Make Good Art

In a brilliant commencement speech (which you can see and read fully here), Neil Gaiman said something that later became the title of his book and has stuck with me since the first time I read it.

Life is sometimes hard. Things go wrong, in life and in love and in business and in friendship and in health and in all the other ways that life can go wrong. And when things get tough, this is what you should do.
Make good art.
I’m serious. Husband runs off with a politician? Make good art. Leg crushed and then eaten by mutated boa constrictor? Make good art. IRS on your trail? Make good art. Cat exploded? Make good art. Somebody on the Internet thinks what you do is stupid or evil or it’s all been done before? Make good art. Probably things will work out somehow, and eventually, time will take the sting away, but that doesn’t matter. Do what only you do best. Make good art.
Make it on the good days too.

Suffering from a terrifying condition, rather ominously called sleep paralysis? Make Good Art.

This is what Nicolas Bruno did.

To quote Wikipedia, sleep paralysis “is a phenomenon in which an individual, either during falling asleep or awakening, briefly experiences an inability to move, speak, or react. It is sometimes accompanied by frightening hallucinations to which one is unable to react due to paralysis and perceived physical experiences, such as a strong current running through the upper body. “ Damn.

To help cope with this condition, Nicolas turned to art and using Henri Fuseli’s The Nightmare for inspiration, produced a hauntingly beautiful set of photographs that depict the illness visually.

Below are few images that stood out to me the most (reproduced here with permission from Nicolas). Rest of the images along with his other work can be viewed on his website, Instagram and his Facebook.

I love the symbolism of three men with blown out candles clawing for the only man with the illuminated candle.

Stunning work from Nicolas. This is what we need more of.


A spine injury left him immobile.. so Erik Henderson also made good art. Actually, he built a Giant 20 x 24 camera. for a project that he calls, The Anti Selfie. I also highly recommend you check out his work too. Those large portraits are beautiful.


If you enjoyed the story (or didn’t) and would like to comment on it, you can get in touch with me on www.arshdeep.nz