fudd 01 May 06 - 09:24 PM
Peace 01 May 06 - 09:27 PM
Ebbie 01 May 06 - 09:32 PM
Don Firth 01 May 06 - 09:37 PM
Peter T. 01 May 06 - 10:06 PM
Bobert 01 May 06 - 10:20 PM
GUEST 01 May 06 - 10:47 PM
Bobert 01 May 06 - 10:52 PM
Ebbie 01 May 06 - 10:59 PM
Once Famous 01 May 06 - 11:04 PM
M.Ted 01 May 06 - 11:08 PM
number 6 01 May 06 - 11:08 PM
Bobert 01 May 06 - 11:20 PM
Azizi 01 May 06 - 11:25 PM
beardedbruce 01 May 06 - 11:33 PM
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beardedbruce 01 May 06 - 11:48 PM
Azizi 01 May 06 - 11:49 PM
beardedbruce 01 May 06 - 11:50 PM
Azizi 01 May 06 - 11:51 PM
GUEST,thurg 02 May 06 - 12:49 AM
Ebbie 02 May 06 - 02:10 AM
GUEST,Sandy Andina 02 May 06 - 02:27 AM
GUEST,Sandy Andina 02 May 06 - 02:48 AM
Peace 02 May 06 - 09:46 AM
Elmer Fudd 02 May 06 - 10:15 AM
Peter T. 02 May 06 - 10:25 AM
Elmer Fudd 02 May 06 - 11:06 AM
M.Ted 02 May 06 - 11:31 AM
Amos 02 May 06 - 11:53 AM
sharyn 02 May 06 - 12:55 PM
Ebbie 02 May 06 - 01:03 PM
M.Ted 02 May 06 - 01:52 PM
McGrath of Harlow 02 May 06 - 01:56 PM
M.Ted 02 May 06 - 04:15 PM
kendall 02 May 06 - 04:32 PM
number 6 02 May 06 - 04:50 PM
GUEST 02 May 06 - 04:59 PM
John Hardly 02 May 06 - 05:12 PM
melodeonboy 02 May 06 - 05:23 PM
Peace 02 May 06 - 05:38 PM
number 6 02 May 06 - 05:49 PM
McGrath of Harlow 02 May 06 - 05:54 PM
McGrath of Harlow 02 May 06 - 06:08 PM
Elmer Fudd 02 May 06 - 07:17 PM
Peace 02 May 06 - 07:23 PM
GUEST 02 May 06 - 07:37 PM
Elmer Fudd 02 May 06 - 08:49 PM
Peace 03 May 06 - 10:21 AM
Peter T. 03 May 06 - 10:40 AM
Elmer Fudd 03 May 06 - 12:30 PM
Don Firth 03 May 06 - 01:29 PM
melodeonboy 03 May 06 - 02:41 PM
Peter T. 03 May 06 - 04:41 PM
John Hardly 04 May 06 - 10:54 AM
GUEST 04 May 06 - 12:47 PM
hesperis 04 May 06 - 12:49 PM
Leadfingers 04 May 06 - 02:13 PM
Leadfingers 04 May 06 - 02:17 PM
melodeonboy 04 May 06 - 03:13 PM
Elmer Fudd 04 May 06 - 04:45 PM
GUEST 05 May 06 - 01:58 PM
Elmer Fudd 05 May 06 - 08:29 PM
GUEST 05 May 06 - 08:48 PM
Elmer Fudd 05 May 06 - 09:23 PM
McGrath of Harlow 05 May 06 - 09:38 PM
hesperis 06 May 06 - 03:41 AM
Peter T. 06 May 06 - 07:39 AM
John Hardly 06 May 06 - 09:38 AM
Elmer Fudd 06 May 06 - 09:02 PM
Peter T. 06 May 06 - 10:10 PM
Elmer Fudd 06 May 06 - 11:14 PM
Peter T. 07 May 06 - 02:19 PM
Elmer Fudd 07 May 06 - 03:34 PM
Don Firth 07 May 06 - 08:58 PM
Big Al Whittle 08 May 06 - 08:43 PM
alanabit 09 May 06 - 05:32 PM
Elmer Fudd 09 May 06 - 07:25 PM
Big Al Whittle 09 May 06 - 07:51 PM
Elmer Fudd 09 May 06 - 08:00 PM
Ebbie 09 May 06 - 09:02 PM
GUEST 09 May 06 - 09:14 PM
Elmer Fudd 09 May 06 - 11:02 PM
Elmer Fudd 10 May 06 - 08:31 PM
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Subject: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: Ebbie
Date: 30 Apr 06 - 01:12 PM

Last night I watched the video of Townes Van Zandt's life. Perhaps only with the benefit of hindsight, his end was inevitable- died at age 52 after a lifetime of drug abuse and addiction.

It is a disturbing documentary as one watches the disintegration of a tremendously talented man.

It's not a new thought, of course, but my question is: If these tortured souls (Van Zandt, Hendrix, Joplin, Hank, Parsons, Elvis, et al) had NOT gone into the arts - perhaps gone into banking or real estate- would they have survived? Would they hav 'outgrown' their warped and skewed reality? Would they have outgrown their need for the artificial high?


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: *#1 PEASANT*
Date: 30 Apr 06 - 01:26 PM

I don't believe that the rant, or the spree or the bohemian lifeway is at all warped or skewed or artificial.

Depriving folks of freedom is however quite warped, skewed and as artificial as it gets.

Remember that the truly tortured spirits are those tortured by bankers, real estate agents and lawyers.

For example....having to pay a 70 dollar fine for taking a leak in publik....something all creatures outside of the human jungle do freely now that is disturbing! Been there done that..... (always carry an empty milk jug)

How much talent have we missed or lost because so many people have been inhibited and do not feel free to express themselves freely? I would say we loose more this way than to the free lifeway choices you describe.

Part of the problem is also lack of faith. Remember those folks are now singing somewhere else....

CB


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: Ebbie
Date: 30 Apr 06 - 01:47 PM

Why, #1 Peasant, I do believe you misunderstand me.


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: *#1 PEASANT*
Date: 30 Apr 06 - 01:56 PM

I understand how you described the lifeways...

Yes I get your main point...

The professions listed are high conformance high stress ones. If anything would contribute to a need to escape that would do it.

I associate with a lot of professionals....ever try to get them out on the spree on a sunday neet....or any working day! Impossible. Therefore they are not properly venting and the stess gets even worse.


CB


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: Bert
Date: 30 Apr 06 - 02:06 PM

My guess, Ebbie, is that if they hadn't gone into the arts then they would have been worse. There's a load of folks in regular jobs that succumb to various addictions, they just don't make the news.

I worked in a very high stress job for many years and actually loved it. That was telephone customer support, which ranks extremely high on the stress level - above air traffic controllers.

Music is a release that can reduce job related stress, once you get over the initial stage fright.


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: Ebbie
Date: 30 Apr 06 - 02:10 PM

That's what we were conjecturing last night, Bert; that if they had not gone into the performing arts they might have died even sooner, just not as publicly or as widely mourned. We be complex critters.


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: Peace
Date: 30 Apr 06 - 02:13 PM

"And Something's odd - within -
That person that I was -
And this One - do not feel the same -
Could it be Madness - this?"
-Emily Dickinson


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: Ebbie
Date: 30 Apr 06 - 02:15 PM

Peace, that's an interesting quote in this connection. If I were bolder, I would ask you specifically for your thoughts on this. But I'm not that bold. :)


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: Peace
Date: 30 Apr 06 - 02:18 PM

http://72.14.203.104/search?q=cache:otajhObG5yAJ:serendip.brynmawr.edu/bb/neuro/neuro01/web2/Applegate.html+artistic+temperament&hl=en&gl=ca&ct=clnk&cd=2

It is from 'A Book Review of Touched With Fire: Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament by Kay Redfield Jamison, Ph.D.'


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: Amos
Date: 30 Apr 06 - 02:24 PM

I don't think you can predict the answer to this question based on the whole class of cases you mention.

In order to become -- for example -- real estate agents, Jimi and Janis and Townes, Inc., would have hadto walk out of one vocabulary and range of behavior and attitude into a very different one, a different measure of what success is.

Just assume they had tried. If they had any early successes, they would probably get into it deeper, motivated by the delights of those successes.

But it would not have laid their daemons to rest as such. I can see the three of them now, running a posh successful office in a nice suburban region somewhere, and each of them nursing a drinking habit after hours.

The reeducation would give them a shell of different behaviour, but without the outlets for the their inner screams and their hungry poetic insights, I suspect they would become morose, or possibly psychotic, and at best would become alcoholics. Just a wild-ass guess, though.

A


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: sharyn
Date: 30 Apr 06 - 02:26 PM

The "artistic temperment" does not necessarily lead to drug or alcohol abuse, which can be a genetic, chemical problem and not the result of any particular temperment. It is important for me as an artist (painter), singer, musician and writer to know that there are (and have always been) artists who didn't destroy themselves, artists who had happy marriages, artists who had supportive families. In fact, I have found that many successful come from musical families where everyone played instruments and sang -- I knew a family that played string quartets together and the kids became a violist and a claasical soprano recital singer.

