Do Depressed Artists Make Better Art?

Do Depressed Artists Make Better Art?


When it comes to art school, I’ve heard some pretty crazy things For example a friend of mine told me that her art teacher told her to break up with her boyfriend because she was too happy And she would not be able to make good art and that only enough seems to be a common thing in art Not just the idea that art school sucks but the idea that depression and art go hand in hand and my point of view is that Well, I can’t exactly argue every artist is normally adjusted Like I don’t think there’s a normal person out there saying I’m going to sit all day alone and draw pictures That is the normal thing to do because it’s true, a lot of artists struggle financially Or struggle with mental health and a lot of that gets integrated into the kind of work they make but the idea that depression should be a driving force in your art is a Dangerous idea to me part of the blame comes to how we romanticize stories about artists throughout history painters have worked for merchants, nobility and the church all groups of people who were very wealthy and whose Wealth today is roughly equivalent to that of the furry community but the trope of the starving artists exists for a reason most painters were by no means rich and the story of someone struggling to be an artist is naturally going to be more relatable than that of a person who immediately Succeeded but is the work of the depressed artist actually more meaningful than that of the happy one? I think to answer this question. We need to answer a very long and complicated question. What is art? Art. Is. Communication. There we did it. every artist is going to have a different answer for what art is But to me I would sum it up with word communication it’s using any kind of medium no matter the amount of skill, or technical knowledge to try and express something some kinds of art are high communication like the most popular paintings films and literature are Probably going to be very clear with what they are trying to say But other kinds of art are very abstract as if bordering on the line of “is this even trying to say anything at all?” and when this kind of art is Successful, it is hugely successful Because the interpretation of art that is low communication can be so broad that People can find a lot more personal meaning to it so I don’t think there’s anything necessarily wrong with a blank canvas that has a black dot on it, because to push the boundaries of art is a part of being an artist Just doesn’t mean you’re going to be a successful artist So in trying to communicate something with art whether that is very clear or very subtle what we are trying to communicate Place a big role If I ask you right now, hey viewer, what kind of art do you want to make? You would probably say “Um… uh.. I don’t know, whether I feel like?” but in practice using art to communicate whatever you feel like can actually be very difficult because it Is the equivalent of stripping down naked you’re opening yourself up to a lot of Vulnerability and weakness as people can openly judge your very personal parts. So instead as an artist It’s a lot easier to play dress-up instead you can imagine well What if I did this kind of art instead? maybe then people would think I’m a really cool guy and we can become obsessed with Things like finding the right art style because finding that right group of people to appeal to is also to hide yourself within that group of people even for successful artists this can lead to a lot of frustration For every painter in history who did make it as a success how many of them were also horribly stressed and worried that their work would not appeal to the people who had money and power And in the end if it really is all about making money and your own survival Then why not just be a furry? my point of view on all of this is about the thing that I find the most valuable in art is Honesty I think that when we see depression portrayed in art that can be hugely appealing because is a form of laying out absolute honesty In your work, it’s someone openly portraying their own weaknesses, fears and then as vulnerable people ourselves How is that not oddly appealing and admirable? And at the core, what we want from art is honesty We want to see what people really are like and who they are and oddly enough. That is a weirdly difficult thing to achieve Saying something like personal honesty can sound very heavy it can make it sound like every single thing you make should be very Emotional or very deep but really it can be very simple stuff how you feel kind of tired right now or how you thought something Looked pretty So you painted it odds are if you really feel like drawing a piece of poop right now You could do that and post it and people would love it because sometimes your personal honesty is a piece of poop and this goal of achieving honesty in your art is where Romanticizing depression can make it a downward spiral it is very admirable to pursue absolute honesty in your work, but it can be very dangerous to think that your suffering is your only source of personal honesty to think that this is the only way that you can express yourself openly and honestly, maybe to the point where you feel like you need to keep suffering to keep your success to essentially fall in love with your own depression the point I want to make with this video is not that Depressing art is actually worse or a thing that is wrong to make I think there’s a lot of value in Artists using art as a tool to talk about their depression The value for me that depression has in art lies in it’s open communication and for you as a person. There is so much more to you than just the depression I think judging from past video titles I have made, people wouldn’t be too surprised to hear that I’ve suffered from depression and anxiety so then again Maybe I am just a bit biased because my depression did not make me want to make great works of art It made me want to kill myself And when you are depressed the idea of not being depressed can be horrifying because you might become a person who is dishonest Someone who is just forcing themselves to feel good and be something they are not because when you are depressed everything that is not depressing Doesn’t feel real like you hear a happy song on the radio and all you can think is “oh, come on” “Who are these people trying to fool? Huh?” “We all know happiness doesn’t exist.” But having come out of my depression I can say that I still have a lot things to say and I don’t feel dishonest and instead of becoming someone different someone I didn’t recognize I became the person I was before I was depressed You

100 thoughts on “Do Depressed Artists Make Better Art?

