Being An Artist Is Lonely – Dr. Ken Atchity

Being An Artist Is Lonely – Dr. Ken Atchity

Film Courage: Going back to Author Philip
Roth again, seeing interviews with him toward the later years of his life he had moved from
New York City to the Connecticut woods to be left alone. All of the journalist [who came to his new
residence] said “Isn’t it lonely here for you?” And he said “It is but I enjoy it. There is no friction, there’s nothing.” Because I guess it was after his book Portnoy’s
Complaint that he was receiving so much attention and was bombarded with people’s opinions
and this was simply an easier way for him to continue writing. I realize this is a common thing. Sort of taking one’s self off of the map
so you can create but the loneliness was worth it versus the friction. Dr. Ken Atchity, Author/Producer:  Yes and
obviously it worked for him because other people who would go off to live in the woods
end up not being productive because they think that’s going to solve their problem. I learned this the hard way because I had
to finish a book early in my academic career and I decided I’d go to my parent’s lake
house cottage for the summer and just sit there and finish it. And of course I almost got nothing done that
summer because one thing led to the other, people would stop by to visit because there
was the lake and the lawn would need attending or the cabin itself needed fixing. I used every excuse I could possibly think
of to avoid sitting down to write. This is where I worked out a lot of the theories
that are in my view of creativity is that summer because pressure is what causes creativity
to work best. Lack of pressure actually works against you. So as a producer I’d much rather have a
low-budget film to deal with with every single thing that you do has to be a solution to
the fact that you don’t have enough money to do it so it becomes more creative and you
tell the crew that. We have to have creative solutions to these
issues because money is not going to solve this. We don’t have the money. And of course studio films don’t have that
issue. They have endless and so on. But nonetheless you can see that if there
was more discipline to them a lot of them would be better than they are. When you see a film that has six or seven
writers listed you know at the beginning as screenwriters you know that this was just
caused by money. They didn’t work with writer number three
long enough. They just fired him and brought in writer
number four and that was the expensive way to do it. But there’s a challenge in the pressure
that comes and time pressure is the number one pressure more than financial even that
works on behalf of creativity if you only have a limited amount of time. I always found that I did my most creative
work a half an hour before a committee meeting because I hated committee meetings. And I still find that if I have to go to something
that I’m not wild about going to, I’m suddenly extremely creative an hour before
that. Rather than resenting that, I schedule my
creativity around that so that that’s when I do it whenever I can. I think that that’s what we have to learn
about our minds is how to kind of trick them into behaving the way we want them to behave
to producing what we want them to produce. Film Courage: You’ve talked about the Type-C
Personality and then in your book How To Escape Lifetime Security and Pursue Your Impossible
Dream – A Guide To Transforming Your Career…is it Chapter 6 “A Day In The Life Of Type-C.”
I’m wondering if we can talk about this. What is a day in the life for Type-C? Is it a structured day? Dr. Atchity: Well it’s different for every
Type-C and it’s going to be different from people who are not Type-C’s. And how it’s different is that the Type-C
has learned how to arrange his day to fit his type, to fit his or her mind. Some people are night owls and some people
are early birds and the early bird writer is not going to write late at night. She is not comfortable writing late at night,
she’s comfortable in the morning. So if she gets up at 4:00 a.m. she’s going
to give herself, as much time as she has the attention span for to do her writing in the
morning. Which is when I love to do mine because no
one interrupts you from 4 to 7 in the morning. But if you’re a night owl as Tolkien was,
he wrote LORD OF THE RINGS completely after 1:00 a.m. at night, because he was so busy
all of the time before then and had a family and everything else so he wrote in the middle
of the night. Sometimes he wrote all night and just went
off to school to teach without any sleep at all. But that was okay because he was doing what
he loved. So his day would be arranged differently than
the day of someone who is on a clock where it’s not their clock. Someone who has to show up for a nine o’clock
job is not on their own clock and their day is going to be one that probably they are
upset with most of the time. Whereas if you’re a Type-C and you’re
in charge of your own life, you’re going arrange it around the patterns that work best
for your mind and and that is a crucial part of becoming a Type-C is having your own kind
of day. I go to meetings to sell the properties that
we’ve developed and I don’t like going to meetings because it takes a lot of time
to get there and once you’re there there is a certain amount of wasted time and then
once you do the thing that’s always fun (even though you dreaded it). So I try to arrange my day so that I’m doing
something that is very productive. Like I always say I didn’t get any work
done and my wife is telling me “What are you talking about? You went to three pitch meetings at three