I don't think anyone would think Janis Joplin could have been happy -- or safer -- as a banker or a real estate agent. Any of them might have been helped people who both loved them and confronted their addictions, facing down the denial systems over and over.


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: Peace
Date: 30 Apr 06 - 02:27 PM

It looks to be a good guess from where I sit, Amos.

Sorry. This is the link.


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: Ebbie
Date: 30 Apr 06 - 03:09 PM

Interesting book review. It would seem that she has made a definitive observation on certain artists. However, I too would like to see studies done on less publicized - perhaps therefore less successful - geniuses that depict settled lifestyles and satisfying relationships. As sharyn says, I'm sure they are out there; they're just not as visible.

I tell you, the older I get the more support I see for the concept of reincarnation.

As Cohen wrote, Fame doesn't take away the pain, it only pays the bills.


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: Peace
Date: 30 Apr 06 - 03:24 PM

Chaim Potok (1929-2002) - original name Herman Harold Potok

His "My name is Asher Lev" is a wonderful novel about an artist torn between his religion and his art. Potok seems to have been 'well-adjusted'. So what does it add upto? Beats me.

Potok bio.


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: GUEST,JTT
Date: 30 Apr 06 - 06:27 PM

Plenty of musicians and composers and writers live balanced and calm and happy lives - look at the Bach clan. Look at the late lamented John McGahern.


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: GUEST,wordy
Date: 30 Apr 06 - 07:00 PM

If you get a chance watch the great new French film "The Chorus". The line that jumps out is what the teacher says about the talented pupil as he tries to persuade the mother to send him to a music school. She asks what will happen then and he says;
"He will be what he has to be."
That's the artistic temperament, You don't dabble, you don't play at...you "be what you have to be" and take the consequences. For some, these are too great. They think they are drivers but they end up being driven, and that's when control can be lost. The blessed are those who can make the journey and stay in control. I have friends who have succeeded in that, and I have lost others who failed.
I have to say that those I've known who get more success than most also have more problems controlling their journey. The moon is a better target than the stars.


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 30 Apr 06 - 08:21 PM

People die early in all walks of life, and sometimes that's down to how they have treated their bodies, and sometimes it's down to how their bodies have treated them.

But if they are poets or singers or performers we are more likely to hear about that then if they were plumbers or lorry-drivers or office-workers.


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: michaelr
Date: 30 Apr 06 - 08:49 PM

Situations have ended sad
Relationships have all been bad
Mine've been like Verlaine's and Rimbaud's


Many creative people have been, you might say, obsessed, or even possessed. Driven by their unique urges (demons?), most of them were ridiculed in their time (Van Gogh), and only later accorded great artist status.

It could be said that artistic creativity, like religion, is a peculiar disorder of the mind. Unlike religion, it's only destructive to the one individual.

Cheers,
Michael


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: Peter T.
Date: 30 Apr 06 - 08:56 PM

A friend of mine (who is a genius) says that her problem is that she was born with a skin too few. I can see that. I think some geniuses are what I would call exceptionally normal, and some are exceptionally abnormal.

I always thought Shakespeare was the best example of the exceptionally normal, until I reread Hamlet recently. I have changed my mind.

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: Bobert
Date: 30 Apr 06 - 09:03 PM

Well, well, well...

Ummmmmmmm? This is a difficult question, Eb... And fir folks who may not have the artist's soul what I amj going to say will make little or no sense and some might actually attack me for what I'm about to write but...

I am an artist an' other artists here in Mudville will knew what I mean when I say that being as artist is both a blessing and a curse...

Artists have a different way of processing information... Artists know instinctually what Carlos Castanada was talking about when Don Juan tells Carlos about "seeing by not seeing"... What he means is that most folks go thru life and they see what most folks see... Artists see that stuff too but artists also are always searching for stuff that the other fokls miss...

What other folks miss becomes the window for artists... Sometimes these windows are convoluted (Dali's "Clock" painting), melemcholy (Wyeth's "Girl in the Field" painting"), down right tortured (Munch's "Scream" or Picasso's "Guernica"), confuzing (anything bu Escher)...

Music, is very much the same... It's the same process... Don't do what other folks do... Don't walk where they walked... I think of Jimi Hendrix "National Anthem" as the the best example of "seein and not seeing"... He fou a way of not seeing the way the song had traditionally been played...

But there's more... Artists are kinda compuulsive because in their struggles to find order in their own lives they have to "create" order from disorder... Back to Castanada here... Artists are not all that intersted in what ordinary folks regard as the body of information... Because it is ordinary... No, they/I will mess with it because ordinary ain't what artists are... There's no order in the ordinery world for them (us)... So they/we go about tidying up the stuff that ordinary folks don't have a clue about...

I'm sure this only makes sense to those of you who are artists... Artists isn't about product... It's all about the way we look at stuff...

Duchamp probably said it best when he said that "art is shit" in desrobing the dadaist movement in that the product is just the "shit" part of the process... Like I said, this ain't about product...

Jimi Hendrix didn't do the "Star Spangled Banner" becuase he had thought it out and thought it would be a nice product... He did it becuase he had ***had*** to do it...

I think I was born an artist... In spite of startin' to paint and draw very early and then write poetry and then songs and then, and then, it really didn't sink in until I was well into my 30's but since it did, I think I have some grasp on it...

These are my thought and I reserve the right to alter them... But that's what artists do... Add... And subtract from the the obvious...

Bobert


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 01 May 06 - 05:22 AM

I respect what you are saying.

But there are different kinds of artists - like there are different kinds of farmers, and bankers.


Keats was pretty much finished by the time he was 23, and lived only a few more years - so he didn't have the luxury of waiting til he was in his 30's to gain some perspective - and the same could be said of Jimi Hendrix of course.

People like this have to work blindly with their perceptions, but without adult and middle aged maturity. And I'm not sure if artists look harder for things, or just select different things on which to concentrate. Henry Moore the sculptor used to say this thing, that picking the pebble from the beach was an artistic act - the act of selection, you pick that specific pebble.

Some artists like Alfred Wallis the Cornish fisherman painter don't begin their artistic careers til very late in life - after a lifetime spent relatively normally.

I once asked my college lecturer why John Clare ended up in the madhouse, whereas Blake (who seemed so much more mad) was allowed to live relatively quietly. And he said something very wise, namely that Blake could take care of his private business affairs whereas Clare's life was a mess.

Townes Van Zandt's great song Poncho and Lefty, when you come down to it, is about the fact that we need to show compassion not just for the fated outlaws (artists/humans) that die young, but all those fated to committ acts of betrayal in order to go on living.

maybe he was thinking of his own inevitable encounter with death when he wrote:-

All the Federales say
We could have had him any day
Only let him get away
Out of kindness I suppose

Find me a traditional (hey oop, ee by gum, it was the 20th of February)folksong with that depth of feeling, that much insight into the modern predicament. I don't think so.

all the best

big al whittle


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: Peter T.
Date: 01 May 06 - 11:00 AM

Au contraire, Keats was only just getting rolling when he died. You look at his late work, such as the "Fall of Hyperion" and you can see him shifting into a new voice, more powerful (if such is possible). He was sick unto death in his last year. We are blessed to have the Odes, but to argue that he was finished is completely wrong.

Now Wordsworth is a different kettle of fish.


yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 01 May 06 - 12:35 PM

I bow to your insights, its only what a friend (who was an expert on Romantic poetry) opined - namely that his best work was done by the time he was 23. But as I said it was no more than an opinion.

My main point was that some artists just don't live long enough, or maybe their creative powers don't sustain long enough - to reach that point of maturity and synthesis that a longer career makes possible.

Even in the world of folk music - surely you know people who one feels had something promising to contribute - but had their careers stalled, blocked , and destroyed by an unsympathetic folk establishment - and thought bugger this for a game of soldiers and opted for the steady job and the mortgage.


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: M.Ted
Date: 01 May 06 - 01:28 PM

I think that "mad" artists work in spite of, not because of, their illnesses--this is because all art requires great discipline--and if you develop that discipline, you can use to to deal with illness in the same way you use it to deal with your art form.

Or maybe its the other way around, you develop the discipline to manage your illness, and you can use it for the art, as well.


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: Ebbie
Date: 01 May 06 - 01:42 PM

That's what I was wondering, Peter T. Is there a shade, a wall, a barrier, over which the artist must peer in order to communicate with 'lesser' folk? Does the artist always feel 'different' from other people?

Bobert, thanks for a scholarly view of what is inside the artist. So tell me, did you too always feel different? If not, when did you change?


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 01 May 06 - 03:56 PM

Maybe the assumption that "creative" people are more likely to be troubled in their life, or that troubled people are more likely to be creative, is actually correct. Or maybe it's not, and it's just that while we hear the complaints of tragic poets, the tragic plumbers suffer in relative silence.

Has anyone come across any evidence one way or the other?


