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?”

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • I want so much to be the person I was before… Only four years ago, I had such a positive and energetic outlook on everything in my life, but every moment since then has felt like more weight on my shoulders.

    I know it's such a common condition, and this comment section is filled with people who feel the same. So why does it feel like I'm the only one to ever feel this way, in spite of all the evidence to the contrary?

    Narcissism, I guess.

    Good video as always.

  • Do depression makes you a better artist?
    Simple answer: NO
    Infact, it makes you an even worse artist since you’re too unmotivated and too sad to even put effort in drawing anything
    I maybe a newbie(4–5 months experiences) artist, but I’m sure as hell knows that depression doesn’t help you at all

  • Being depressed never helped me make art. In fact a lot of my shitty art comes from a place of negativity, cause usually if I'm feeling bad, then chances are that I also don't want to do anything at all. Those are the periods of my life where I either want to vegetate or run away from responsibility.

    When I'm happier, I'm often more creative as well, so making art comes more natural without as much strain.
    My weakness is that I have a hard time using art to open up, to express my own feelings. A theme I'm familiar with, since I'm bad at communicating my own feelings to other people in general.

  • Lol who tf came up with this. I’m actually worse than I would be if I didn’t have some sort of bad mentality. I stopped drawing for weeks because of this lol

  • My art style changes because of my depression, I try to take my negative energy and put it into my art. But sometimes yes I try to put a bit of my sadness there mostly only the colors.

  • A year ago I was really frustrated with life and because of this I pumped out art like no tomorrow my art was creative and had variety now I basiclly have the perfect life, I don't have anything to be sad or mad about. My art is boring, predictable and my quality has gone down vastly. I'm glad that I'm a happy mentally stable person now but my passion for art has suffered vastly, my work has no enthusiasm and emotion to it anymore. The whole reason I went into art was because I wanted to vent and make a master peice of my suffering but I can't do that if I'm not suffering in the first place. My boyfriend says "why can't you transfer your suffering in art to happyness instead?" I can't do that though, in my opinion pain and art go hand in hand

  • TV Tropes: True Art Is Angsty Trope.

    When I'm depressed or anxious , I struggle to focus on art, writing in my case.

  • Thank you for making this. I’m at the best place in my life and I almost gave up drawing because I felt like it wasn’t ‘deep enough’ anymore. Thanks man

  • There is certainly a sect of art snobs out there who act as if beauty is fake and suffering is the only genuine emotion.

    One of the most common criticisms of Norman Rockwell is that he depicted an idealized world that "never truly existed."

    In reality the things he painted were everyday scenarios, more frequently experienced by the average person than the, kind of, dark or politically vocal subject matter his critics would consider authentic.

  • Man you always have quality things to say. It's like, sometimes you take the most random subjects to talk about and yet still find a way to say something on an Uncle Iroh level.

  • Depression had me avoiding writing for months…Even now, with my meds and all the ups and downs, it's really hard to me to feel in the mood even to read for inspiration. I'm currently writing two stories as I'm feeling better 🙂
    Depression just makes you hate everything about you, even what you love

  • we believe "believe" this because it has been proven that many of the artist we consider great struggled with mental health…and depression is not a drive…I think it has been romanticized. Thank You for making this video. Depression has taken a lot out of me and my happiness. I stopped drawing and making art for 2 years and a half… :c

  • This is a great topic as always 🙂

    To me art is communication as well. How to overcome things, what depression feels like, what happiness feels like. To be an artist for a living is ironically both very difficult and immensely cathartic. An artist's life challenges everything they thought they knew about themselves and what they wanted from life. I think depression in this career in many ways is also almost unavoidable because you fail and fail and fail…. so much. It's a level of rejection and sacrifice that most people would just as easily choose to avoid because why would anyone do that to themselves?! Most people feel that they would crack under that. And in fact I think even many of us artists had no idea how hard it was going to be when we started, haha. But the funny thing is that, you don't crack. You are much stronger than you realize in that journey. And, it teaches you so much. Grit, perseverance, patience, peace, humility… it teaches you what's really important in life.

    The depression is a part of the story yes, but there is so much after that part. The career of art, or music, or writing… because they are intensely vulnerable – you are sharing yourself every minute of every day. Your technique, your voice, your feelings and thoughts, everything will be out there for others to have an opinion on it. And that's not even touching on the money part. This is what makes creative careers hard in a way most others are not: the intense vulnerability. Why not instead just do any other job that's hard yes but not so emotionally exposing?

    The thing is, that the journey is beautiful even if it's hard. It teaches us an awful lot about who we are and what we can handle. And I think therein lies the beauty and the stories which can be communicated. What does pain feel like? What does being misunderstood feel like? What does being looked down upon feel like? But then, what does love feel like? And finally, being accepted after so much rejection? When you are at rock bottom – what is still there for you in that? And you realize that there is still so much beauty in the world. In going on that journey, we end up with the empathy and compassion for suffering, joy, pain, love, so much. It's important to remember that beyond just depression there is so much more we have to offer that might provide some kind of catharsis or insight to another person. Life is pretty amazing.

  • Real art is an expression of emotion. Sadness is one of those emotions and so is happiness. I challenge the modern idea that sadness is bad in fact I believe it to be necessary.
    I have issue with you saying that an artist is supposed to push the boundaries of art. You’re getting lost in “art theory” it’s not about pushing the boundaries it’s about expressing what you feel. Art is an expression at least to me. I don’t care about the art that pushes what we think is art. The art that speaks to me is the one that expresses an emotion and makes me feel something. Whether I’m trying to figure out what the artist was feeling or trying to figure out what the art is making me feel it’s all beautiful and makes art valuable to me

  • Idk, for me being at a low point in my life made my art better. Maybe more constant and more honest as it was done in times of desperation and loneliness, but since I drew a lot it made me improve like crazy. I think it fully depends on the person

  • Not really just in arts but in every aspect of life, depression is bad. Depression hit me pretty hard at one point in my life and I'm shameful to admit that I went to a very dark place and had bad thoughts of which I can't ever forgive myself for having. You'll do better in pretty much everything in life if you're happy and have fun doing what you do. Generally speaking, If you don't like what you do, look elsewhere, nobody is bound to one single path. It's also not a race. There's not much to actually do with 'living' at the grand scale of things, so the least we can do is strive to be happy and make others happy at the same time.