different networks?” Yeah, I know but I don’t feel like I got
any work done, it’s just a mental view of things. So I think every Type-C day is going to be
different and what you really need to do is if you’re interested in pursuing this for
yourself is you need to figure out what is your ideal day. Is it important to you to go for a walk? Is it important to you to meditate? Is it important to you to spend X time on
your creative work? And is it important for you to spend X time
with your family and all of those things? And you sit there and rearrange your day to
make that work, that’s what time management is all about. And how do you do it? No matter how busy you are there are busier
people. I was reading Michelle Obama’s book and
nobody could be busier than the President of The United States and the First Lady of
The United States yet some how they made time for everything they needed to make time for
which tells you there was time management at work. Because certainly if anybody had infinite
things to do or infinite work to do it would be those two. But if they can do it, you can do it, too. Film Courage: I think I read that Philip K.
Dick liked to write at night and he would stay up all night (I’m not sure if some
of it was maybe chemically induced). But then when he remarried his new wife wanted
him to write from 9-to-5. She said “I’m very middle-class, bourgeois
and I like these hours.” So he eventually got his own apartment or
space that he called The Hovel and it was dirty but he felt he did his best writing
there in this dirty space and it lent to what he was doing. Ken: Yes…the “hovel” syndrome is interesting
because I think every creative person can relate to that. President Obama called his “The Hole”
and it was always a room that could be found in any house that they were in. Where nothing could be touched, he could do
whatever he wanted with it and usually there were papers all over the floor and it was
there that he finished a book or a speech and so on. And The Hovel is the same idea. I’ve always noticed that by the weekend
my office is a complete mess, there are things all over the floor. And then by Monday it’s all ship shape. When you think about that it’s nothing but
the externalization of the creative process because the creative process is making order
out of chaos. In Saint John’s Gospel it says “In the
beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was God and he was the beginning
with God. All things were made through him.” And he goes on and talks about the light “Let
there be light.” Etcetera. So when the artist creates something, he is
taking a bunch of little things and creating order out of them and so the externalized
version of that is living in a messy place and straightening it up when as much as you
have to whenever you have to. And if there is some external force that is
forcing you to straighten it up then that creative person is not in charge of their
own life. And they can be, you can always find a way
to do it. There’s a touching short story by Doris
Lessing ‘To Room Nineteen’ (I think that’s the name of it? To Room Sixteen, maybe?) In any case it’s one of her most greatest
short stories. It’s about a house wife who longed all of
her life to have a room of her own and it was because she couldn’t be herself in her
family and she couldn’t do what she wanted to do and she didn’t feel free and I won’t
tell you how it ends because it’s not a fun ending. But it’s a very tragic example of what happens
if you don’t take charge of your own creative life. Interestingly Tolkien wrote a very introspective
piece called ‘Leaf By Niggle.’ Strange title but Niggle was the name of painter
who had this amazing vision of this spectacular forest and his vision was so clear that he
could see every tree in the forest, every animal in the forest clearly, every leaf on
every tree in the forest and because he was so busy he never got around to painting more
than a single leaf. That’s the way the story ends up. And it’s really Tolkien’s agonized argument
for why he had to write in the middle of the night because he determined that he was not
going to be Niggle. Even though he wrote something like 40 books
on linguistics and different languages and of course…Lord Of The Rings and The Silmarillion
and many other great works he felt that he had barely gotten to one tree in his forest
and only that because he wrote all night. So that is a terrible thing to kind of carry
around is the belief that you can do amazing thing which you don’t have time to do them. And the answer is, that’s not right, you
do have time. I mean where did Michelangelo find his time? Where did Leonardo da Vinci find his time? They all had the exact same number of hours
that we have and your job is to take your vision seriously and find those hours to make
it happen. Film Courage: Or someone like [Author] Alice
Munro when she first started out was I guess raising four children and she didn’t want
the other housewives in the neighborhood to know that she was a writer because she thought
that she would get the “weird” label, which she ended up getting and she didn’t
care anyway but…I guess when you win a Nobel Prize it takes all of that away. But she would [write] when the children were
napping and if the other housewives knocked on the door she would put all of her writings
away. She didn’t want people to know. I realize that stigma is probably no longer
today… Dr. Atchity: No, it’s still there. It originates in people’s families and it’s
when you announce to your father or your mother that you’re going to be a writer or you