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: John Hardly
Date: 01 May 06 - 04:06 PM

It'd be a good question if you didn't include Elvis in the list of Townes, Hank, Parsons, etc.

It's like asking about the lives of chefs like Julia Child, Wolfgang Puck.....oh, and Ronald McDonald.

:^)


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: Peter T.
Date: 01 May 06 - 04:29 PM

Well, for what it is worth, my experience with artists is that, as I said, some of them are "exceptionally normal" -- they work far harder than everyone else, they lead fulfilling lives, and their special talent is to drive the standard stuff further than other people. The "exceptionally abnormal" people are people who are somehow able to keep stable when other abnormal people go mad or go into useless depression or whatever. They can hold together long enough to get it down. That is why some of them are kind of "bipolar" -- their editorial voice kicks in from time to time to keep the other voices from overwhelming them. How this works is mysterious: a classic example is Vincent Van Gogh. You can read his letters and marvel at his ability to bicycle along the edge of the abyss for so long.

Van Gogh is an interesting example because he also shows something that abnormal geniuses often have, which is somebody stable around them. Vincent had Theo; James Joyce had his wife Nora; and so on. There is almost always somebody to do the stability work if the artist can't do it himself or herself.

The really stunning thing is how the real artist appears. Who could predict a Picasso? Or a Keats? Or Lennon-McCartney. You just sit there with your mouth open: how do you go from "Love Me Do" to "A Day in the Life" in 4 years?

yours,

Peter T.

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 01 May 06 - 04:54 PM

I see people are chosing as examples internationally famous artists. That's part of the picture. But, not all artistry leads to such a high level of recognition or success. I consider Mississippi John Hurt a fine artist... not trying to arrange artists in Great/Near Great/Pretty Darned Good/Not half Bad/Passable levels. If you're talking about the artistic temperament, seems like you should look at the full spectrum. The self-destructive ones get all the press, just as car accidents are more likely to make the front page than a group of teenagers helping an elderly neighbor who is down on his luck.

I do believe that in some cases, the artistic (or Creative) temperament can be a saving grace, allowing a positive outlet for emotions that might otherwise be expressed in a much more destructive way.

Years ago, after struggling through a horrific marriage and long divorce and many other debilitating problems, I finally found my way forward, met a beautiful woman and married her. A friend of mine said that I wouldn't be able to write songs any more if I was happy.
I figured I risk it, though. Turns out, I write as many songs happy as I do depressed. They're just different songs. Art can be created out of joy, as much as self-destructiveness.

Just doesn't make very good "press."

Jerry


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: Don Firth
Date: 01 May 06 - 06:16 PM

This is a bit of speculation based on what I've heard some famous people, mostly actors, comedians, and musicians admit to during candid interviews.

Many performers feel themselves under intense pressure when they're performing, or especially just prior to a performance. I'm sure most of the folks here on Mudcat who perform have felt this to a degree. Nervousness? Fear of getting out there in front of a bunch of people and making a complete ass of yourself? Outright stage fright? There are even a few people who are very good at what they do, but the first time they appeared before an audience, even if the performance came off well, found the experience so downright terrifying that they never did it again. That's a horrible feeling!

In the upper echelons in the performing arts, be it pop, folk, classical, acting, comedy, whatever, a very high level of perfection is expected. For the performer, ever time can be like walking a tight-rope without a net. On top of this, I don't think there is a performer in the world, no matter how seasoned and experienced, who doesn't have at least some feelings of inadequacy before walking on stage, felling that no matter how well-rehearsed they are, they're walking into a mine field of possible screw-ups. In these interviews, many performers confessed to having a nagging feeling that they are not really as good as their audiences thought they were, and that any minute, their public is going catch on to them and their career will be over.

Most performers probably have some thoughts along this line but manage not to let it bother them too much and fairly easily rise above it. But some don't. I heard that comedian Freddie Prinz ("Chico and The Man") felt so vulnerable to the possibility of people finding out that—as he thought—he didn't really have any talent at all, that he couldn't take it and, rather than "be exposed as a phony," he committed suicide.

I suspect that this kind of feeling has a lot to do with alcoholism and drug use among performers.

As I say, just speculating.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: Bobert
Date: 01 May 06 - 06:19 PM

Ebbie,

No, haha, no... Hey, I was a kid and I thought everyone was like me... The fact I c ould draw better din't mean anything because I was only developin' skills... Skills and art are world's apart... I can teach anyone to draw but...

And in saying that it wasn't until my 30's for me to understand what being an artist was all about didn't mean that I waited until my 30's to be an artist... By then I had long ago graduated from VCU's "Painting and Printmaking" department, had had a couple one man's shows and was selling work... I also had a written hundreds of songs and poems...

But what I hadn't done, which reading Castanada helped, was organize my thoughts into what you have called the "artists temperament", or spirit, soul, psychic, mind, etc...

As fit artists being "washed up"... This is impossible... It is like saying that a left handed person is loosing his/her left-handedness... Okay, it's true that some artists "produce" less or produce stuff that is less "acceptable" but this should not be confused with the one being an artist... There are no retired artrits... Just those who have quit sharing their "shit" with others...

Bobert


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: Azizi
Date: 01 May 06 - 07:50 PM

The terms "introvert" and "extravert" may no longer be in vogue, but it seems to me that some performing artists may be introverted extraverts.

What I mean by this is that though their core being is as an introvert, when they have to perform in public, these artists have to put on an outward giving, outgoing persona. Afterwards such a performance, there is even more a need for to honor and attend to their core being. In my opinion, such individuals need periods of recuperation through silence, introspection, and aloneness. And from these periods of "recuperation", their psyche can heal from the demands that they and others put upon it. As a result of taking the time and the space [away from others] they need to 'recharge their batteries", they're energy is renewed, and creativity can flow again.

However, when these types of performing artists become successful, there is less & less time for periods of recuperation. But these alone/recuperation times are needed even more. As a consequence of not being able to be true to their soul's needs, problems will occur with these people's spirits, and there will eventually be a diminution in the quality of their creativity.

What I am saying is people-performing artists or whomever-must be true to their core nature. If they are compelled to share with others through their creative work, they should recognize that the creative process, and their own soul's needs, may demand periods of solitude and quietness. To deny this or substitute artificial means for keeping one's spirits up, is courting trouble.


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: Azizi
Date: 01 May 06 - 07:54 PM

I apologize for the typos in my post. I hope that the core meaning of that post was clear inspite of these mistakes.


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: Peace
Date: 01 May 06 - 07:55 PM

Are you so aghast can you not see I must have solitude:
When I'm in the darkness why must you intrude?
Do you know my world, do you know my cares or must I explain?
Will you let me be myself or is your love in vain?

Dylan made it rhyme.


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 01 May 06 - 08:28 PM

"Van Gogh is an interesting example because he also shows something that abnormal geniuses often have, which is somebody stable around them. Vincent had Theo.

Theo was better at business stuff, sure enough - but stable? Within days of Vincent's death Theo had competely cracked up, and was admitted to a mental hospital in a condition described as "acute maniacal excitability with megalomania and progressive general paralysis". And within six months he was dead.


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: Bobert
Date: 01 May 06 - 08:40 PM

Well, MiziAzizi, you are 100% correct and I couldn't agree with you more... Yeah, artists, just from shear demands on them, can loose the necesssary down time to be at their creative best...

Seems every time in my life where I have either sold visual art or played music for money I got screwed up and had to reload... Right now, I have two guys in my band and give them the money to split but, hey, they drive down from DC to play and gotta pay for gasoline... But, no matter, between that little matter and the few gigs I take, it works.... But...

...it drives the P-Vine nutso 'cause it keeps my artistic juices all juicey...

But back to my premise that once an' artist allways an artist... Hey, things happen that short circuit artists just as things happen that short circuit non-artists... This is going to effect product (i.e., in the words of Duchamp, "shit" but this isn't going to take one ounce of "artist" out of the artist...

Bobert


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: Amos
Date: 01 May 06 - 08:48 PM

There is nothing neurotic per se about being an artist. There is nothing neurotic per se about not being one either.

But suppressing what you see and know is a good way to crack up, too.

Bobert, as usual, is on the money.

A


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: Ebbie
Date: 01 May 06 - 09:01 PM

The reason I mentioned Elvis, John H, is that I'm casting my net wide. If Elvis had had a proper education and intelligent 'handling' who knows what the man would have been capable of. As it was, he exhibited a great many of the behaviors that I'm asking about

(By the way, it was kind of lame bringing in Ronald McDonald, doncha thnk?)

There are many different kinds of artistry but to me they all seem tied together. Music and poetry and leather carving and painting and drawing and yes, pottery making, are all different forms of creativity. It seems almost a given that if a person is talented in one of the arts that he or she is also talented in others. That was pretty well covered in a thread from a few years back.

Writers too are notoriously subject to oddnesses. I suspect that anyone who has to dig deep within themselves over and over and over is at risk. Look at Truman Capote- a tremendously talented man - who never wrote again after his biggest hit.

Thanks, Bobert. More, please!


