My response to the above title posting, on LinkedIn, is presented on my Blog because it is too long for LinkedIn.
The author accused me of not reading her post. And so I answered the following:
The publicly proffered assumption that I had not read your article is unfounded and discourteous. I had. Several times even. Getting to the crux of your post was a bit complex. I did not “get” whether it was about mental health issues or a need to market your services.
You state: “I have talked with so many amazing artists.” (immediately adding): “Inevitably, these artists HIDE! They question whether they are good enough compared to other artists. They question their own value and validity as artists. They suffer from . . . impostor syndrome. . .they cling to it like it’s going out of style. Meanwhile, mediocre artists. . . sell like mad.”
I can only surmise that of the “so many amazing artists” you encounter, a large segment of them seem to suffer from anxiety, feelings of incompetence and a fear of failure. They see themselves (as you state) as fraudulent in their positioning of themselves as “artists”. In the sentence describing your dealings with them you infer that they should also feel like victims since your chosen quest is to “emancipate artists from sitting under the doctrine of the gatekeepers who keep them chained to a life of failure and starvation. (!!!) After 52 years in the visual arts (successfully I may add) I have never known it to be that discouraging an environment. . . Difficult? Yes. Discouraging ? No. And this despite the fact of my work being consistently rejected by the gallery and “art scene”. Maybe it’s all in the way we look at things. Rejected, I chose to go it my way rather than give up.
That being said, your post is nonetheless a serious one. It implies that there are several mental health issues “out there” which need to be looked into. When anxiety is as prominent as you cite, would it not be best to redirect the sufferers to legitimate therapeutic interventions rather than to a marketing strategy?
Though anxiety and depression are rather prevalent in our times, these symptoms should not be considered acceptable (normal) simply because there is more of this than at any other time in history - even in children and adolescents.
I also suggest that, despite our 21st century penchant for romanticizing mental health issues as they purportedly relate to “artists”, this milieu is no more prone to mental health turmoil than any other professional environment. Dr. Judith Schlesinger’s second edition of “The Insanity Hoax” dispels any notion that feelings of being impostors to a degree of dysfunction or anxiety are particularly “attached” to the art world”. In the grand scheme of things, creatives should not, a priori, be assumed to be overly sensitive or acceptably (read artistically) predisposed to mental health concerns.
Don’t I know of artists who have issues? Yes. But then, the artwork related to their distress is reflective of a personal quest to salve their distraught souls. Once this is achieved they begin again to create to reach out beyond themselves. Any of them I’ve encountered these past 52 years of artistic life have always created “despite” their issues, not because of them. As with extreme tinitus to a musician or mental health concerns to any one of us, these are annoying asides to the quest to create, not catalysts or drawbacks.
Bernard Poulin. . .