Artistic Anxieties

Ever since I was young, art has always served as my sanctuary. At primary school, it was painting and drawing that kept my worries at bay. At secondary school, I broadened my horizons: I turned to print making, woodworking; even writing became an escape rope.

There were times when these retreats overwhelmed me; where I would go out for a walk and lose myself in a story, only to return home and find that I’d missed dinner. Times when I’d decide to embark on a project in an entirely new and complex medium (like the time I explored lithography), purely to run away from snowballing thoughts.

I miss those times.

Now that I’m surrounded by creative people (which is what tends to occur when working in a school art department), my escape paths are clogged. Even my much-loved medium of ceramics is no longer a refuge, but rather something that I feel the need to master. My creative process previously has always been very natural, allowing for organic improvement that encouraged creativity, but this is no longer the case.

I lack inspiration.

I feel lost.

The feeling is reminiscent of when my best friend moved away, which is very appropriate; it does indeed feel as if I’ve lost a good friend once again.

My mind, which normally seems as if it runs on red cordial, is quiet. A lack of stress in my everyday life has created a new kind of artistic anxiety. Without something to escape from, I have no creative inspiration. I spent two hours last week wandering around, wanting to create something, but not knowing what.

I have always disagreed with the notion of ‘suffering artists’; the idea that artists need tragedy in order to drive their artwork, but I can see now that one does indeed need something through which their art is channeled. In the past I used fear, anxiety, and stress.

Now that these feeling are not being forced upon me, I have no ‘fuel’.

Perhaps I need to learn to draw inspiration from something else; I know that I shouldn’t seek out these ‘negative’ emotions. I suppose… I could use the positive moments within my life: feelings of love, enjoyment, amusement.

Or, I could just continue to create artificial sources of stress, like worrying about what could just be an artistic block at the end of a long term.

That sounds more like me.

Like what you read? Give Katherine Robbo a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.