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: Elmer Fudd
Date: 01 May 06 - 09:24 PM

I don't believe that being a tortured soul is a requirement for great art. There isn't one characterological type of artist. Some lead outwardly pedestrian lives with little evidence of inner turmoil. Some are drama queens. Some are hellishly self-destructive. Some are friggin' nutz. Many are bits and pieces of all the above.

Janis Joplin, by the way, made an attempt to go straight after she first went to San Francisco to make it as a folk singer and got strung out on speed. She returned to Port Arthur, Texas, stopped singing, shed her beat persona and tried like hell to be "normal." After a while she quit trying, headed back to San Francisco, joined Big Brother and the Holding Company, let her freak flag fly, and the rest is history.

Elmer


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: Peace
Date: 01 May 06 - 09:27 PM

I believe heroin was her substance of abuse--that and Southern Comfort.


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: Ebbie
Date: 01 May 06 - 09:32 PM

According to the documentary, Townes also tried to detoxify several times. Therw were several poignant remininsces by others. Incidentally, very early on - maybe about his first 'high' - Townes discovered and latched onto airplane glue. (Later he was asked if he was addicted to it and he said, No, that he was only stuck.)


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: Don Firth
Date: 01 May 06 - 09:37 PM

Well put, Azizi. But sometimes it's the method of recuperation that the artist chooses that can turn into a problem.

While watching "Classic Arts Showcase" on the tube a few weeks back I saw a short documentary on the great Swedish tenor, Jussi Björling. Björling's voice was like burnished silver and his musicianship was second to none. He sang at the Met a lot and was considered to be one of the few world-class tenors who was not Italian (things have changed a bit since then). His only flaw in opera was that, as rich and beautiful as his voice was, he couldn't act worth sour owl jowls. He was sometimes referred to as "the Swedisn choirboy" because he was so wooden on stage. But his recordings are marvelous. All that emotional expression goes into his voice! It's all there.

In the documentary, his widow, Anna-Lisa Björling, told how he agonized before going on stage, feeling (even after a substantial career of bravura performances) that he just wasn't good enough to be doing what he was doing and fearing that he would disappoint his audience. He found that the reception line after a performance, where people would line up to shake his hand and tell him how much they loved his singing, didn't help. It was actually torture to him because he just wanted to get out of there and get a drink. He was sober when he went on stage, but he would really pour it down afterward. His drinking really bothered his friends and relatives, but there it was.

He died young, merely 49. Heart attack before a performance at London's Covent Garden. He went on in spite of it and performed. He died about six months later of heart complications. His drinking hadn't helped his heart much.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: Peter T.
Date: 01 May 06 - 10:06 PM

McGrath, you are of course right, but Theo was, until his brother's death, pretty stable compared to his brother (and of course they obviously needed each other!). I have often wondered about Theo, he has been examined so much less than his brother.   Theo's wife was the survivor, and I would have to say, did a pretty good job of handling it.

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: Bobert
Date: 01 May 06 - 10:20 PM

Yeah, Don, another artist hung up on the product... Yeah, I think its safe to say that most of the artists who died young had the same problem...

Too bad that we just can't let artist be themselves without the monetary/worship aspect... Once that gets into the equation then the artist is not able to do his or her thing...

I mean, we can all name a lot of folks (artists) who just didn't do well after being, ahhhh, "discovered".... And the scropts, unfortunately, are all to similiar.... Escesses of_____________ to escape the demands put on them...

Hey, artists are people, too... But in this world where folks who have money (but not a clue) put dollar signs on various "products" that artists leave in their wake as if ownin' (haha) these things will make the clueless less clueless (???) it will mess jup a lot of artists...

Yeah, artists are introverts in that when they "create" (think Duchant's definition here) they rather do it by themselves... Then comes the public unvielin' of the product, then comes the worship, the money and the artist wonderin' just how the Hell he or she ended up like this...

I mean, look at Hendrix, or Joplin, or Van Gogh an' the pattern keeps reemergin' and playing itself out over and over and one thing that is a constant, it's demand for "product"... Okay, maybe Van Gogh, might be the exception but his brother was pushing him real hard so even he isn't a given exception...

Bobert


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: GUEST
Date: 01 May 06 - 10:47 PM

...these people don't save anything back for themselves at the end of the day. They slit themselves wide open from top to bottom with the most poignant blade they can find, and bleed without reservation all over their chosen medium. Sometimes what they create is divine, the result of pouring so much of themselves into a project that it's hard to tell where the artist leaves off and the art begins. They become what they create.

And when the pace becomes less frantic, away from the public eye, there is no semblance of self to retreat to - no place of solace to regroup and reassemble. All the main parts have been disassembled and reconstructed to produce something of great beauty, and what's left over is not enough to reconstitute a whole person.


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: Bobert
Date: 01 May 06 - 10:52 PM

Very good, GUEST... Very good...


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: Ebbie
Date: 01 May 06 - 10:59 PM

"And when the pace becomes less frantic, away from the public eye, there is no semblance of self to retreat to - no place of solace to regroup and reassemble. All the main parts have been disassembled and reconstructed to produce something of great beauty, and what's left over is not enough to reconstitute a whole person."

Guest, that is lovely. Alarming but lovely.


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: Once Famous
Date: 01 May 06 - 11:04 PM

A lot of silly generalizations here.


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: M.Ted
Date: 01 May 06 - 11:08 PM

True for some, not for others, GUEST--and, from what I remember, Vincent was the one who did the pushing--he was aware that he had a very limited amount of time to do the things that he wanted to do, and he pushed himself. You couldn't push anyone hard enough to turn out the amount of work he produced, and brilliant work at that.

Then you've got others--like Ellington, Quincy Jones, Chet Atkins, who do great work, both artistically and business wise, for years and and years. Or Picasso, if we're talking painters(which, when you think about it, is kind outside the scope)--


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: number 6
Date: 01 May 06 - 11:08 PM

Interesting thread Ebbie. BTW, that was an excellent documentaty on Townes, and yes very disturbing.

If Townes had become a bank manager ... imagine going to him for a mortgage or a business loan. Unfortuantely there are many people in the business and professional world who have succumbed to the 'demons'such as he has ... personally have known a Chartered Accountant who lost everything, family, house and his licence due to drugs.

One reason many artists especially musicians fall into substance abuse is the nature of the business they are in ... you are young, and you are in a world of many temptations, ... nature of the business.

sIx


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: Bobert
Date: 01 May 06 - 11:20 PM

Yeah, MTed, Vincent did push but if you'll recall there was a ceratin amount of competiveness between him and Paul Gaughan at his most "furious" period of painting....

Artists can certainly get into these little "pissin' contests", that's fir sure...


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: Azizi
Date: 01 May 06 - 11:25 PM

Yes, Guest 01 May 06 - 10:47 PM , your post is well written. But that isn't the point is it?

I have to ask- How many people are whole?

If after creating a work of great beauty, if there isn't enough left for the artist to be considered a whole person, then hopefully there is enough left to survive -with support from another or alone- day after day one foot in front of another until more of the artist's self is re-vived or re-created perhaps in some ways less than and perhaps in some ways greater but probably different than in he or she was before.

Artists {and non-artists} need to know that they don't always need to strive for perfection. Even more than non-artists, it's imporant that they learn how to be gentle with themselves.


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: beardedbruce
Date: 01 May 06 - 11:33 PM

Azizi,

"Artists {and non-artists} need to know that they don't always need to strive for perfection."

I beg to differ- artists HAVE to try for perfection, but rarely ( if ever) achieve it. If one does not have that need, one is a performer of other's creations, not a creator of art. Nothing wrong with that, but not the same thing.

IMHO, of course.


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: Azizi
Date: 01 May 06 - 11:38 PM

IMHO, "have to create" and "always have to create" are two different things.

It seems to me that rest & recuperation should be part of the creative process. If a person does not make sure he or she has that rest, then the result can be burn out.


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: beardedbruce
Date: 01 May 06 - 11:41 PM

I agree, "should be".


Given a choice between writing a sonnet when the muse is upon me, and rest&recurperation, I will write every time- until I can no longer find the page.


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: Azizi
Date: 01 May 06 - 11:43 PM

Perhaps I should have said "have to strive for perfection" and always have to be perfect" [in one's medium of art if not in the rest of one's life]are two different things.

Actually, on second thought, I mean my previous statement and this one too.


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: beardedbruce
Date: 01 May 06 - 11:45 PM

One's Art is all- Life can take care of itself. At least in terms of perfection.


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: beardedbruce
Date: 01 May 06 - 11:48 PM

Sorry, getting tired. I did not mean to be so abrupt.


I meant that one is forced by one's muse/demons/whatever to seek for perfection in one's artistic endeavors, while life must often take a back seat to it.


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: Azizi
Date: 01 May 06 - 11:49 PM

But the muse is not always with a person. And if the muse leaves for a time, that does not mean that the creative person has been abandoned or has failed to be a worthy vessel for that muse.

Maybe the time is not right. Maybe the person is supposed to focus on other things, putting the partially completed work aside and returning to it refreshed.