    Just enjoy the things you enjoy doing.

  • when I was struggling with my depression the most, my art was so much worse. I was unmotivated and I mainly pumped out art trades and posted them because that was all I could do, depression does not help at all.

  • ‪You said so much much more and wider in this video than the title can say, and not only about art, tbh. I hope that at least AT LEAST a few more millions of ppl will see this video. 💜 ✨‬

  • Depression has made me go long periods without drawing. I really wish I didn't struggle with MI, it has thrown a crowbar into my life.

  • When you’re depressed your art can shine to be the only happiness and therefore the energy input into it at a time of depression lingers in the state of still being sad but still being happy therefore being true to the human condition

  • im really confused about "throughout history painters have worked for merchants, nobility, and the church. all groups of people who were very wealthy and who's wealth today is roughly equivalent to that of the furry community." and "in the end if it really is all about making money and your own survival then why not just be a furry?" like do you think furries are just automatically rich??? i dont get it??

  • I make levels for video games.
    And I made one level about my deepest fears. I showed it to a friend and they recommended to not publish it. It's too honest. Maybe it's good to not express too much negativity. Surely maybe someone else can make art about their fears but surely I can't.

  • Depression did somewhat help my artistic skills.
    When I learned to stop drawing on my wrists with a hunting knife and instead draw on paper, I found out I was happier, that I could express the things I felt

  • I used to reallly put my time into drawing and spend entires day absorbing techniques but after I was depressed I havent sat down to draw ever again

  • Personally, I was the most, absurdly creative when I was mentally unhealthy. When for years I felt unsafe, anxious, had insomnia etc. That's when I had intense maladaptive daydreaming disorder and I was very creative because of it for years. It made me think that I am naturally creative. But no. Once I moved away from all the dangerous and bad crowd and places, the more healthy I became the less creative I was. And now that I am perfectly fine and I'm doing better than ever…. I have the hardest time creating ANYTHING. x_x I feel like I can't have both – mental health AND creativity. The act of drawing and daydreaming was my therapy and now I just… don't need it. It doesn't happen anymore.

  • Its cool that the answer was RIGHT THERE in the image of the video, rather than other videos that make you wait irrationally long to answer things that should be simple questions.

    Not saying this is a particulary simply question, just that people DO THAT.

  • depression made we want to make art more to help myself from my sadness, which after drawing a lot more to try to save myself from the sadness is probably what made me better.

    plus with what was going on in my life I had a lot going through my head, which means I had more stuff to draw.

  • people with depression lose interest in things they once loved so having depression can give you major art block with no inspiration

  • For me, my depression has been the main reason I am good at art. I got pretty depressed in the fourth grade, so I decided to draw edgy pictures of me stabbing random people. I'm still depressed, but I'm 10000% less cringy, and I'm actually pretty good for an eighth grader (at least compared to those around me (…I hope (I mean… (I think so–))))

  • Not to mention a negative metal space is incredibly detrimental to the process of learning. Frustration and never being satisfied turns something you once found fun into a source of pain, which you then start to avoid, and you're shooting yourself in the foot if you don't deal with the root cause

  • Your point about that dot reminded me of something. A couple years ago I made a piece of art that went in my high school's gallery, it was a canvas with a yellow dot in the middle and the whole point of it was that it was meaningless. It had meaning, but the point was to comment on how meaningless the art was. Yellow is a color that we're naturally inclined to see before any other (alongside red) so it draws your eye towards it causing you to focus, and the size of the dot compared to the rest of the canvas meant how little the piece actually means. Meaning that you're focusing on a piece that means very little.

    I did it cause I thought it was funny.

  • People make some really idiotic assumptions, don’t they? Someone who is depressed makes better art? Where does someone get an idea like that from? I don’t think I have depression, but sometimes I struggle with my art. I know I’ll get better as time goes on and I just leave it at that. Live and learn! 🤘

  • "When you are depressed the idea of not being depressed can be horrifying because you might become a person who is dishonest" Wow, that line hit me. I have not had depression, but I think that can apply to other things too.

  • its not it decrease artwork production and quantity from severely to extremely especially if you wasted your artwork and life in deviantart where your art have a high chance of getting 1-20views in half a year so 1 project = max 20 views in half a year

    so what ive learned artist life is brutal where human contact is limited, parents will say your hobby is a waste of time cause it dont make money and youre also easily replaceable cause no matter what your talent or quality is there always someone million time less talented when you that magically unboxed a lootbox that gaved them ez fame with 0 effort while youre mentally and even physically abuse yourself for failing or not gaining any growth

    or maybe your art is too good for this world and it dont deserve to see it

  • despite the fact that during depression i've been drawing more frequently, i've been getting easily frustrated and throwing away the drawing that i dislike instead of looking over them and working on them to improve.

  • I could write a huge paragraph about how the ‘depressed artist’ is romanticised, but I’ll try to write something short. I think a lot of art that people perceive as ‘created during depression’ was actually created during a more stable period, just containing the IDEAS present in a depressive episode. I can paint/write about a bad week when I feel better; and it might communicate those feelings but I couldn’t have made it if I was going through them at the time. Idk just an idea.

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