  1. I was depressed for years and didn’t make a thing, now I’m doing better I’m creating so much, and I’m so happy.
    the idea that feeling bad makes art better actually made me think there was no hope for me. I felt horrible and I made nothing, shouldn’t this be my prime?
    let’s please kill this idea forever, it doesn’t help. thanks for adressing it!

  2. Depression do nothing but discourage artists if you ask me (don't stop, art can be a good way to vent out certain feelings that can't be expressed with words. It's easier said than done, though, I realize that.)

    I feel like a lot of internet artist from certain communities will claim to be depressed all the time (seriously, as a kid, 80% of the artist in my community said they were "depressed" when in reality, they didn't know what depression was and thought being sad you had a typical teen rebellious stage against your parents, leading to arguments, counted as depression…)

    My biggest problem with "depressed" artists, in my opinion, is "vent art".
    As someone who's actually been diagnosed with both depression and anxiety, I can relate to drawing vent art to get out negative emotions. But! I would NEVER post the pic with the caption "VENT ART". That's the biggest cry for attention I can think of and it annoys me to no end. Then, obviously, when people take the bait and ask "omg what's wrong, are u okay?" they respond with the usual "I don't want to talk about it."

  3. Art is really2 subjective, art for someone might be trash for another

    So it does not really about being depressed.

    Although… Art tend to be more romanticized/appreciated if the artist themself gives more imppression,

    for example :
    >Sees a white canvas with dot in it.
    >that, actually is an art made by someone
    >Lmao what is this trash
    >Then, someone says :
    "the artist is depressed, so the art is actually the expression of what they actually feel"
    >wow this is goes way deeper more than just a dot in a white canvas after all.

    Nothing wrong with this since again,

    i agree "art" is practically a communication, but technically is an expression

    So it does reaaaallly reaaally subjective.

    Not in any way directly related to depression or so whatever

    I M O.

  4. People who are depressed create more art in their mind then on paper and it makes the emotions alongside the image we see even harder to validate to others. At least for me. I see so many beautiful images in my mind that Id love to paint, but my mental illness is intense and to draw or create anything in any way I have to validate myself all the way through or I break down. So do I believe my art holds deeper meaning than some tiktok shoe painting compilation, yes, but also, that is purely subjective and is a result of my internal battles.

  5. Depression is an illness, that hinders your mental capabilities. It would be the equivilant of taking drugs every time you want to create art.

  6. This is weird timing but i believe being depressed does help my art
    My dad died 6 weeks ago and for some weird reason ive suddenly been so creative and my art is wayy better and im applying to art college soon

  7. This video hits all kinds of different. I’m scared being happy will lower my creativity and I didn’t think that was something other people felt too and yet he puts it perfectly into words at the end

  8. For me personally, as a suicide survivor and a sufferer of depression, my art is better when I'm worse because I'm more inspired that way. I make surreal art, but since late april, except some episodes here and there, ive taken a "fake it till you make it" attitude. It kinda works, but my inspiration has been almost nonexistent. As an introverted individual, i don't express my feelings with ease, so expressing my depression through art made it that much more impactful. Anyway, i realize that art can involve lots of emotions and my works have been affected by this. Art is just a gateway to communicate your view of life and the things in it subjectively.

  9. depression kills my will to do anything, making art is the last thing I want to do when I'm in that state

    "We all know happiness doesn't exist" ouch dude

  10. I really needed this vid lately, thanks. It's exactly what I've been going through. Oh and yes I have tried the furry route and am still thighs deep in it

  11. THIS. this is the thing that's been chasing me the most. The idea of becoming dishonest/self-obsessed if I'd gain more confidence/happiness.
    You spoke right outta my soul, thanks man.

  12. You say that you feel like you're who you where before you got depression, but I've spent so much of my life with depression that I honestly believed that people are born with depression. I want to be able to live and be happy about it but I've never met that side of me so if I ever get better I don't think that it will ever feel normal

  13. I love your content! It is so inspiring to see you come out and post regardless of your anxiety. You make me wanna be able to do the same 😀 Please keep up the great work!

  14. Ok… I read really depressive and angsty stuff, listen to sad songs, love a good character death or a dark picture.
    I like that kind of art because it touches my heartstrings and makes me feel for the character/author/connect the artwork with my own life.