And maybe not.


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: beardedbruce
Date: 01 May 06 - 11:50 PM

True.


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: Azizi
Date: 01 May 06 - 11:51 PM

Truce.


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: GUEST,thurg
Date: 02 May 06 - 12:49 AM

Azizi - Point of interest: what you have called an "introverted-extrovert" I have heard called a "false-extrovert". Either way, I think it's an accurate concept.


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: Ebbie
Date: 02 May 06 - 02:10 AM

I found a fork in the road- and I'm taking it. :)

There are people in the world who for lack of drive or education or support or level of talent and skill react in what we often think of as the artistic temperament. People who are perfectionist only in their agonizing. People who have never forgiven themselves for their imperfections- and therefore cannot forgive others.

I had a brother - he died this year at the age of 72- who was like that. Most of his life he was unpleasant to be around. (I had four brothers - and three of them were great.) This one was a bully and ran roughshod over others. The best thing he ever did was not to marry or to make a long term commitment. There were times in our lives when he and I didn't speak for 10 years.

For the last 30 years or more of his life he never had a drink, mostly because when he drank he didn't know when to quit. After a couple of DWIs he stopped entirely. He smoked for 45 or more years- and developed bronchial asthma and then finally emphesema. At various times he had tried to quit smoking and chewed nicotine gum and took various kinds of stop-smoking pills. Once he said that he had to stop taking the pills in order to have a decent smoke. *g* When he finally got to the point that one drag on a cigaretted sent him into a paroxysm of coughing he quit per force.

That said, there were some things about him that were good. I remember when he was artistic - he sketched very well - I remember when he sang -in a gentle voice- and he was a good guitarist. He loved horses and dogs- the time I watched him gentle a mustang mare was an eyeopener for me. He was good with children as long as they were little and admired him unquestioningly- when they were older, he was impossible with them, abusive and harsh and they all avoided him.

So. Did this man have an "artistic temperament"?


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: GUEST,Sandy Andina
Date: 02 May 06 - 02:27 AM

Must it be an "either/or" proposition? Look at Yeats and Wallace Stevens--one made his living as a middle-management civil servant, the other as a high-echelon insurance executive; yet both devoted their energies to their art fairly late in life and ultimately achieved greatness and fame while living relatively comfortable (by "artistic" criteria) standards of living and making their way in the "mundane" world. Look at the scores of talented art, drama and music teachers who choose to make their living by passing on the torch via imparting their skills and passion to the next generation, as well as those who earn good livings as journeyman musicians. Are they any less the artists for living within conventional societal norms and not self-destructing? Must one be a tortured soul to be an artist, or is it a convenient cop-out for those artists who are troubled? And do artists have a lock on such suffering? There are perfectly sane and happy talented artists (and no, they're not hacks just because they happen to make a conventional living) and there are troubled addicted executives and members of the professions. Being bipolar or addicted or depressive is not a prerequisite for the "artistic temperament" (if indeed such a thing exists, mutually exclusive to being able to cope in societally accepted ways); neither is it something to be proud of, a special hallmark of talent nor even a badge of membership in the artistic community. It is a disability just like any other and seeking to alleviate it is no more or less desirable than a myopic person wearing corrective lenses or the motion-impaired using assistive devices such as crutches, canes or wheelchairs. What does seem to be true, though, is that since most artists' incomes are low and they don't have health insurance (at least not Stateside), self-medication with alcohol or recreational drugs--or no treatment at all--is more common. But treating it as an acceptable excuse by romanticizing it as a desirable trait rather than recognizing it as a treatable disability is a cop-out.

There are plenty of us who choose (and are lucky enough to be able to afford) to conventionally treat our mood disorders (with medications and talk therapy) and still consider ourselves artists and continue to create quality works of art.....we just don't get any press because we aren't famous and we don't self-destruct. We are no less "artistic" than those who very publicly flame out.


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: GUEST,Sandy Andina
Date: 02 May 06 - 02:48 AM

And I should add that there's plenty of self-indulgent dreck out there that passes for art just because it is the product of angst. Not everything that emerges from a tortured soul is worthy of artistic consideration (and the converse is also true). And for everyone who claims that they cannot create unless they can commune with their inner torment, there are others of us who cannot create if we cannot function. I've never been able to write worth a damn (or even write at all) when mired in despair to the point of withdrawing from the world, such as when I suffered profound postpartum depression. Right now I am coming to the end of the official "shiva" week of initial mourning for my mother (alev hasholom--rest in peace, in English). But my grief is still far too acute to be able to express creatively, and it would be premature and exploitative (and a dishonor to her in my religious/cultural tradition) were I even motivated to do so at this stage. To even entertain the thought that I might eventually turn my grief into art feels like crass sacrilege right now. It took me twenty years after his death to be able to write a song about my father. Does that make me any less of an artist?


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: Peace
Date: 02 May 06 - 09:46 AM

"...these people don't save anything back for themselves at the end of the day. They slit themselves wide open from top to bottom with the most poignant blade they can find, and bleed without reservation all over their chosen medium. Sometimes what they create is divine, the result of pouring so much of themselves into a project that it's hard to tell where the artist leaves off and the art begins. They become what they create.

And when the pace becomes less frantic, away from the public eye, there is no semblance of self to retreat to - no place of solace to regroup and reassemble. All the main parts have been disassembled and reconstructed to produce something of great beauty, and what's left over is not enough to reconstitute a whole person."

That is one of the most terribly beautiful, insightful and profound posts I have ever read on the Mudcat. I don't know you GUEST, but you are one helluva thinker/writer.


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: Elmer Fudd
Date: 02 May 06 - 10:15 AM

Beautifully stated, GUEST, May 1, 10:47. I have copied your post to my desktop.

I would only add that many few artists feel that the works of art they bleed themselves into ever measure up to their inner visions. The artists don't perceive their creations as "divine" or "works of great beauty," and that contributes to their despair and desolation.

Furthermore, many artists feel that anything of merit they create is the result of their getting out of the way and allowing the muse, divine inspiration, or whatever you wish to call it, use them as an instrument. When they do not feel so moved, when the muse is not with them, they feel isolated, depressed and worthless.

Elmer


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: Peter T.
Date: 02 May 06 - 10:25 AM

I am not sure I agree with the sentiments GUEST eloquently expressed. I think for many artists total self-expression is their way of surviving. There is certainly a period of exhaustion after the birth process, but most of the real artists I know have a period of peace just after they are done. It is when it all starts up again that they kill themselves (one friend I know killed himself because as far as I can tell he didn't want to be in the same agony all over again, when the doubts began to gather again); or when it ought to start up again, but they can't get to where they want to go. Or they discover that they only had one baby in them (that is a really bad moment).

On the other hand, I do agree with the idea that people have only so much integrating resource to work with. If it goes into the art, there is little left over for life. On a much lower level, whenever I have a paper to write, housework goes all to hell till it is done.

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: Elmer Fudd
Date: 02 May 06 - 11:06 AM

Well stated, Peter T. I agree with you too. There's no one way that it works. There's often no one way it works with one person all the time.

However, I am usually very depressed after finishing a piece. It's a feeling of throwing in the towel, of admitting defeat, of knowing there's nothing more I can possibly do to make the thing any better. It's hit the point of diminishing returns and there's not a damn thing more I can do about it.


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: M.Ted
Date: 02 May 06 - 11:31 AM

Sorry to hear about your mother, Sandy--And your brother, Ebbie. Your story about your brother's problems reminds me of this painful remembrance--Allen Ginsberg's Kaddish


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: Amos
Date: 02 May 06 - 11:53 AM

I think that perfection is not the path of wisdom for an artist, if by perfection we mean some technical standard of flawlessness. To me, the criteria of "completedness" of a work is whether or not it communicates as intended.

Not that artists don't have to strive through hell to get that to happen. The power to bring something into existence where it did not exist before can be gut-wrenching and shocking and exhausting.

A


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: sharyn
Date: 02 May 06 - 12:55 PM

A few more comments: all artists (because artists are humans) are tormented by self-doubt, fear, feelings of failure, etc. -- because all humans feel those things. Lots of humans self-medicate with drugs, food, alcohol, sexual excess, shopping, whatever, whatever.

I think what makes someone an artist is a dedication to their art: you become a writer by writing, a singer by singing, a painter by painting. Those that we call "artists" or "musicians" or "writers" have carved out a significant place in their lives for artistic expression. Some do it and have day-jobs; some don't. In some ways I think an "artistic temperment" is the tendency to put artistic expression above other things: I, myself, certainly put it above shopping, earning a living, recreational drugs, T.V. and all kinds of things I could pursue. Furthermore, when I am "working" aka doing art, I am happier, kinder and more entertaining to other members of the human race because I have connected with my truest self and purpose. But, as Bobert and others have cautioned, I need a lot of silence and solitude to do my work -- and I also need artistic collaborators and people who support my doing art and people who like to look at or listen to what I produce.

