Showing posts with label Happiness. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Happiness. Show all posts

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Art vs. Real Life - Being a "Creative Person" Is a Bad Excuse

For artists there seem to the two worlds: the world of art and "real life". While it might be legitimate to enjoy the former more than the latter it's dangerous to neglect one's everyday duties and responsibilities ...

If you don't care about anything else than your art,
you're destroying your own life and that of your loved ones.

Sometimes artists seem to live in another world. Here are all the hustles, daily needs and responsibilities - and there is that world of beauty and imagination. There is that world of creativity and endless possibilities. That world without limits.

We tend to glorify that world. But is there really no danger in it?

Thursday, September 6, 2018

What Is the Purpose of Art?

There are many people out there who believe art to be useless. And, on the surface, it is. However, in truth, it is one of the most important forces driving individuals and whole societies to become better versions of themselves ...

Art may not save lives in a biological sense, but it does save souls.

There are professions people respect more than others. There are people who save human lives, and there are people who just shove piles of paper across their desks. There are people who help other people to live a happy life, and there are people who work solely for the goal of making money.

And there also are artists. What do they do?

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Art and Self-Confidence - Feeling Your Art Is Garbage

A man's praise in his own mouth stinks? But what if your art actually is good? Artists often tend to be overly self-critical and lose sight of reality ...

Self-criticism is a core requirement for being a good artist.

Sometimes when looking at one's own art it does feel great. Yet more often than not, we tend to be overly self-critical and see our weaknesses rather than our strengths. Nikolai Gogol, for example, one of the greatest writers of Russian literature, is known for burning his manuscripts, including the sequel to his famous novel Dead Souls.

In my experience so far, most artists face this struggle, be it writers, painters, musicians ...

So what can we do about it?

Thursday, May 3, 2018

What Is Artistic Success?

There isn't only one way to be successful as an artist. Even though making a living through one's art and getting praise seems like a universal ideal, it is not. So what is your definition of artistic success? Here are some thoughts ...

Chaliapin was an extremely successful opera singer. And for a reason!
He indeed was very talented and had a beautiful voice.

There are artists and artists. Some are considered successful, but in reality are unhappy. Some are unknown, but happy. Some can pay their bills from what they earn. Some don't earn anything. Some dream of worldwide fame, but never get it. Some don't even think about getting famous, but they get "discovered". Some have talent, others not really. Some love their art, others think it's never good enough.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

The Portrayal of Men in Media

What our culture defines as masculine hurts: If a man fails at being that perfect, invincible hero, he's a loser. Shouldn't we creative people help finding new heroes and role models?

A "real" man is the shining hero, the dragon slayer who never wavers,
always able to overcome even the hardest difficulties. This needs to change.

It is very common nowadays to see women as the misrepresented gender. And I can't argue with that. Being a woman myself, I do perceive issues with the portrayal of women in media.

However, having an egalitarian mindset, I can't look past the simple fact that patriarchy suppresses both genders. In different ways, yes, but both genders suffer. And while much has changed for women in the past decades little was done for men.

No, Men Do Not Have the Same Rights


Sure, the portrayal of women in media is still far from ideal. But we do talk about the issue. Much. We have a discussion. And sometimes we even have shitstorms.

But as for men ... With the old ideals being questioned nobody seems to even know what it means to be a man anymore. As a woman, you can choose how to live your life when it comes to career and family. On paper, men can choose, too. While in truth ...

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Perceiving Art in Circles - An Autobiography of Being a Fan

Sometimes we love an artwork so much that it impacts our whole life. I'm a passionate fan of Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings and the person I am now is the result of re-reading the books and re-watching the movies over and over for about 20 years ...

Some artworks give us guidance throughout our whole life.

Some artworks stick with us throughout our whole life. We keep re-reading, re-watching and re-playing them over and over again while our friends and family just roll their eyes and wonder when we'll finally be fed up with them. But, sadly for these people, this never happens.

For me, The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien is this kind of artwork. After my parents introduced me to its prequel The Hobbit at the age of five and I forced them to read it to me over and over again they decided it was time for the great trilogy. I was only seven years old back then. And little did I know that this novel would be one of the greatest influences in my life.

