Wednesday, September 21, 2011

do we dare to dream?

so ...
time i think for another bi polar post
(not a rant i hasten to add)

bipolar and its effects on art

the first and most direct effect of bipolar on art is i think we can all agree is

this is a topic that comes up fairly frequently and is one that has most artists/creative types at logger heads
with their Dr's/Psychiatrist

most artists will tell you that they feel the medication will hamper the creative process and significantly impair if not  kill inspiration,
in general they reach this conclusion through observing other artists both on and off meds and their resulting pieces,
by talking to other artists and asking how they feel it effects their art
and of course through personal experience

most psychiatrists will tell you that they do not think medication harms the production of art in any way
many going even further and laying claim to it improving the process
they come to this conclusion by ... well most of them don't say
some of them cite working with many other artists and claim they continue to paint successfully

i think some of this disparity of view comes from the difference between technical proficiency and inspiration
(most psychiatrists don't seem to know there is a difference)

whilst meds
(so long as they are not to zombie extent) 
do not actually impair the technical ability to paint a proficient piece
(what i call the pretty paintings)
there is in our eyes a huge difference between
a pretty well executed painting
a painting filled with inspiration
one that has the ability to speak to you ,
not in a psychotic way of commanding you to burn burn burn, but in the manner of being able to evoke a strong emotional reaction with in the viewer

another less explored effect bipolar has on art and one that i think affects me the most
comes from the training
to guard against mood swings

from a very early point in diagnosis we are taught manic highs bad, (lots of fun but very very bad)
euphoria = danger
delusions of grandeur = the evil of all evils
(allow your self to succumb to it and chances are you'll be deciding to fly off the nearest tall building, because hey you can do anything )

along with struggling to keep the lows in tight reign we are also taught that its imperative to keep just as tight reign (if not tighter) on the highs
after all lose control of a low and you might end up dead
lose control of a high however and the results can be far more wide ranging and dire,
destroying the lives of those you care about,
landing you in jail,
life savings blown,
and so on

were taught that one of the warning signs of an approaching high is over confidence,
the belief that we have the ability,
skill set to do things which we are not in actual fact capable of doing.
it is emphasised time and time again,
drummed into us that we must on no account give in to this.
in effect we are
into continually questioning our own abilities and if they are merely a perceived delusion or an actual ability  

which for a lot of things is a fairly good tactic

carpentry for instance
can be quickly decided between delusion or ability
by the amount of blood resulting in constructing a piece of furniture,
if it stands to the test of time,
and if the resulting furniture is safe
(sharp exposed nail and chances are your within the realms of delusion rather than ability)
where as flying
can be fairly easily written off as a delusion

art however is subjective,
success does not necessarily come with talent,
(in large most success is achieved through p.r or knowing the right folk)
many with out talent can be highly successful
if they move in the right circles
and many with huge amounts of talent never manage to achieve success in their own life time

so how do you actually distinguish from delusion or talent ... dare you dream that you are actually any good? or must you guard against delusions of grandeur?

well no as mentioned lost of crappy talentless paintings sell, often for large amounts of money

people telling us they like what we paint?
nope because folk are often surprisingly kind, biased, or feel as though your so lacking in self confidence so much they need to boost it for you. besides they might be as delusional as we are..
(not to mention the flip side of that folk can also be amazing cruel, jealous or just mean spirited)

can we boil it down to figures?
if we can produce that which around three quarters of folk can not... does that equate to talent?
not really because some of the three quarters might be so full of self doubt they don't try there by messing with the figures,and even if you can produce something others cant how do you tell the difference between mediocrity and true talent?

whether we have talent or not we are left in this limbo of hoping we have talent but not daring to dream and take it to the next level in case its just dangerouse delusions of grandeur

how does depression affect your creative spirit?

and do you find treatment enhances your creativity or impairs it ?

on an interesting side note...
(if you have read my blog before)
have seen me comment on the possibility of a link between thyroid/adrenal glands and bipolar

given that since the mass's turned up there has been a huge decrease of my bipolar
both in severity and frequency,
i think it may also bear pointing out that there has also been a decrease in inspiration
not a cessation merely a huge decrease


  1. interesting post - thanks for sharing your thoughts. I just started painting. I have been writing since I was a young girl though and depression actually fuels my creativity - go figure...

  2. depression has long been linked to creativity, now if we could just come up with a treatment plan that didnt hamper it ;-)

  3. yes, interesting post...
    however, whoever said "la vie ne devrait pas etre si dure pour les lievres blancs" avait raison...sauf que desfois ce sont les lievres eux-memes that sometimes make it more difficult than it should be
    Y'know...sometimes a compliment about a drawing could mean a person just liked the colours and the lines and overlooked looking at the whole composition - just speaking from personal experience #for what it's worth#

  4. do you like what you paint when you aren't manic?

  5. i personally prefer the paintings i produce in a depressed state though most other people seem to prefer the manic paintings