Would I be happier as a banker or a real estate agent? HELL NO. Would I be financially secure and have health insurance? Maybe. Or I might be so inept and unhappy that it wouldn't get me anywhere. Could I support more people and buy more stuff? Probably. I make my choices and live with them.

Sharyn


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: Ebbie
Date: 02 May 06 - 01:03 PM

Yikes. That poem, that 'psalm'... Brings up another thought- the artistic temperament may be derived from and nurtured by those around us, those who came before. Certainly Ginsberg's poem implies an emotional state around him that birthed him.

Unless - perhaps - we are all mad.


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: M.Ted
Date: 02 May 06 - 01:52 PM

I think that there are as many answers to this question as there are artists--Ginsberg's mother deteriorated from being functional and productive to institutionalization--I don't know if here affliction contributed to his creativity, but it did open him to the schizophrenic visions of Carl Solomon, which he framed in Howl, and it made it possible for him to sustain a friendship with Jack Kerouac, when others had abandoned him as he deteriorated into torment--


Kerouac shows, to me anyway, that the creativity is in spite of and not because of, the madness--
If you read him chronolgically, you can see his energy and vitality slowly eaten away, until, in his finally works, he is an empty shell, trying to imitate himself in better days.


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 02 May 06 - 01:56 PM

Unless - perhaps - we are all mad.

Actually I think that probably is the case. Most of us put up a pretty good front, and come across as what is counted as sane and well-balanced, but it seems to me that for most people it is a front.

Or to put it a different way, sanity is a much bigger tent than we have collectively agreed to pretend. Human beings are a pretty strange breed.


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: M.Ted
Date: 02 May 06 - 04:15 PM

A very disturbing comment, considering that it is coming from one who has been the voice of reason here for years;-)


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: kendall
Date: 02 May 06 - 04:32 PM

Some famous person was asked "Why do you sing?" answer, "Because I have to." Can't remember the friggin' name.

I've known people who are driven to perform just as a rat is driven to gnaw. They suffer terrible pain if they don't.

In the case of Hank Williams and others, they have to perform and they have to drive themselves beyond what any normal person can take, so it's booze and drugs to keep them on their feet.
It's like long haul truckers high on "goof balls" to over ride their need for sleep.


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: number 6
Date: 02 May 06 - 04:50 PM

The artist is no diferent than the non-artists. In their chosen (or in some cases non-chosen) professions they present their inner-selves to the world. The image of the tormented artist can be found behind the pin-stripe suit or the uniform of a nurse. They happen to expose them selves in their work, and they reveal to the world what the rest of us hide. Some are drunks, some of us have mental problems and some of us are reasonably balanced.

Kendal is correct ... some of them are driven to peform, as many people are driven to work whether it be an illusive strive for some illusion of perfection that they have to obtain.

sIx


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: GUEST
Date: 02 May 06 - 04:59 PM

There is an artistic temperment. Intensely creative people do focus very narrowly on their art and it's medium. They often perceive things differently than ordinary mortals which allows them to put things together in unusual ways. They can be very high energy, driven individuals. This narrow intense focus and involvement with their art often gets in the way of relationships and those around them feel neglected and misunderstood.


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: John Hardly
Date: 02 May 06 - 05:12 PM

Truth is, I think that there's a word that's useful in regards to understanding the "artistic temperament" (as referred to in this discussion). The word is "sensual". It's not that artistic people are more sensual -- it's that sensual people are more drawn to the arts.

Those who can't as easily control their drive for sensory stimulation are only inclined toward the type of discipline that will afford them more stimulation in the practicing.

They don't do drugs because they are tortured artists. The do drugs because they are driven by their sensual nature. The drugs make their lives tortured.


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: melodeonboy
Date: 02 May 06 - 05:23 PM

Not that I completely understand its significance, but I was told that art is supposed to challenge and question the status quo. If this is the case, does this not make life more stressful for the artist than, say, the plumber (who was mentioned before), who might well eat, drink, watch and listen to only that to which he's been "guided" by mainstream culture.

His main concern might well be how early he can get to the pub or when he'll be able to afford a plasma screen. Ideally, wouldn't the artist have far more difficult questions to answer inside his own head? And isn't this both stressful and energy-draining?

And at the risk of asking my grandmother if she knows how to suck eggs, can I direct those of you who haven't heard it to "Broken Angel" by Lucinda Williams? It's a song about Townes van Zandt.


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: Peace
Date: 02 May 06 - 05:38 PM

A movie that captured one aspect of 'the artist' was based on a book by Joyce Cary: "The Horse's Mouth". I think it is my favourite movie of all time. Alec Guinness is the character, Mr Jimson, a name alluding to the weed which can be deadly. The portrayal of an artist driven by the need to create his art is a tremendous piece of acting by a tremendous actor. It does indeed touch on one facet of 'the artist'.


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: number 6
Date: 02 May 06 - 05:49 PM

"it's that sensual people are more drawn to the arts."

.... true John. If these people don't become artitsts, then they are the ones who are very creative in whatever they do. And as Guest stated they perceive things differently. Creativity, just doesn't pertain to 'the arts'. Take a look around where you are sitting, literally everything you see has been 'created' by a human being.

John (again) Your Right on with this statement .."They don't do drugs because they are tortured artists. The do drugs because they are driven by their sensual nature. The drugs make their lives tortured."

sIx


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 02 May 06 - 05:54 PM

art is supposed to challenge and question the status quo

It'd be easy enough to come out with a whole list of artists and artistes in all types of creative arts over the centuries in respect of which it'd be more accurate to say they set out to celebrate and affirm some aspect of the status quo.

And for a whole lot more they wouldn't have seen the questioning or affirming the status quo as something of significance in their creative work.

Artists vary. So does the status quo.

And when it comes to challenging the status quo, revolutionaries have been as likely to come from the ranks of plumbers and the like as from the ranks of poets and artists.

And sometimes from both at the same time. If there's one thing that folk music represents, it's the truth that ordinary people doing ordinary jobs can create works of beauty and meaning.
And for a whole lopt more

It all depends on the artist. And it also depends on the status quo.


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 02 May 06 - 06:08 PM

art is supposed to challenge and question the status quo

It'd be easy enough to come out with a whole list of artists and artistes in all types of creative arts over the centuries in respect of which it'd be more accurate to say they set out to celebrate and affirm some aspect of the status quo.
And for a whole lot more they wouldn't have seen the questioning or affirming the status quo as something of significance in their creative work.

Artists vary. So does the status quo.

And when it comes to challenging the status quo, revolutionaries have been as likely to come from the ranks of plumbers and the like as from the ranks of poets and artists.

And sometimes from both at the same time. If there's one thing that folk music represents, it's the truth that ordinary people doing ordinary jobs can create works of beauty and meaning.


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: Elmer Fudd
Date: 02 May 06 - 07:17 PM

A day late and a dollar short, re: Janis Joplin's "drug of choice:" she became addicted to speed during her first trip to SF in '63 to make it as a folk singer. Chet Helms and her friends helped her get back to Port Arthur to clean up. It was during that time that she renounced her art and tried to go straight in all senses of the word. Wore her hair in a bun, and tried to look and act "normal."

Didn't work. JJ returned to SF in '66. She started shooting smack and hitting the Southern Comfort hard during that second phase, while singing with Big Brother and the Holding Co.

Abbreviated confirmation at:

JJ's attempt to go straight


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: Peace
Date: 02 May 06 - 07:23 PM

No confirmation needed, Elmer. I wasn't aware of that. Your word's good enough for me. Sorry, I thought you'd got the drug confused.


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: GUEST
Date: 02 May 06 - 07:37 PM

Lucinda Williams' song "Drunken Angel" is about Townes Van Zandt? ...learn something new every day.


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: Elmer Fudd
Date: 02 May 06 - 08:49 PM

Hey, no sweatsky. Rapaire created a monster when he taught me how to blickify, so I jest haaad to reference a website in the JJ post! : > )

E.


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: Peace
Date: 03 May 06 - 10:21 AM

I think Bill D was my Dr Frankenstein. He taught me amidst wails of protest from lotsa people.


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: Peter T.
Date: 03 May 06 - 10:40 AM

"The Horse's Mouth" is a brilliant book about obsessive artistry. The film isn't nearly as good -- it doesn't have the visionary spaciness of the book (though Guinness is of course great).

I have to agree that after finishing something there can be a let down, especially if you are a perfectionist. As Auden said, poems aren't finished, they are abandoned.

The interesting thing about some artists -- Matisse is a good example -- is that they decided sometime early on that the way to solve problems was to work through them. Many other artists seem to have agonies in their heads, they seem to need to get it all worked out before they hit the canvas or the page. The saner ones seem to have learned to work it out by working it out. Goethe is another example.   It certainly explains their greater output: there are so many artists who sweat to do one thing. And the others who just keep working out as they go. Neither is better, but the latter sure seem to be happier.

