The Frustration And Madness That Is The Creative Process

Several very frustrating hours spent behind a dozen cans of spray paint.

So much of art is people wandering across something that you have created and saying to themselves or out loud if they are bold

“Wow that is pretty cool”

When they see something that is generated they don’t often even think about the work that went into creating it. There are those that call the state of creation the ‘flow’ state. So often when I move into that space-time seems to fly by and the outside world often shrinks away. Most of the time when I try to create something I start without much of a notion of where I will end up. Every time I take a step back and look at when I’ve painted or written I end up thinking to myself.

“Oh my god, this sucks so bad”

Almost all the art I created in the first 30 years of life I have destroyed because I honestly can’t stand to look at it. I keep throwing my heart at whatever I am doing again and again until I can start to tolerate my own creation.

But I never feel love. I never look at something I’ve created and say to myself

“Wow, that is pretty cool, I am so talented”

Even when complete strangers come out of nowhere and tell me that whatever I have made is the coolest thing they have ever seen I still only look at my creations and think…

‘It could be so much better’

Why do I torture myself, why can’t anything I ever make be good enough? Life seems so much like entropy. Even when we clean our houses we create more chaos in the universe. For me art is so much about trying to control the chaos instead of allowing myself to fall into it. Writing is the most painful creative process. I read the same thing that I write countless times. I tell myself

‘If your ideas are so boring that you can’t read them 20 times over without losing interest, no one else will be able to read them even once’

Objectively this is madness. If nothing I ever create is good enough, then why bother? There is always an urgency I feel to life. Whenever I go for too long without painting or writing something beautiful I always end up with that sinking feeling that I am wasting my life.

What is life without art, love and creation? It’s boring, it’s drab, it’s painfully pointless. How can I keep waking up and doing what I do every day if there is no point to it?

Now my 14-year-old son has taken up painting miniatures. I’ve personally spent countless hours in my youth behind a brush squinting at Warhammer figures that would never even see a battle. Occasionally one of my friends would look at the tiny painted figure and say something like ‘cool paint job’. They did know how long I stared at that stupid piece of metal picking out every color, every time I messed up and got pissed off and threw a tantrum because the brush missed its mark or the color didn’t run the way I wanted it to.

So how can you teach a child to stick with the creative processes when they have brought you little in life but misery and frustration?

What else is there than to gaze upon something you have created and feel the slightest tinge of satisfaction? Knowing that you are not the best at whatever it is you undertook, but that at least that arrangement of colors or words is unique. In the history of the universe from beginning to end there will never be that collection of creation again.

Maybe that is worth all the effort.

More often than not it feels like a prison in my own mind.

All the ideas are just trapped there in solitary confinement trying to get out.

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