  15. Depression is a strong emotion that can be expressed through art. It is not the only emotion that can be expressed through art.

  16. Depression has made my art a lot lot better, it's the only way I can express how I feel and express it in a way others can't. What makes artists so special and famous is their ability to capture and express complicated emotions that others couldn't

  17. I actually only draw when I'm extremely sad or depressed. I see at as a way to express my feelings and I eventually calm down after I start drawing or painting

  18. Take it from someone who struggles with depression, mood swings, and an anxiety disorder: negative emotions do not make your art better. Those feelings are reflected in what you've made in a way that will constantly remind you of that low point. Vent art is good, and therapeutic, but art comes from the heart, and the process of making it should make you feel happier, or at least satisfied with the act of making. My art improved drastically in quality when I finally started getting something done about my anxiety. Please don't dwell on depression to try and make better art. What you make is beautiful, and wonderful, and it can absolutely be sad, angry, for activism or for emotional release. But don't let others or yourself push you into the trope of the depressed artist.

  19. "When you're depressed everything that's not depressing doesn't feel real" OH NO I've felt the exact same thing so many times now, it's the worst

  20. I used to be one of those people who thought people with depression were just people over exaggerating their sadness and were being edgy. But recently I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression, and geez. I no longer have the motivation to draw anymore, maybe small doodles here and there, but the drive to create new things isn't there anymore. In fact, just getting up from my bed is a difficult task. I hate how I feel everyday, it's suffocating and I'm dragging down every one around me. Drawing is on the bottom of my to do list now. I'm too busy trying to salvage the relationships I have and too busy crying

  21. I think sad people can make better art if they avoid sharing it with people. I. E. I used to usw Art as a way to vent when things got tough but never shared it because it was private to me

  22. Someone (either my non-artist friend or my mom) thought "oh you must make your best art when in your most intense emotional state" and I just thought um no.. I make my best stuff in a neutral or good mood. I have no idea why anyone would think that, because all I draw is fanart.. "yes, I drew this cute Pokemon while I was going through a depression"

  23. You know that Van Gogh, such a depressed artist make beautiful art only when he is happy. When he depressed he couldn’t even lift up a pen. Way to fuck up ppl mind, pretentious art school

  24. Depression helped me create scarier monsters, so I guess it helped me, it just depends on what genre you are working with

  25. I started drawing back in 2016, in the middle of my first depressive episode, and I guess both things grew side by side, so, now when I'm relax and happy my art inspiration takes a nose dive, when I'm depressed or anxious, ideas flow easily.

  26. Depression is lack of motivation it’s like a burning boredom that you can never quench so you use sleep to pass time and it really hurts you just feel disconnected from the world and think what is the point of emotion and life what if nothing existed not even god and everything was nothingness and what would that be like and it really hurts me inside and depression does not make you a better artist it only makes pain and suffering it’s just an emptiness and you feel your soul crushing.

    Imagine a rope bridge that represents emotion. You are walking down this soul path and you hear a crack that crack is depression it gets bigger and bigger and the whole bridge starts to crumble. So life is just running from all of it and there are 2 ways that it will end.
    You make it to the other side. (You beat depression)
    Or
    It caught you and you either stay that way or decide to end it all.

    The running can last for years. It really hurts.

  27. Reason?: depends if they are actually depressed or not. Some lie to get attention or to seem different and dramatic. While actually depressed artist should seek help and have real problems. While this could affect art, this does not mean they could not do this when not depressed.

  28. When I'm not my feeling my best I love to draw. This is for when time passes and I feel better I can look at the art and realize how I improved in art and in myself

    Also my boy Bobby Ross is amazing

  29. Guess Van Gogh means nothing to you, I like an artist who has depression because they make sad shit that I relate to.

  30. well, there is one guy who got depressed when he kicked out of art school and..

    well…you know what Mr. Adolf do after that

  31. Depression doesnt make art better.. expressing your LIFE EXPERIENCES makes art better. Its all about ups and downs & what you feel or see. Bla bla bla.. you get the point.

  32. If I'm making art it's usually because I'm heavily depressed and need something else to focus my mind on, I'm not romanticizing mental illness, but art helps me escape that. My works are usually very bright colorful and happy.