are going to be a circus clown or you are going to be a dancer or you are going to be
an actress. And that is where it starts because the normal
response is “What are you going to do for a living?” And that haunts you. There’s another one of my books where I
talk about learning (as you go into the creative life) learning who your true friends are and
learning who your friendly associates are because you lose most of your friendly associates
when you make a decision to go from a rational life to a creative life. I once gave a regular class at UCLA that was
called Keeping Your Spirits Up For Creative People. And one time there were a bunch of actresses
in the class and at the beginning of the class I said “Let’s go around the circle and
everyone introduce themselves and tell me your name and where you are from and what
is the worst question that you could be asked at a bar or a cocktail party in Los Angeles
and how do you respond to it?” And one lady said one lady said she was from
Arkansas and her name was Jo and the worst question that she had in LA was “When are
you going to go back to Arkansas and work in the Post Office again?” And I said “And how do you answer that? That’s terrible!” And she goes “Usually by bursting into tears
and leaving the room.” And I said “Well, hopefully this class will
find some help for that.” The next woman said her name was Jenny and
she was from California and she said the worst question I have is “What have you been in
big lately that I’ve seen?” And I said “Yes, that’s a terrible question,
too. So what is your answer?” And she goes “The Pacific Ocean.” And I always loved that because it showed
that here’s a creative person who has figured out how to protect her mind from the inevitable
things that are going to happen in the big world. People are not born with sensitivity. They don’t walk out of their homes on a
way to a party going “I’m going to be particularly sensitive today.” And the first thing they say to an actress
they meet is “What have you been in big that I’ve seen?” It’s not because they are mean or that they
are nasty people (but maybe they are). It’s probably because they aren’t being
sensitive and you having that answer instantly bonds you with them and makes them respect
you for respecting yourself enough to not take their questions seriously. You don’t ever have to answer any question
that somebody gives you unless you feel like it so when she answers it that way she disarms
the whole situation. Whereas the first girl is not doing such a
good job because she shouldn’t be going to parties until she can answer that question
about going back to Arkansas and working for the Post Office. And that’s another example of protecting
your mind and not protecting your mind and having the introspection to know how to deal. And you were talking about whether people
react to your deciding to be creative. You know I always say it’s like there’s
this guy down the street who has been painting in his garage for the last ten years and the
neighbors are talking they’ve been talking about him as if he’s a crackpot. He’s been doing that for 20 years whatever? And then one day they read in the paper that
one of his paintings sold for a million dollars and what do they say? “I always knew the guy was a genius? He had to be a genius to work that hard.” But everything suddenly changes when the world
accepts your creativity. But the only way you are going to get to that
point is if you absolutely control what you’re doing and believe in it yourself and even
if you don’t believe in it, keep acting as though you do. In other words you don’t have to believe
in things. You don’t have to feel good in order to
work and you don’t have to feel good in order to do good work. You can work and normally when you work you
can get rid of these feelings anyway. So this is all examples of dealing with the
creative mind and how to get it to be your friend as opposed to be something you are
scared of and don’t want to take off to a cabin in the woods. Film Courage: Well I noticed with A STAR IS
BORN (which is up for an Oscar, we’re just about a month away) what struck me about the
film was the loneliness of the creative process and the lack of people around them when they
were working on things and whether it was his drinking or whatever it was, but that
it was so lonely, It was just them and their material. Yes they had handlers and dancers around them
and different things but when they were home it was very lonely. I though that was very interesting. Dr. Atchity: Yes, it’s the kind of loneliness
that you can’t really describe to people who are not part of it. So after awhile you stop trying to describe
it. Maybe you go to a shrink and talk to the shrink
about it. One of my clients is a shrink for creative
people and probably half the people in Hollywood business go to him. And they all have the same problems having
to do with the unbearable heaviness of what they do and the fact that it is a lonely process
that no one understands. Like I’m a producer and people say “What
does the producer do?” And I have to give a Pacific Ocean kind of
answer to that because it is a long conversation and nobody understands it and nobody’s really
that interested anyway, so it’s just that’s what you are dealing with in the creative
world. You are trying to articulate things that are
alien to most people who are not living creative lives and it’s a burden to bear but it gets
easier to bear the more lightly you take it, when you don’t take it that heavily. When you have a dog or a cat or something