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: Elmer Fudd
Date: 03 May 06 - 12:30 PM

Interesting observation, Peter. Perhaps you are describing artists whose messy mental/emotional processes take place in their media instead of in their heads. da Vinci seems to have been particularly fearless in that regard. He was not afraid to walk away from a piece and leave it unfinished if he got interested in something else, come back to it later, or just leave it dangling, sketch-marks exposed, for posterity.

I suppose that would be difficult to undertake in an unforgiving medium, such as stone-carving, though.

E.


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: Don Firth
Date: 03 May 06 - 01:29 PM

Lest we go totally off the rails here, not all artists are "tortured souls." In fact, it's fairly evident that the vast majority of artists (using the term "artist" in the broadest sense:   painters, sculptors, other visual artists, singers, musicians, composers, conductors, writers, poets, actors, the whole schemer) are reasonably well-adjusted people, at least as well-adjusted as most people are.

One can make up a substantial list of artists who have mental or emotional problems (without necessarily qualifying as "insane") or who managed to do themselves in in an irrational manner, such as Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jussi Björling, Townes Van Zandt, Hank Williams, Vincent Van Gogh, and the rest. But if you were to break down the various categories of occupations, I'm not really sure that you would find more artists meeting this kind of end than you would find business executives succumbing to the ravages of the three-martini lunch, stock brokers dying from illnesses brought on by stress, or computer programmers eventually snorting themselves into oblivion.

It may be that some artists are tortured souls for reasons other than being in the Arts. Take Beethoven, for example. A recent documentary on PBS said that there is evidence (forensic analysis of strands of Beethoven's hair taken from a lock of his hair at the Beethoven museum) that he suffered from nerve damage from lead-poisoning, which may have had much to do with his chronic illnesses and difficult personality, and was also quite probably the ultimate cause of his deafness. Imagine a musician of Beethoven's caliber noticing that he's going deaf! That, I would say, is ample cause for him to be disturbed, and even though it interfered directly with his music, his musical bent per se was not necessarily the problem.

In contrast to the "tortured soul," I know personally many singers of folk songs, a lead guitarist in a well-known Canadian rock group, a recently retired opera singer (I went to high school with her before she hit it big), and a best-selling science fiction writer (some of these people have names you'd recognize) who are all pretty darned happy people, just tickled pink that they're able to make a good living doing what they love to do.

Sylvia Plath committed suicide. But how many poets are there who have led relatively contented lives? Ernest Hemingway drank like a fish and eventually blew his brains out. But you can easily name a long list of famous writers who did not.

My wife, Barbara, who is a writer and poet, gets pretty tweaked at the idea that you have to be nuts to be truly creative, and I agree with her. We both feel that artists with emotional problems are creative despite their emotional problems rather than because of them. Or at the very least, their emotional problems and their creativity are concurrent characteristics, rather than having a causality relationship. It may be that the stresses of trying to make it as an artist aggravate their problem, but rather than being a necessity for their artistry, it more than likely tends to interfere with it.

I really think the "disturbed artist" is one of these stereotypes that has enough actual examples to make a lot of people think that this is the rule. Consider the number of artists who show no particular signs of mental problems and whom most psychiatrists would declare perfectly normal (at least within "normal" parameters). I think we notice these people more because a) they are the exception rather than the rule, and b) they're usually relatively famous.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: melodeonboy
Date: 03 May 06 - 02:41 PM

Yes, Guest, a correction is in order.

"Drunken Angel" was not written about Townes van Zandt. It was written FOR Townes van Zandt but ABOUT Blaze Foley.

(My suspicion is that you knew this anyway but were a little too self-satisfied to correct it yourself!)


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: Peter T.
Date: 03 May 06 - 04:41 PM

I don't know about stone-carving, Michelangelo seems to have worked things out in stone as he went along. Rodin too.

I think it is hard to generalise about "artists" as a big category. But there is something about the "supreme" artists that does make me think that there is a pretty clear dichotomy between the supremely serene ones (Shakespeare, Goethe, Titian) and the supremely tormented ones (Van Gogh, Caravaggio, Dostoyevsky).   It is as if one group is like God enjoying his work, and the other is like Satan, fighting it all the way down into Hell.

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: John Hardly
Date: 04 May 06 - 10:54 AM

And then there's the artist who inflicts his pain onto others -- like Thomas Kinkaide


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: GUEST
Date: 04 May 06 - 12:47 PM

no melodeonboy .. I learn something new every day ... so Drunken Angel was written for Townes about Blaze ... got it. ;-) ... best to you.


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: hesperis
Date: 04 May 06 - 12:49 PM

I have to agree with the "introvert-extravert" personality as being real. I've taken the Myers-Briggs test quite a few times through employment agencies and it's different every time but always REALLY close to the other result.

I really do need to be social sometimes and totally not social at others. Sometimes socialness recharges me and then after that I have to be completely alone to recharge. Sometimes I recharge in the middle of a social situation and suddenly turn off and withdraw internally even though I was really enjoying hanging with my friends. And if I don't do enough of either, I suffer and my art suffers.

But isn't everyone like that to some degree? Even introverts have friends... I do know more extraverts who have a fear of being alone than I know introverts who have a fear of not being alone.

Perhaps introversion and extraversion relate to art in that certain arts are more suited to certain temperaments.

Drug use is often a matter of emotional wounding though, or of undiagnosed biological mental health issues that keep on inflicting wounds greater than the psyche can handle. If you haven't had emotional support to deal with the pressures of fame and certain temptations, you're going to crack up under those pressures - but only if you also have an internal vaccuum.

A lot of people involved in art don't realize that kind of drug use degrades the quality of the art drastically. There's a culture of "use this to be better, faster, more loved" which is frankly counter-productive. But that culture is in every human endeavour, art is not alone in that.

Why is it that some make it and some crack? Perhaps it is that the tools they have available to maintain emotional health are only pills or powders and are not their own attitudes and beliefs.

Because yes, it's painful to aim for the stars and always fall short... as an artist, the internal vision is always so much better than the created result. You can get closer, you can enjoy the process of crafting something closer to the original aim each time... but as humans we will always fall short of the truly divine. That is the tragedy of art itself, of humanity itself. It must be accepted as not being a personal failure.

It is our nature to fail to be truly divine, and the struggle against that, even while failing, is what makes greatness.


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: Leadfingers
Date: 04 May 06 - 02:13 PM

Personally , my artistic temperament is assuaged by getting the odd 100th post !


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: Leadfingers
Date: 04 May 06 - 02:17 PM

Like this !!


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: melodeonboy
Date: 04 May 06 - 03:13 PM

Sorry for my shirty response, Guest. I thought you were one of the Mudcat clever dicks (of which there are many!).

TTFN


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: Elmer Fudd
Date: 04 May 06 - 04:45 PM

Peter T., how do you know that Rodin and Michelangelo improvised as they sculpted? This is a sincere question. I am interested. Rodin made many models before undertaking a final work, at least in the case of major sculptures, such as "Homage to Balzac" and "The Burghurs of Calais." Michelangelo believed that he was a freeing an image that was already present in its entirety within the stone; his task was to chip away the excess in which it was imprisoned.

Regarding perfectionism, I can only speak from my own experience. The inspirations for artistic works: images in the mind's eye, and the thoughts and emotions that demand outward expression, are never adequately replicated in concrete form in songs, musical compositions, artworks, or pieces of writing. The work of art never lives up to the inner experience that nudged it into existence. In that sense, it always feels like a failure.

Such is the conundrum of human life. We are matter and spirit. In my opinion, how we integrate these seemingly opposite values (or don't) is part of the essential challenge of our species.

Elmer


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: GUEST
Date: 05 May 06 - 01:58 PM

wow ~sirepseh~ very insightful ...


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: Elmer Fudd
Date: 05 May 06 - 08:29 PM

Hesperis, I just saw that you expressed the same sentiment, only more articulately. Apologies. Brain cells on overload, or self-absorption, to be more honest about it.

E.


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: GUEST
Date: 05 May 06 - 08:48 PM

- Or perhaps you both are on the same frequency?


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: Elmer Fudd
Date: 05 May 06 - 09:23 PM

I wouldn't wish my frequency, or infrequency, on anybody.


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 05 May 06 - 09:38 PM

I can only speak from my own experience.

Exactly so. That doesn't in any way invalidate anything you say, of course. But personal insight is personal, and persons vary, creative persons no less than everyone else.


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: hesperis
Date: 06 May 06 - 03:41 AM

Elmer Fudd:

*Differently* articulately. (Ack, grammar!)

I enjoyed reading your personal response to the eternal conundrum as much as I enjoyed writing mine.


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: Peter T.
Date: 06 May 06 - 07:39 AM

I think one can see from Michelangelo's sketches, and the process of various monuments like the Medici tombs, and the strange emergence of the last works more or less like a cloud forming, that Michelangelo did draft as he went. The Platonic "it was there all the time" was, I think, more for popular consumption. Like most sculptors of my experience, he was a problem solver -- stone has its quirks too.

I don't think, personally, that all art works are failures that didn't match the original impulse. Often they are better!!!

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: John Hardly
Date: 06 May 06 - 09:38 AM

"I don't think, personally, that all art works are failures that didn't match the original impulse. Often they are better!!!"

amen.