  33. when i was depressed most of my art was messy vent like stuff and gore and im pretty sure over those three years i finished (lined, colored, etc) maybe 10 drawings, and none of them were that good. Now that im doing better feel like i really improved cause i finally get inspired again by the things i love and like,, reading a nice poem or a good book or watching a cool anime or smth and then suddenly really wanting to draw is such a nice feeling tbh, i never realized how much i missed sudden bursts or inspiration and motivation
    Also like i love romanticism but i feel like how that movement (idk the right english term so sorry if this is wrong) is seen now (and partially how it probably saw itself back in the day) e.g. the parts that arent just abt appreciating and living any Emotion but like, only sadness are probably partially to blame for this idea because i think, funnily enough, the romanticism movement is kinda pretty romanticized now. Not fully itself, but like, the sad parts and really really indulging in your sadness seems like something that people who say this kinda shit are prone too.
    Like yeah, 'whats bad for your heart is good for your art' but that doesnt mean you should purposely hurt your heart or refuse to let go of pain you romanticized to make better art

  34. Me reading hate comments from r/im14andthisisdeep girls: Ahhh, the sweet feeling of people using their depression to abuse their power and saying that cutting wrists and taking pills arent something to be made fun of while they are using it to be cool.

    Edit: okay missed an important point lmao, im talking about people who are faking depression to earn millions not the people who really are suffering from it

  35. Depression has stunted me so badly. I'm rarely getting inspired by anything, I get easily irritated by mistakes, I feel my skills are absolute sh*t cause I LOVE comparing my every day work to the highlights of everyone else on social medias. Sometimes I have meltdowns about how happy I was with art, drawing, painting in my youth and now all of it has slipped away and I just have no connection, no passion no emotions. (or with anything, honestly)
    At the very least, on days when I stop caring about opinions and just keep drawing (for the escape of reality), I've been exploring the emotional side of me and creating work in that field (kind of like vent art at the end of the day)… most times I just end up feeling worse because of it, for some reason. Just having a folder full of physical evidence of my life having not a single sh*t together makes me spiral down further. But sometimes those artworks end up turning out beautiful, and then I can go on forward thinking that I can take something ugly and harsh and turn it into the opposite, which makes me feel better. It's a rollercoaster. But yeah…drawing is something that happens rarely nowadays. Most times I scrap the ideas, have a freak out episode or just close the sketchbook mid-way and never have the motivation to finish it.

    I feel like I'm rambling, haha.

  36. thanks for being honest about your depression, I can say that I've been struggling with the thought of not actually being depressed and just looking for a reason to pity myself

  37. I have a little stunt in my art that I like to call, depression periods. Usually, at most two times a week, my depression kicks in, making my art look rushed and lazy. This comes from my near instinctive thought that no matter what I do with what I create, it will look like shit. And then it comes out like shit. It sucks but I'm trying to get over it by encouraging myself to do better and learn new styles, positions, esthetics, etc. Yet still, I hated it when I was at school, people thought my vents of life made me create all of my art. It just doesn't. Mainly I just have an idea, no matter how ridiculous and I just do, and there it is. I'm glad there is a video like this. Really reminds me that I'm not grinded in the dark because of my hobby.

  38. Doesn't matter

    So many depressed people can't draw for shit
    Like me
    5 years tryna draw, cause it's in my DNA, & i have improved by 14% & that's all.

    5 fucking years.
    & if you count from age 12 to 22, then it's MORE THAN 5 YEARS.

    & the fuckery of it all is that if i decide to just quit, i get actually depressed.
    I can't quit. it's a hobby in my DNA… it's some sort of coping mechanism. Despite how bad & autistic my skills are.

    They're so shit, even drawing with a left hand looks better.

    So no
    To me, depression is when i get depressed & want to quit & never get near a pencil or paper AGAIN.
    That's fucking depressing.

    5:23 yep, you spoke my mind on this

  39. when my depression was it's worst I stopped drawing. Didn't pick up a pencil for over a year. When I eventually got therapy, my therapist talked me into drawing for her.

  40. I feel like somehow, my inner turmoil and the intense feelings of self-hatred contributed to me getting better and better at art. I post something and i feel like my existence matters to nothing compared to those successful artists out there. So i cry a river onto a canvas and show it to my equally self-loathing peers.

    Now i cry shit.

    People love that.

  41. I think the artist and the artviewer are 2 different kind of people. But the attitude in some powerful artrelated institutions is more like watching the stuff just from the viewers side. And the viewer usually wants to see something, you don‘t see in mainsteam media, and if these people never had depression it feels deep. But if you are depressed it feels like sitting in a deep well, just seeing some light above. But you don‘t have anything meaningfull there. It is all flatened out. And if someone wants you to express this, it feels like beeing in a freakshow, with people that can‘t relate to this.

    Some artists of the past may have been bipolar, so they didn‘t do much art while depression, but they did in the phase between depression and mania.

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