Childish Fascination


My first experience with LotR was an adventure. I completely immersed myself in the world of Middle-earth, I was really scared when the Hobbits were buried alive in the Barrow-Downs, I participated in their every step, and I developed a childish crush on Merry.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Why Do We Create Art? - What an Overdose of Caffeine Has Taught Me About Art

A caffeine overdose has taught me that writing is my reason to live.

About two years ago there was a day when I had too much caffeine. I suffered from insomnia and to fix my inability to concentrate I was taking caffeine pills and drank much coffee; additionally, I was stressed and depressed which resulted in lost control over the amount of caffeine I consumed. So when night fell I experienced the worst caffeine shock of my life.

To say I couldn't sleep would be an understatement. Even though with my brain I knew my symptoms weren't that dangerous (compared to the symptoms people actually die from) I still had a really bad anxiety attack. Well, it wasn't that bad that I lost control over myself. In fact, I was still pretty capable of pondering about whether I could handle it myself or whether I should call the ambulance. And in the end it all turned out very well for me: I didn't need any medical help, I somehow managed to force myself to lie down and wait all night until the anxiety ebbed away and I didn't consume more caffeine than one cup of coffee or black tea per day ever since.

So what does this life lesson have to do with art? Well, while half of my brain was still functional and allowed me to reflect on my condition the other half was convinced I would drop dead any minute. I had that instinctive, savage fear we usually have when facing serious danger. So my state was a bit like standing in a burning house with all your senses telling you you're going to die while with your brain still understanding that the burning house is only an illusion. The animal inside wants to run for safety while the brain knows you only have to wait.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Art and Ambition - A Wish Upon an Eclipse

The most important wish of all is not to lose sight of one's dreams.

September 2016 is an eclipse season. Astrologers say that these constellations of sun and moon bring big changes, especially to the signs affected by them. Both the solar and the lunar eclipse in September are either in or opposite Virgo, the sun sign of this blog (as September 17th is its birthday) and my own ascendant. In other words: Apparently it's my chance to make wishes. This is why I decided to write this rather unusual post.

So what does an aspiring artist and blogger wish for?

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Art vs. Real Life - How Does Art Benefit Us?

Creating art is a very emotional process which may be the main reason why it's often described as "to express oneself".

Last week Na├»ve Gnostic commented on many of my blog posts via Google+ and we had several interesting discussions. Some of them were about the educational function of art, catharsis and that art sometimes feels like psychotherapy. Since I planned a post covering all these aspects anyway, I took it as a sign it's about time to finally write it.

By now I've written down quite a few thoughts on the relationship between art and artist on this blog. Trying to sum up my general experience, I'd say that creating art is a very emotional process which may be the main reason why it's often described as "to express oneself". For some creating art is a way of escapism, fleeing into their own fantasy world. For others art is a way to cope with their experiences and emotions, even traumata. There are even people who use art for some kind of academic exploration, speculation or even presentation of one's research findings. And there are also people for whom art is all this at once.

Art and Psychology


It always has a reason why an artist creates a certain type of work or why an art lover appreciates certain genres. There's also the fact that art can be used as therapy. This summer I've helped filming a documentary about psychological painting. In one of the interviews it was mentioned that adult non-artists who come to a seminar and paint for the first time often struggle with using colours - an issue that can be fixed if they paint only with black for a while. This says much about the world we live in, I guess.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

A Dark Path - Are Artists Egoists?

Artists walk a dark path. However, I would really like to believe that there is also a bright one.

In January I wondered whether artists are unhappy people and came to the conclusion that unhappiness is a crucial driving power behind art. Unhappiness makes an artist create art, so he can experience happiness through it. If a person is generally happy, he or she doesn't feel the need to experience happiness through anything else than life itself. And I have to admit that as a creative person I envy such people.