that makes you feel human. If you cook, like I love cooking and I love
playing tennis and I’m not thinking creative thoughts when I’m cooking or playing tennis. I’m just doing those things. So I think you just have to give yourself
the chance to be with your own mind and figure it out and realize that you can control it. I always think the creative mind has these
parts to it that the artist really needs to be aware of. And the parts are there’s a great big bunch
of it if you imagine the mind like a big globe, there’s a huge continent in the middle of
it that I call The Continent Of Reason. And it is all of the established things in
your life. It’s your entire education, it’s your
ability to tell time and how many languages you can tell time in and how many languages
you can tell it in. It’s even language because if you weren’t
on that continent you wouldn’t need a language right? If you weren’t communicating with millions
of people you wouldn’t need languages. So everything that’s orderly is from that
continent of reason. And then there’s these islands all over
the place that are each individual and they don’t have anything to do with the continent
and on those islands, strange things can happen. I call those the visionary islands of a mind
and the most people are trained as they’re growing up when their parent talked them out
of being a painter and talked them into being a dentist you know? Or talked them out of being a ballerina and
talked them into being a teller at the bank, those people are trained to be members of
the continent, to be good members of the society that is the continent of reason where everything
is orderly, where you show up at nine o’clock, you don’t show up at 9:05. You know if you show up at quarter to nine,
that’s good. But quarter after 9:00, that’s the end of
the job. So those people are raised that way and the
artist refuses to be raised that way. He wants to visit all of these islands and
he wants to somehow do something with those islands and eventually he wants to introduce
those islands to the continent because it takes stuff from the continent (like language)
in order to write a story. It takes stuff from the continent like color
and lines and framing to be a painter. And if you don’t know those basic conventions
you can’t be a painter. So you learn then but your goal as an artist
is to make them different than anything that’s ever been on the continent before right? And eventually if you succeed and just as
jumping way ahead then what you’ve done is now part of the continent if you’re succeeded. And I’ve never heard that put more eloquently
than in a brilliant little book called Picasso by Gertrude Stein that everybody artistic
should read. But one of the things she says in there is
that everybody thought that what Pablo was seeing was different but he was only seeing
what he was seeing. He was not seeing what anyone else was seeing. He was just seeing what he was seeing. And after awhile he started painting what
he was seeing and only what he was seeing and before long suddenly we were seeing what
he was seeing. And that kind of explains the whole process
by which an original vision gets translated into a classic. Picasso is now considered a classic painter
in terms of history of art and only because he saw things differently and had the courage
and strength to convey his vision and then finally his vision started catching on because
somebody bought a napkin for a million dollars you know and he was no longer the crazy painter
which he was absolutely before that commercial breath through and that’s part of the excitement
of it is to see how this changed culture by sticking to their eccentric sort of anti-cultural
stance. We’re talking about how the artist in anti-cultural
in the beginning because he’s pursuing his own private vision and when his private vision
begins to be accepted by the larger culture then he becomes an established artist and
that sounds good to the persons who live on the continent of reason but to the artist
that becomes dangerous and fraught with peril because he was never interested in being like
the people on the continent and now he is one of those people. So what does he do? He goes through periods if he’s Picasso. He starts writing different kinds of books
if he’s a writer and his publishers don’t like that because they like him to write thrillers
because they’re part of the continent of reason and the continent of reason invented
pigeon holes and niches. You know “find your niche young man” someone
once told me “find your niche” because I was trying to do a magazine about dreams
and the arts and he was the editor of Psychology Today and the word niche. And that’s the continent of reason telling
you you are too far out there, it’s not going to work. Okay, well we stubbornly continued (my co-editor
and I) and we created a magazine that lasted for ten years published in New York and so
on but only because we ignored him telling us to find the niche. When we found that niche we have to think
of “What are we going to do next?” And that’s what Picasso has to think about. So he switched to his blue period. He switches to his cubist period and so on
just because he’s competing with himself. Part of the culture is now earlier Picasso
and that is a tremendous burden for the successful artist to bear. Think about [Igor] Stravinsky whose greatest
were his first works. But the guy lived to be 90 years old but the
Rite of Spring and Petrushka and The Firebird Suite were all written when he was much younger. How does a guy like that lie through the next
40 years? With great difficulty and experimentation
