MENTAL HEALTH IN THE ARTS
What keeps an artist up at night?
Musician and artist LEE HAYES:
"We are consumed by our anxieties. If we don't share, we get full and explode. So, we invite others to share from our plate. Not so that they are consumed, but so they may have a taste...of the bitter...the sweet...the blood...the anguish...the overwhelming joy that we are so afraid to lose. As artists, we cannot exist without that which we love so much and are afraid to lose nor without that which we cannot bear to live with or live with alone." - Lee Hayes
For a musician like Lee, a person that produces original and creative content, this is integral part of the process of creation.
Throughout artistic history, it's commonly known that artists feed on the invisible notions and wide scope of emotion that is offered up to us. Without tapping that divide, can we create effective work? It's the invisible detective work that seems to spark the best work.
The down side: To experience pure joy, you must also accept the opposing force, sorrow. The ying and yang always arrive together, one cannot exist without the other, so the artist must be able to consume & digest the poison along with the sweet fruit. Opening up to possibilities means welcoming both disappointment AND success and the outcome isn't known until that trail is blazed. Art is the one great exploration of the human condition that is present without immediate physical risk. The risk is all in the mental health, but the reward is immeasurable and incredible when the trail leads to a private oasis that you can invite your friends & loved ones to enjoy along with you.
O B S E S S I V E - C O M P U L S I V E
Orphan fish bones with oars so they could propel themselves forward. Middle of the night madness that ended up consuming me for months…that's all I could produce. I designed t shirts, I painted a mural, several canvas'...I sketched it in four different mediums and thought about damn Oar-Fins for days on end …"
madness…almost like those crazy mountains in the movie Close Encounters… yet not one of the pieces has ever shown up in a gallery or landed a worthy sale, but everyone loves it, and some even understand it and appreciate it." - Erin Thomas
The national discussion on mental health and gun violence may be inadvertently adding to the stigma that mental health issues are at the forefront of community-wide problems, and in turn, inadvertently feeding the public perception that artistic skill is less valuable a commodity in a bad economy.
The artists know…. they know, that their own personal battles and quests are anything but threatening to others, and that they are in fact, the solutions…artists and creative exploration are more likely to improve on a community than destroy it, making it more beautiful, inventive, accepting, intelligent, and community-minded. Supporting the arts as well as de-stigmatizing mental health care and representing unique qualities in a brain as the beautiful gifts they are, can only benefit our communities and grow us into a more accepting and exceptional cultural superpower that could take down our current money-war-money-war pattern...and if that's not a possibility, what are we getting up, or staying up, for?
Art, Culture, Unity and Soul