“One must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star.” ― Friedrich Nietzsche
With Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s passing I have once again been thinking about creativity and madness. Why does artistry and addiction and general self-torture seem so entwined with creativity? Not having an addiction problem I can’t speak to the disease of addiction really but I do get wanting a break from my over active, introspective, seemingly heightened awareness of my self and the world around me. I understand wanting to feel less, absorb less, to quiet my mind. I watch reality tv, we all have our vices it seems. It seems unfair to others and like an oversimplification to say we feel more, and to a deeper place and perhaps that is why some come undone. But if we artists are alike in this way, I can see why escape, any escape is coveted.
As I get older and get to know myself better it occurs to me that not everyone is as introspective and intuitive with as colorful interior dialogues as perhaps mine. I have always been this way and have always attributed this to being a creative person. Just comes with the territory I supposed. Being creative by nature and also job function I am always thinking, exhaustively. Relentlessly thinking. About everything. By way of example and insight into my personal madness, today’s random involved what the very start of hoarding might look like. I dropped a small piece of paper and thought to myself, what if I left it there? Is that how hoarding starts? With one small piece of wrapping paper? It’s not always Aristotle up in there. But there is often sensory overload that I am not sure all people are blessed/cursed with. It is this sensory overload that drives me to over-photograph (and share) the seemingly smallest details of life.
I saw a video Jason Silva posted on the topic that kind of hit me hard. He spoke of how creativity is domesticated madness. It is true in every sense of the words. We have this great desire to create from nothing, to harness that wild, maddening thunderbolt of inspiration and make something tangible. To be creative you have to go outside and simultaneously deep within yourself and what is returned and given often includes a fragment of the creator. Now I do not for a second liken my daily design work to this level of artistry. I am but an instrument and problem solver in that capacity…but my photographs, my paintings…the things I create, that come from me, those do feel like a piece of me leaves with them. If I felt that way about every website or logo I am not sure how effective a designer I would be. Practical design can’t be about the self. I see this all the time in new designers. We serve too many masters in marketing and design. But art created from a place within you…that is entirely different.
I picked up the paper.