The problem with us creative people is that we often like to draw a line between ourselves and the rest of the world. Many of us are weird, isolated creatures who prefer some distant, non-existing dimensions to the real world where life happens. We don't accept life, and we don't accept things as they are. It hurts us when we don't get as much appreciation as we think we deserve while when we actually get appreciation it's never enough. Something is always wrong with the world: Our family is too poor, too rich, the situation in the art world is unpleasant, we are restricted by stupid laws, we aren't loved for what we want to be loved and people love things about us we don't love ourselves, the masses have a bad taste and everything is just unfair. Let's be honest, self-pity is the favourite hobby of the most of us.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Random Reasons Why Translating Is Unrewarding

As a translator, your main objective is to pretend you don't exist.

There's an art form vastly underestimated by those who don't have experience with it: translation, the most unrewarding art form out there. Translating a text into another language usually takes more time than to write it, much knowledge, work and experience, and yet, as a translator, your main objective is to pretend you don't exist.

If the translated text doesn't feel like it's the original you've failed. If the translated text doesn't express what the original text does you've failed. If the words or idioms used in the original don't exist in the target language - deal with it. If you think the style of the original badly needs to be improved you still have to stick to it. If you think the original text is just sh*t you can either stop translating or accept its sh*ttiness. If you think the original text is brilliant you will hate your translation, no matter how good it is.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Are Artists Unhappy People?

Unhappiness seems to be an artist's constant companion.

I stumbled over this question when browsing my idea list for this blog and decided ... Well, this is a question that keeps haunting me, so I decided it's about time to answer it.

The reason why I keep asking myself this question is simple: Whenever I read an artist's biography I always note that he or she had a pretty difficult life - if not for political or social reasons it were depression, a sickness, an addiction ... Or everything at once. I also note that people who seem content with their life and society often aren't very creative, just as if they don't feel the need for that. - Well, no, there is creativity in them, but it seems more practical: decorating their home, baking cookies ... No great, revolutionary stuff, if you know what I mean.

Last but not least, there's myself, the person I know best and watch all the time. Fighting suicidal thoughts since my teenage years, I wouldn't describe myself as a happy person. And as a matter of fact, I do feel a connection between my general unhappiness and my writing.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Is Technological Progress Good or Bad for Art?

Without an adapter to read the hard disk of my crashed notebook I don't have access to my art and tools.

On Christmas 2015 Akira a.k.a. my notebook a.k.a. my general servant died. Considering how important computers are these days and that I maybe wouldn't have graduated from university without Akira I think it isn't even embarrassing or ridiculous to say that the computer slowly but surely has become man's best friend. (You see, my notebook even has a name - and his very own loyal and sometimes trolling personality with it.)

The same applies more and more to artists as well. Without Akira or an adapter to read its hard disk I don't have access to my writing, my notes, my digital painting projects, part of my drawing software, my photos, my music archive ... I'm stranded, quietly envying all those traditional artists and writers who still use pen and paper.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Art and PR - Why an Artist Needs Boldness to Be Successful

Shyness and modesty are very likely to become the death of an artist's career.

Right now it's a very personal matter. This is a very "young" blog, and I've started enough internet projects in my past to know that it takes much time and patience until it'll get at least a very little bit of attention. That I don't get many clicks and comments right now is actually what is to be expected, especially considering that I didn't do much PR for this blog. I should be rather surprised and happy that it actually got a few clicks without me doing anything.

It isn't like I don't have any ideas for how to promote my blog. I have more of them than time for implementation. The reason why I didn't do much so far is that I'm afraid like a total newbie. My train of thoughts is like this: "I've just started, there isn't much content yet, I'm still trying to figure out what works and what doesn't, so there isn't much I can offer to potential readers." To make it short: I'm afraid of getting readers while my blog is still in a beginning state.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Artists and Feedback - The Eternal Lecture of Feedback Tides

If you don't even know whether there's anyone out there even noticing your existence
it's really hard to remain self-confident.

Not to get any feedback for your art is depressing. And it's even more depressing if it happens after a phase when you could almost swim in feedback. I publish my written works since 2004 on the internet, so I had much time to observe my emotional reactions to feedback in different situations.

Of course my subjective feelings can't be applied to everyone. Yet I've noticed - and other artists may have noticed it as well - that not only the quality and quantity of feedback for a particular artwork play a role but also the artist's own attitude towards that artwork and how much feedback the artist gets in general.

Personally I've went through many emotional phases: