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. Wow, Mattias I adore your videos. This one really has such a well-balanced analysis that it’s really hard to argue with.

    I totally agree that art has the most meaning when it comes from an honest place, and that carries over to music, film, any kind of media really.

    Your assessment that a lot of artists have this kind of reluctance to be happy because it may diminish that honesty, I think, is right on the money man.

    I’ve suffered from depression but I can safely say that I’ve produced work that I’m confident in while both happy and sad. Regardless, like you said, it’s about communicating something, and I think art will always be one of – if not the best – outlets to express yourself no matter what state you’re in.

  2. I started art to avoid hurting myself and to give me other things to focus on but I never saw a change in quality and either way I dont always have motivation to start or finish something.

  3. Emotions are extremely correlated to arts…from sadness, anger, happyness… they give you inspiration, but depression is another thing, depression kill motivation

  4. I think depressed people do make better art a lot of the time because their mind is more focused on a certain emotion and so it’s easier to translate that on canvas. This is about any emotion however not just being sad

  5. I think I’ve improved with art a lot since I became happier. Nowadays I focus on drawing things that feel warm. Things that feel the way sunflowers look and hot chocolate tastes ?? I can’t really explain it but that’s how I see it ! Drawing something that makes me happy gives me more motivation to finish the piece. Not to say an emotional piece of art isn’t good, it also can feel good to get your feelings out !

  6. Even if 💯 it did make better art fuck the person who would prioritize art over a person’s fucking health or life

  7. This is the most angsty comment section I’ve ever read through oh my god

    Yeah I know this is true FROM MY OWN PERSONAL EXPERIENCE did you hear that YUP I’m depressed and sad and oh did you see my painting of a cup? Yeah it’s half empty because I’m DEPRESSED and SAD all the TIME

  8. As someone who uses art to cope it's kind of counterintuitive because depression makes me burn out and not want to do anything but I guess I've learned how to channel it so that I don't have to burn out and that I can continue to improve even at my lowest points I hope that with art I can help my depression loosen it's grip on my life so that happy things feel happy.

  9. The way i see it, good art comes from inspiration, and while inspiration can come from depression it is only one of many sources and each sourse has its own unique style and tone to it.

  10. Art can be inspired by pain, just like it could be inspired by literally anything else. But expecting pain and suffering to inspire you every time is…. not a good way to look at it

  11. Art's used as a coping mechanism, which is why there's a connection.
    But I make my best art when I'm in a good mood. If I'm actually depressed, I might be able to draw, but quality is way down.

  12. Going through depression and no, it doesn't, I get little to no motivation to draw, I'm now rarely getting anymore ideas now that I'm getting into the deep end. It sucks ass

  13. Thank you for just answering the question in the thumbnail so i can expect what will come and the reason to come is for the nuance of the question

  14. I love this video. The way I try to think about it is that depression is terrible and if you can channel it into art, or use art as a way to work through it, that's great. But I really like what you said about not falling in love with one's depression.

  15. Creating can be away to forget about your depression if you just can stay focused, alas it often leads to unfinished works, or procrastination. Depression in it self in a soul crushing event that numbs you and lowers your self estimate. It’s like being in a deep and dark well and with no means to climb up to the light that’s mocks you. It also kills curiously and without that you can’t create.

    Well, that’s me thoughts anyway, thanks for a interesting video!

  16. You make some of the most meaningful and thoughtful videos on YouTube. Lol I still watch "A Man Goes to the Store to Buy Milk" every once in a while and I still cry

  17. Definitely not. Mental illness made me go full on panic attack mode even if I TRY to draw something. That makes me procrastinate my work until the very last minute so the anxiety of deadline can beat the anxiety of drawing something. Every time I finished an assignment or little art piece, I never felt proud or happy, I just felt exhausted then continue to hate on myself and my work. I lost my interest and motivation to create something. I use to love drawing and writing poems. Depression makes good artists is just nonsense.

  18. yes. and art school is overrated. if you take "happy" people and ask them to be sad (which isnt the same thing as depression) youre forcing fake sadness or eventually fake depression on someone that has no idea what constant idea of what its really like. fuck you nigga how about that communication

  19. I'm Depressed as hell. The feeling of emptiness comes and goes but I feel when the depression real hits I cant do shit. I just can do anything. It's when something positive that makes me work and when I get that positive feeling, I work like crazy. But when the Depression hits, nothing happens. But I can understand the link between mental illness and art. At least all the people who are super creative are at least a little mentally I'll lol 😂😂😂

  20. just make art lol who cares if it "looks good" or not it just expresses on what you're feeling or whatever keeping a mentality that "oh it doesnt look good i need to find an art style" is imparing as you're actually not communicating you're communicating what others want (or what you think others want). keeping a perfectionist attitude towards art is rarted. the "flaws" is what makes art, art.

