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100. Rethink: The Suffering Artist

Here we are: 100 episodes, and we couldn’t have done it without each and every one of you listening to our conversations and interviews. When we started this over two years ago, we didn’t actually know how far this would go or even if anyone would even listen. To our surprise, we are still here and y’all are still listening. So, thank you! You’ve been a great audience, and we are honored to provide new content for you each week. Here’s to another 100 episodes!

This week Ryan and Garreth are joined in the studio by painters Ian C. Hess and Miguel Carter-Fisher to talk about the suffering artist. We have all heard about it, and many of us have deep experiences in this area, but what we experience and what is culturally understood may be different things. Do we have to suffer? Is there something positive about suffering? There’s a lot to talk about, so much so that we had to bring in two more folks just to plot out the field.

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Comments

  1. In this podcast you all mentioned how the suffering artist makes better art.
    So what exactly makes the artwork better?
    How does it show in their work or your own work?
    What elements of design were affective and how were they effective?

    Thanks!

  2. Congrats on 100 episodes! It’s always a good day when there’s a new one, your conversations make my studio feel a little bigger so thanks!

    This was another great episode and a huge topic that I’m glad to see you giving the time to. Personally I wonder how much of the suffering artist troupe is propped up by our society’s “rise and grind” work-obsessed culture. Little is given freely but rather must be earned and if you’re looking for something significant, like artistic freedom or brilliance, a lot more work is required. I don’t necessarily disagree with that as a foundation. I believe in the importance of hard work myself but somewhere down the road I feel like society conflated the concept of work with pain, discomfort, and economic (and social) anxiety.

    I used to think about Saint Jerome in the Wilderness a lot. The self penitence and pain for the sake of forgiveness and then, I suppose grace, spiritual truths, and enlightenment. Or later I thought about Odin, gouging his eye out so he could drink from the well of truth. I believe that suffering can bring about brilliance. The question is must it always? The general public talks about Van Gogh and his ear a lot but frankly I don’t much connect the suffering in his life to his brilliance. It much more seems like he was brilliant despite his pain, not because of it. Or at the very least I think that’s a healthier presumption for an artist to aspire to.

    I appreciate in the episode you bringing up Velasquez on the top of his game, continuing to make artistic strides and revelations while being in a quite stable position painting in the king’s court. I really hope there’s as much to learn from that story as there is in the countless stories of suffering artists.

  3. Congrats on 100 episodes! It’s always a good day when there’s a new one, your conversations make my studio feel a little bigger so thanks!

    This was another great episode and a huge topic that I’m glad to see you giving the time to. Personally I wonder how much of the suffering artist troupe is propped up by our society’s “rise and grind” work-obsessed culture. Little is given freely but rather must be earned and if you’re looking for something significant, like artistic freedom or brilliance, a lot more work is required. I don’t necessarily disagree with that as a foundation. I believe in the importance of hard work myself but somewhere down the road I feel like society conflated the concept of work with pain, discomfort, and economic (and social) anxiety.

    I used to think about Saint Jerome in the Wilderness a lot. The self penitence and pain for the sake of forgiveness and then, I suppose grace, spiritual truths, and enlightenment. Or later I thought about Odin, gouging his eye out so he could drink from the well of truth. I believe that suffering can bring about brilliance. The question is must it always? The general public talks about Van Gogh and his ear a lot but frankly I don’t much connect the suffering in his life to his brilliance. It much more seems like he was brilliant despite his pain, not because of it. Or at the very least I think that’s a healthier presumption for an artist to aspire to.

    I appreciate in the episode you bringing up Velasquez on the top of his game, continuing to make artistic strides and revelations while being in a quite stable position painting in the king’s court. I really hope there’s as much to learn from that story as there is in the countless stories of suffering artists.

  4. So much of the podcast resonated with me. First off I want to thank you all for having such an engaging conversation. I found myself thinking about this idea of suffering and its ability to act as a catalyst for creation, but I wonder where are the limitations of that suffering that then hinder that progress. I’m reminded of Malcolm Gladwell’s book David and Goliath where he talks about how dyslexia can catapult someone to success if they’re able to find support and after any years of hard work they have the tenacity and grit to overcome many of life’s adversities yet at the same time many individuals who have dyslexia ultimately end up in prison and never got support and their lives were just full of anger and resentment. So I guess my question is, why is it that some artists are able to channel that pain into productivity where others are crippled by it?

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