and switching from composing to conducting and lots of other things (it wasn’t like
he didn’t have a worthwhile life). But he was always nagged and haunted that
his art in a sense was premature when it comes to healthy, happy mental development. These are the kind of issues that artists
deal with and that’s why a lot of people tell you “Don’t do that. Just work fo the Post Office.” Work in a secure position. Film Courage: It didn’t work for Bukowski. Dr. Atchity: No, it didn’t. He was a good friend when he was around and
talk about hovels. I once tool my five-year-old daughter to his
house to pick up something because he was speaking at the poetry series at Occidental
College that I was in charge of. And she walked into the house and she said
at the top of her voice “Dad, this is the filthiest house I’ve ever seen in my life!” And it’s true, there was toilet paper on
the flow, there were dirty dishes all over the floor, it was a mess. But he wrote incredible poems that moved everybody. When I went to Italy as a Fulbright professor
I was surprised to learn that rather than Wallace Stevens and Hemingway (all of which
I was prepared to teach) and Melville, they only wanted to hear about Bukowski. His books were translated into Italian (all
of them) and he was a mess and his personal life was a mess and he kind of liked it that
way. He never ran out of material to write. And he’s one of the first who was able to
sustain a long career without feeling trapped by his previous career. He was happy kind of doing what he was doing
over and over again. I was talking about publishers wanting a writer
to constantly do thrillers because that’s where his niche is and that’s where he should
do thrillers. But the writer might want to write romance
and the publishers are not interested. Wait a minute? We’ve made 6 million dollars out of you
as a thriller writers and I don’t know if you can even speak to the romance audience. Well I’d like to try? Well okay, then we’re going to have to use
a different name. So a typical response to an artist even like
Agatha Christie to have four or five pen names and write under many names. Also, Stephen King for example. Because they want to write different things,
they don’t want to be repetitive and force their art into a mold as part of the continent
of reason. I’ve always seen that those are the two
big things in the artist’s mind but then there’s the third thing which I call the
managing editor which is part of the mind which sees this whole thing. It’s similar to meditators telling you that
there’s this third eye, this watcher that you have to develop to see and be thinking
to realize that it is not you. That there is more to you than just the thinking. Well that’s kind of what we talk about in
one of my books. The managing editor is the one who says I’ve
got to negotiate a deal between the continent and the islands so that we can actually get
this book done because we need things from the continent like time which the continent
is in charge of because on the island there is no time things happen all at once and there
is no beginning, middle and end, it’s just everything happens at once. But on the continent that’s not allowed. Things have to have a beginning, middle and
end in that order. Unlike the Italian director who said that
a movie did have to have a beginning middle and end but not necessarily in that order. He was giving an island response to a continent
question. And the question was does a movie have to
have a beginning, middle and end? He goes “Yes, but not in that order.” And the managing editor is the part of your
mind that sees this and goes okay we’re going to negotiate. If you say I am going to this cabin to write
this book no matter how much it takes, I’m going to stay there until it is done. The continent freaks out because it’s going
“Well I’m going to starve to death. What’s going to happen if you never finish
the book?” But the managing editor works out a deal and
goes “We are only going to do two hours a day, three hours a day and we are only going
to do it for ten weeks.” And at the end of that with that many hours,
it would be done and here’s the path. So the continent is allowed to relax because
this intervening force is told this crazy island wants to write this book, you guys
can come out and do this but you are going to have this much time and blah, blah, blah,
in this compartment. That’s what I think makes the sane artist
as opposed to someone who is not sane who is working out deals like that like with themselves. Maybe not so formally but that’s what they
do. They make bargains to keep their art going. Film Courage: Well in the case of [Charles]
Bukowski the sort of “slavery” of his 9-to-5 job (if you want to call it that) was
the impetus for a lot of his stories and it helped fuel him and give him that chip on
his shoulder and put a voice to what so many people felt. So in that case, it’s as if it worked for
him. Dr. Atchity: Yes and Wallace Stevens who was
one of my favorite American poets and oddly similar to Bukowski in very interesting ways,
was selling insurance all of his life. He was writing his greatest poem like Sunday
Morning on a train commuting from Hartford to New Haven wearing a three piece suit because
he was an insurance salesman and that’s what he had to do. T.S. Elliot was working as a bank teller when he
was writing The Wasteland. So yes, ordinary jobs can be used to spark
creativity. And the artist like Bukowski in his later
years found himself more and more troubled when he had an unstructured life and didn’t
have to go anywhere.

100 thoughts on “Being An Artist Is Lonely – Dr. Ken Atchity”

  • There were so many big artists die without knowing they are big.. Cause they couldnt leave their 9-5 job, maybe they married young and they have to look after their kid, or they understand who they are when they were too old, and they let it gone.. So we know just the people who were getting surface when they are drowning like Gogh, Schubert , Wide, Poe etc. and the others cant get the surface, and we were deprived from their art, they arent exist ; music paint, poem etc…

  • The hardest part of being an artist imo no matter what you do is the ups and downs of creativity
    When inspired everything seems to go perfectly things come together without over thinking everything you feel like you have a purpose a mission personal fulfilment but the times when I'm feeling completely uninspired I begin to question my existence my personal worth i feel useless it becomes incredibly difficult to focus when I'm feeling like that it makes me want to destroy everything I've created
    I become very reclusive during those times and extremely depressed and irritable
    Anybody have any advice on how they overcome those uninspired times?

  • I don’t necessarily agree that the artists must be lonely. The festival culture is a good example of how creation and community and co-inhabit the same spaces. But in the standard avenues, yes I also think it’s lonely.

  • It's "The Firebird," not "The Firebird Suite." Get it right, Dr. Atchity. The full-length Firebird ballet was a major Stravinsky work, not the suite which was cobbled later from the ballet. It shows great ignorance. Same as with those fools who refer to Tchaikovsky's "Nutcracker Suite" completely ignorant of The Nutcracker Ballet.

  • What works for one person doesn't for another. I couldn't disagree more about pressure leading to creativity. Having a low budget makes being thrifty a necessity but in no way shape or form can I say that more constraints, stress, and chaos will lead to room for an artist to spread their wings and try new things. Why do people retreat to be creative – simple… to get away from the pressures that don't allow for breathing room. If you're a procrastinator, you'll find an excuse not to work no matter where you are.

  • People working 9-5 jobs just for survivals sake would not have the same time Leonardo or Michaelangelo had to become artists.

  • There have been plenty of people without talent selling works of art for far more than a million dollars , I mean people with less than a years experience possibly none. People just get lucky.

  • I can't disagree with the good Dr.,- pressures matter, but I've gotten a hell of a lot done alone at 6000' on Mt. Shasta. Or alone, in August in Valencia Spain, when the city's empty… I've one massive (250k words) book (including a to-form screenplay) on Amazon. Perhaps some day I'll actually push it. …it's truly 4 books under one cover. Writing book five this summer… Best, *A.

  • yes, being an artist is lonely BUT, the joy of stepping back and seeing your work complete is an absolute joy non artists will never know.

