Are Artists Crazy?

Now attempting to get this blog back onto it’s usual Wednesday/Sunday schedule. I’ve been so tied up in conventions and deadlines I’ve neglected any sort of regular schedule. But I’m back and ready to ramble!

For this week, I thought I’d bring to light an amusing conversation between my boyfriend and I. He has come to the conclusion from dating me that…artists are crazy.

Not like cut up your husband and serve them as pie crazy, but just on a different wavelength than most usual people. Of course, my own point of view is a little different, stemming from my idea that talent is something that is more trained than inherent. My defense against artists being loonies is that we’re no different than anyone else with a passion for what they love to do. Is passion so rare these days that it’s considered crazy?

Artists, and creative people in general, live their lives with one eye open always seeking to learn, improve, or to see something unique in the mundane. Like mathematicians, we seek symbols and some form of order in chaos that’s expressible by the living hand, the writing, the painting, or the pen. I’m no different than my boyfriend, who spends hours obsessing over countless numbered sequences, hardware compatibility issues, and the tiny systems of circuits that form the interconnected body of the computer. He finds joy in that kind of chaos. I merely obsess over how to better capture human expression, the methods for mixing colors, and how to build better compositions.

Spending hours trying to figure out why a computer won’t accept a wireless router signal, now THAT’s crazy to me. I’d rather just toss it at my boyfriend and be done with it. Having that amount of insane patience is crazy, to me.

Yet even in the movies, I see the stereotypes. Artists are the tragic figures, the aloof lovers, the serial killers, the crazies with their heads in the clouds. Are we really that scary? Does it taking cutting off one’s ear or dying of a drug overdose to truly complete our identities as artists? Or can we be just as approachable as other normal people?

And yet, I can understand the idea that artists just don’t fit into certain social situations. During my training as an Arts Administrator, it was amusing to see the differences between accountants, actors, and art directors. There’s a definite shift in focus from ‘budget’ to ‘vision’ and an effort to balance sense and creativity into a cohesive whole. Similarly, I have many relatives who just don’t understand why I’m willing to take a dangerous path of uncertain paychecks over using my perfectly competent computer skills to pursue working as a secretary instead.

I suppose I like the danger of the creative edge and the ability to do something I truly love. Drawing is like a drug for me. If I don’t do it within three days, I start to get antsy and doodle on napkins. If I can’t do something creative with myself, I feel pretty useless. I can’t sit and watch TV at night without having my hands busy with a project. I don’t listen to music unless it inspires some sort of mental image for a story or a drawing (though on occasion I’ll love music just for its mood or beat).

Perhaps that’s what makes me that non-homicidal brand of ‘crazy’? I notice I tend to be drawn towards other people of the same creative spirit, or those who have a similar appreciation for the side of life that invites one to think beyond the norm. I have friends who aren’t artists and friends who are, but all of us share a love for the odd side of things.

For me, where’s the fun in life if you’re just striving to survive? The human mind is capable of so much more.

Maybe I am a little crazy. I look up at the sky and think what a lovely shade of Cobalt Blue or Light Cerulean it is today.

Perhaps that is not normal?

What sorts of stereotypes of creative people have you seen or experienced? How do your significant others deal with your creative side? Let us talk and be mad together.


  1. Travis McDougald says:

    I don’t know if your crazy or not Angela, you seem almost perfectly normal to me, for a human that is. Of course i do spend hours/days/weeks/months/years/decades obsessing over and developing the characters for my plots/stories/novels. Only reason I learned to draw was to see my characters visually. Heh, what do I know? Most people who have meet me will tell you I am insane, in a fun way.

    It’s all Darth Vader’s fault I tell you, really it is.

  2. pie says:

    people say artists are crazy, but i just think that some crazy people are artists

    the really crazy ones either supernova or sputter, flare, dwindle, and become extinguished without ceremony

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