  21. Anyone who thinks depression makes art better is someone who has never had it affect their art. It made me quit art twice! I lost not only the opportunity to attend art school but also nearly the opportunities to pursue what I want in life. It's a miracle I'm going anywhere, quite honestly.

    Now, if we're talking about general sadness, blueness, anger toward life, then yes–it can help with producing great art. But fundamentally, just feeling strongly is what helps with producing art, and not a particular emotion.

  22. my depression has ruined art for me to the point that I can‘t enjoy my art and other peoples anymore because I feel like I‘ll never be that good.

  23. When im actually depressed, i use drawing as a "tool" for realising my stress.. and the drawing has alot of emotion. So i think it helps. For me atleast

  24. i never understood why people were always like “Good artists are depressed” because i’m depressed and whenever i’m having an episode i go through like getting rid of my stuff and shit

  25. Unrelated, I have a friend who is a furry and she just got fired from her first job after nine days for being a reverse Karen.

  26. My art started to improve when i overcame my depression, depression didn't do shit on my art what clown says depression makes it better, bitch im going to kill

  27. My depression compels me to work, but it doesn't help, and most of the time I dont even pick up a pencil when it's really bad. Not sure who started that little lie, but its obviously false. Smacks of pretension, anyway. . .

  28. Why would depression drive art? I-I don’t understand doesn’t depression bring people down? You’d think it’d actually give someone some sort of art block…..

  29. It’s such a weird double edged sword for me because I lose a lot of motivation when I’m depressed but then I come up with great song ideas but I don’t have the energy to do them.

  30. I used to be depressed (I still sorta am but I’m better now)
    And ever since I realized as to why I was depressed I decided to fix it, and now I’m so much happier since I did. I’ve also realized when looking at my art that I have improved a lot more than I did back then, because a lot of my art or things like animation that I wanted to work on normally ended up uncomprehending, or lazily done. For anyone who is depressed, I just want to say that whatever you are doing through it will get better, you just have to wait, but not just wait, acknowledge what is making you depressed and if possible fix it. I was depressed because I was forced to move from America to japan! On the other side of the world pretty much! I lost all my friends and family which were people who I couldn’t leave behind or it would break me, and it did. I was 9 at the time and my family and friends were everything to me. So when I lost them I shut down, learning a different language was difficult and made me cry every night cause of how lonely I felt. This year somewhere in March I finally decided to make the decision to move back home after 4 years of suffering, my bad grades when I was in japan went UP by A LOT. I have many friends now, I feel comfortable where I am, and all my family is always neat by.
    It took me 4 years to realize what I should’ve done long ago. So like I said, it takes time. You have to be patient, but also fine the reason as to why you are feeling depressed

  31. Well, let me just say I am an artist myself, if I want to be more specific, I’m a cartoonist, I draw things with little effort but put more effort into the comedy of the things I draw, and I mainly draw little comic parodys of popular video games or shows, I draw a very simplistic style, if you’re cultured, you’ll know who these are, I draw a head like how Berd’s characters look, with a long overhang but round instead of pointy, then the body looks like TheOdd1sout’s body however drawn by Sr Pelo, so, related to this topic, being depressed does not help you in cartooning, it’s very useless since I draw for comedic effect, and I mainly take humor from the internet like memes and such, so no, in my opinion, being depressed does not help cartoonists like myself

  32. This is random but I'm really stressed out because I've been in art block for almost a year. Could say depression had something to do with it. I've been drawing more often but my ability has decreased. I tried to draw a portrait and I just couldn't make it look right. A year ago I would have had no problem

  33. The things I want to say when I'm drawing the stuff I generally can be summed as "Dinosaurs and ancient animals are cool", that's honest, I think…

  34. Depression doesn't make someone do better at art; But a lot of great artists are/were in depression. Example: Hideaki Anno.

  35. Depression is not a driving force to make art, but mental illnesses are in a way connected to creativity, I read it somewhere

  36. Holy hell you cracked the case and I realized that your right on how I also feel

    Like I want to stay depressed to keep things real I never realized but I was making myself depressed because I was sad but also everything that wasn’t depressing felt fake

  37. My art teacher in high school told me to use my depression for my art. Looking back on it, I wish she never said that because it gave me an unhealthy mindset.

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