  • You have to have had lots of life experiences before u go out there, otherwise without friction what is there to write? I get it tho, I don't even have the peace to READ a book let alone write one with all the distractions.

  • There is a legend that between the hours of 1 am and 4 am , there exists a window of opportunity to write or create masterpieces. I believe this legend is totally true.

  • Now i feel normal. Cause in my resume i tell that i work best under pressure. Thought I was alone tho feeling / acting like this.

    BLESS to all the creative minds here in the comments section.

  • Loneliness can be a period of recovery from the continent. It can be a necessary balance in order to remain creative.

  • Thanks for sharing this lovely interview Film Courage. I agree with Dr Atchity that time pressure and a low budget is the best stimulus for creativity. Our low budget documentary NAKED explores the collaboration between an artist and 3 life models, and it documents life drawing sessions in a studio. Check out the trailer for NAKED here: This film has a groundbreaking sequence that shows the male gaze and the female gaze side by side for the very first time. Get it on Google Play: ; Amazon Prime: ; iTunes: This film will change the way you look at art and your body!

  • "..the higher reaches of abstraction demand long periods of solitude and intense concentration which are hard to find if a man is subject to the emotional demands of a spouse and children."-Anthony Storr, Solitude: A Return to the Self

    "Creativity requires resisting these temptations and preserving a strong measure of independence. When we are with others, it is expedient to conform; when we are with ourselves, it is more natural to be independent."-Rae Andre', Ph.D, Positive Solitude

  • Creating is nothing to do with loneliness, in my experience. It's done in a kind of disembodied, de-identified state, wherein one barely knows one exists at all, as a self, let alone feels anything about the fact that there is no other self nearby. It is the periods, daily or otherwise, wherein creating is not happening, that's when the loneliness can come.

  • I went into shock when my so called friend called all artists" Pigs", because they were not available ..I try to be an artist and sometimes the pressure from people has found me handing over my power to them and being away from my creativity ,I do Struggle sometimes not with being alone but some kind of acceptance of being different and accepted at the same time ,I know its my own insecurity and i need to learn self acceptance come what may …I love this interview and the understanding that is expressed ..than you .

  • Art is one of the most spiritual actions you could do. It works better when you let it flow from you and not push it.

  • I needed to see this. ive always known isolation is the key but i really needed to remember it's okay to do it to work.

  • Good night and thanks for all information that you give us. Please can you traslate to spanish their interview. They are so important and interesting. Thank you again

  • I am never less alone than when alone, nor less at leisure than when at leisure. Scipio Africanus

  • "Writing at its best is a lonely life. The writer grows in public stature, as he sheds his loneliness, and often his work deteriorates. For he does his work alone, and if he is a good enough writer, he must face eternity, or the lack of it, each day. It is because we have had such great writers in the past, a writer is driven far out past where he can go; out to where no one can help him." — Ernest Hemingway

  • i can relate to this video. When i have time off i get bugger all done but when its time to go to my soul destroying 9-5 job all of a sudden i become very creative and resent the fact that have to work rather than creating art. Very strange.

  • "Money justifies what is frivolous if unpaid for." (Virginia Woolf). As true today as it was in 1929. If you fully support yourself and your art, you owe no one an explanation or apology.

  • This man is speaking the truth on many things! I see very mixed quality on this channel. Much delsuion and incompetence but this guy is legit! Kudos to him!

  • May I ask the name of the person interviewing him and the team that helped put together all his interviews on film courage? I would like to say thank you to them and send a gift for them. These videos have really resonated and inspired me. My email is [email protected] Thanks Ron

  • It's funny but although I love the dead of night I realised long ago that my mind is sharpest in the early morning. But drawing, at night with a film on TV in the background is when I feel most content, however, content doesn't necessarily produce the best work? Or does it? Maybe I fool myself into believing that because I just love the pure indulgence in the midnight hour…..