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: Elmer Fudd
Date: 06 May 06 - 09:02 PM

Thanks for explaining the thinking behind your statements about Michelangelo, Peter T. Perhaps he believed both in a form existant within the stone, and in his personal ability to problem-solve the best way to coax it forth. He lived in deeply religious-philosophical times. If only we could ask him!

An unmanifested idea and $1.50 gets a cup of coffee. No matter how brilliant the inspiration, it's a whole lot of nothing unless the artist brings it forth into some sort of being, whether or not he/she feels it matches up to the original idea.

Coleridge and his "Xanadu" is a cautionary tale in that regard--also one about artists and drug use to stimulate the muse!

Hesperis, by your description I suppose I am mostly an introvert, needing to be alone to create most of the time and cranky as hell when interrupted. However, if I stay isolated too long with "a head full of ideas that are driving me insane," it is counterproductive to creativity. Interaction with people more balanced than I, some fresh air, the stimulation of a rich, multifarious universe outside my gnarly, overloaded brain offers stimulation, inspiration, and often deep relief.

Elmer


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: Peter T.
Date: 06 May 06 - 10:10 PM

"If the portion that's divine has well conceived
the face and gestures of someone, then through that
double power, and with a short lived lowly model,
he can give life to stone, which is beyond craft's power"

Michelangelo, one of his sonnets.

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: Elmer Fudd
Date: 06 May 06 - 11:14 PM

Ah! Many thanks. The man sure could turn a phrase along with a chisel.

I had no idea that "the image within the stone" was in Greek philosophy; I was always under the impression that it was Michelangelo's personal experience.

This discussion brings up another aspect of the artistic temperament: artists commonly attach psychological and mystical significance and/or fetishistic beliefs to their media.

Sometimes these are personal totems: Musicians feel certain instruments have magic. Painters often have strong personal associations with specific colors and pigments and sculptors speak of emanations coming from different woods and stones.

In other cases they are cultural traditions. Some cultures find gender in stones used for sculptures, using male stones for carving male subjects and female stones for carving women and goddesses. Tibetan painters call their brushes mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, etc., and a ruler is called the guru because it guides the artist in the straight path.

Elmer


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: Peter T.
Date: 07 May 06 - 02:19 PM

"I gave her gifts of the mind, I gave her the secret sign
That's known by artists who have known
the gods of sound and stone....."

-- Raglan Road.

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: Elmer Fudd
Date: 07 May 06 - 03:34 PM

It would be a mistake to ascribe this creative power to an inborn talent. In art, the genius creator is not just a gifted being, but a person who has succeeded in arranging for their appointed end, a complex of activities, of which the work is the outcome. The artist begins with a vision -- a creative operation requiring an effort. Creativity takes courage.
                                                                   - Henri Matisse

Lord, let me always desire more then I think I can do.
                                                                   - Michelangelo

I've decided, I'm going to feed every little addiction and silently go mad 'cause right now my writing sucks.
                           - Zaffel (whose authorship seems to be recognized mainly for this quote)


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: Don Firth
Date: 07 May 06 - 08:58 PM

"Of course, perfection is (probably) not to be expected in this world, but that ought not to become an excuse for not vigorously pursuing it."

            —Classical guitar virtuoso Eduardo Fernandez in the "Introduction" of his manual Technique, Mechanism, Learning.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 08 May 06 - 08:43 PM

and even if you no longer have the will to pursue it vigorously. keep gigging. it will give you something to talk about on mudcat. and us mediocre ones are the people in need of reassurance, love and completely unwarranted praise.

we may not be good, but we are artistic.


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: alanabit
Date: 09 May 06 - 05:32 PM

I have been reading this thread with interest and wondering whether or not to pose the question of whether "artistic temperament" is just an excuse for bad behaviour.
In reply to WLD's point, I think we all have to do the best we can and try to be good. Particularly in the case of performers, we can all possibly move somebody in a way that they get something from us, which they can't get from anyone else. By many people's criteria, I might not be any "good". However, as long as I can give people an experience, which is in some way unique, I reckon it is worth keeping at it.


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: Elmer Fudd
Date: 09 May 06 - 07:25 PM

One of the points many have made here is that there is not one, stereotypical artistic temperament. There are plenty of even-tempered, plodding geniuses as well as histrionic drama queens, along with a wide range of other behaviors. But yeah, in the arts there always seem to be a certain amount of people lurking around who are more interested in dressing and acting bohemian than in having to actually (gulp) work at their craft.

What people deem to be excellence in the arts is subjective. And artists are often their own nastiest critics. In my experience, the better they are, the harsher their judgements of their work.

For instance, "mediocre" is not an adjective I've heard others apply to your music, WLD.

Elmer


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 09 May 06 - 07:51 PM

some nights, mediocre would be high praise. some places just bring out the darnright bad in me!

I think part of bitterness that often been detected (and resented) in my communications on the mudcat is the fact that I've always had to play tough gigs for a living. In fact I think most folk music that doesn't have that seasoning that comes from tough audiences is hardly worth the name folk music and comes out as impossibly twee.

Occasionally of course you don't want to fight for your audiences attention, but there is something very insipid about those artists (so beloved of our current crop of folk djs in England)who have always been able to take devoted fans as a given.

Most of us who live in the real unsubsidised world of professional musicianing fight hard for the self respect that the world is very slow to give us. This can be mistaken for arrogance.


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: Elmer Fudd
Date: 09 May 06 - 08:00 PM

Heavy rejection of one sort or another is endemic to the arts. It tend to render many of us just a titch grouchy and jaundiced as the years roll by, in private if nowhere else.

I know whereof I speak.

E.


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: Ebbie
Date: 09 May 06 - 09:02 PM

I haven't been posting much this last while but I really enjoy the exploratory tone of this thread. Thanks.

To toss a crumb to follow, here's a thought:

You know how they say that many of us go into professions that we ourselves need? As in psychiatry- - the practictioner wants to understand her or himself better so s/he studies it and gets a degree in it and practices the profession.

Taking that premise to be true, what is it that the artist is trying to express or to learn or to expose or to hide?


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: GUEST
Date: 09 May 06 - 09:14 PM

...him/herself.


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: Elmer Fudd
Date: 09 May 06 - 11:02 PM

Been pondering your question, Ebbie. It's one for which there is probably a different answer, or a variation on a few basic themes, for each person. I'd be interested in knowing why you make music and engage in your creative pursuits. You must have been thinking about it to post the question.

Also, the answers, if honest, would undoubedly be quite self-revelatory. So I'll be the first (actually the second; someone else took the plunge under the anonymity of the "Guest" handle) to jump off that bridge:

I create because deep down under all the layers of societal niceties I perceive myself as essentially flawed, ugly, and not quite worthy of the title, "human." Ultimately, I try to create things of beauty and harmony because those qualities are so opposite to the way I feel about myself.

Elmer


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: Elmer Fudd
Date: 10 May 06 - 08:31 PM

Whoopa. Was the above too dark an act to follow?

Not to worry. To all but those very few who know me best I am reasonably sane and emotionally de-clawed. It is only the deep cover of the internet that elicits such raw confessions to strangers.

Why do you create music/songs/art/ writing/performances/whatever?

E.


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: Ebbie
Date: 10 May 06 - 08:31 PM

I tend to think that we each exist in multiple layers. You may think, Elmer, that you are trying to compensate for your utterly unredeemed self. But higher - or lower - than that level may be another one that says that you are among the enlightened ones who are here to show us the way. *G*

The reason I say that is because there are times when I think that I'm talented and creative and wise beyond my years (now that I'm 'older', that one is hard to put into the equation. *G*). On the other hand I sometimes KNOW that I'm substandard and barely functioning above the 'trainable' level. And that everyone else has known that about me all along. *G*

So which is true? Probably neither one.


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: Elmer Fudd
Date: 10 May 06 - 08:49 PM

Looks like we were cross-posting, Ebbie. I didn't say my self-perceptions are the Truth with a capital "T," but, for better or worse, they are personal banshees that drive my creative motor.

Entire religions are based upon the notion that all humankind possesses an essential flaw. We certainly live in a society that screams at us that we're not complete unless we buy this or that material thing, from mouthwash to cars, to make us happy and whole.

To get lofty about it all once again, I think it comes down to the human conundrum of integrating spirit into matter--of expressing our glorious, most beautiful visions through our clumsy, ache-y, aging, endlessly annoying if not downright miserable bodies and this veil of tears we live in.

As Gully Jimson said so eloquently in "The Horse's Mouth" by Joyce Carey,

"When it's raining shitstones, art is your only umbrella."

: > ) Elmer


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Subject: RE: The 'Artistic' Temperament-
From: Peter T.
Date: 10 May 06 - 11:04 PM

I think it was said here before, but it seems to me that a lot of artists are trying to create a wholeness or fix something in their artistic life that was broken, or won't mend in real life.   But some people (Picasso again) seem to be just playing for the love of it.


yours,

Peter T.


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