  • Pain equals inspiration for me. I'll retreat for six months then come out take it all in and then back to the cave

    Where else in life can we find true freedom? Art, music and ALL forms of creativity have the ability not just be an individual or group passionate process. It's able to travel some unseen conduit, transcending time and space in it's malleable mediums becoming a part of the life of the recipient's emotions, life, love, lust or hate. Nothing else can galvanize change nor snip the umbilical lifeline. The process, the action or lack there of are, reside in the Anarchic & wild. Whispering ghosts. Instructors that come the impulse. To make, mold, sing or break. Only to fit it all back together. Together and outside the facade of society

  • An artist is a vessel… A vessel that carries imagination, self-awareness, memories, and complex emotions. The artist, whether by nature or nurture, has the ability to combine all of these things, thus transforming them into a unique product that can never be completely duplicated by someone else. The release of those things can be very cathartic, but once they have brought their vision to fruition, the vessel that they are is left as an empty one: An artist is fire, and their loneliness is smoke.

  • This interview with Ken was so incredibly helpful to me. In our culture, unless your parents or a mentor pass on wisdom about living an artist life and initiate you, then you go through life uninitiated, not understanding why you are an outsider and thinking somethings wrong. America is especially hard on artists. We are told to get a real job, and all of this, you know the drill. Ive found Europeans to be more supportive to artists in general. It was great to hear Ken speak about the artists way so deeply. Camille Paglia is another who speaks extremely well about this.

  • I'm reading through the comments and I love to see there are no negative, useless, volatile, or destructive inputs, but only those that offer insight to a shared experience. Says a lot about folks like us, artists, oftentimes mislabeled societal oddities, who take the time to speak with forms that dwarf words and reverberate to the grandest depths of the soul.

  • I hate that I love loneliness but it is what fuels my creativity. I also enjoy my own company. I do my best work on the island when the continent is kept out. 🏝

  • Tell me about it, I haven't seen a happy soul in years, it would be great to sit in my studio or my workshop just talking c##p with somone …even once a week would be great, but its August now and it hasn't hapenned yet this year!! (English 'artist' in the French countryside). Et oui, bien sur je parler Francais!! You are all invited. 👍

  • I prefer to be alone when I'm painting or in my creative mode, but not lonely as I'm in my zone, but weirdly I feel the loneliness when I'm lacking inspiration and I'm having a creative block, its hard to explain the feeling, kinda emptiness but still hundreds or emotions going through my head and still unable to channel that into art

  • All artists, book writers, dancers and singers are alone. even Actors suffer from bouts of lonliness, sometimes leading to a spiral of addiction.
    To beat lonliness is to create more art, and yeah you still have a choice to go out and socialize.
    Just because you draw doesn't mean you don't speak.
    Yet most of us artists prefer being a little alone.

  • This is great, he speaks about the art life perfectly. Never heard of the good Dr before. Also reminded me to brush up on those socially awkward party responses, juuuust in case.

  • He went to his parents Lake cottage to get the work done. Another Artist with a privileged background. It really does help in getting your foot in the door

  • I don’t feel alone when I’m creating. I love being alone. I am most sad when I have art to get out but family obligations and personal relationships get in the way.

  • I am usually an artist all my life but I don’t have enough social skills because my disability. I do wish that I have friends, relationship and better job. I had difficulty finding friends and relationships with people because I was abused by my father who never believe me. So I stayed away from him and usually pray to God and Jesus Christ.

  • There are definitions of lonely that do not include sadness; loneliness can simply mean the state of being alone. Check it out.

  • I find that people, tv and even this mobile are distractions and I can create with so much clarity when I cancel everything and everyone out.
    It's a hermit lifestyle but it works best for me as I tend to seek approval or validation from outside source of what I created instead of believing in my creation

  • I tried going off to a cabin in a state park to finish a book. No tv. No internet. No cell coverage. It was too quiet. It drove me crazy so, I went home and finished the book.

  • Thanks for that interview. It was really a pleasure to listen to such a clever man))

  • Creativity isn't lonely, but it is private. It happens in the mind and heart and only comes out when it's given a protected space in which to live. You can't force it and if you do then all you get is a stunted version of what it really is. You can't deny it what it needs… the room to become what it is. That's what being creative is. Giving your mind and heart the space to become what it is.

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