What is ‘it’ with artists?

I believe that all art has as its ultimate goal, the union between the material and the spiritual, the human and the divine. 

Michael Jackson 

Like many successful artists, Michael Jackson alludes to a mysterious, unseen force, larger than us, as a necessary component to the creative process. There is the artist and there is the spiritual or the divine. The artist receives inspirations from some unknowable source then works to manifest the inspirations materially to share with others.

If the artist is successful, the work of art temporarily transports us from everyday living and offers glimpses into heaven. We bestow gifts upon the best of our artists for the trick they accomplish for it is no small feat. The creative process is a pilgrimage traveled alone to places that are sometimes far and sometimes not farther than our doorstep, but a journey nonetheless. It is a process of faith and a process of plugging into the ether through the portals of our hearts, then climbing back down and working to share the experience.

Most artists seem to unglue from the creative process, unable to live in both worlds, or unable to withstand the pressure of success, or unsure of the science behind the process, or simply lonely. They tend to be the depressed and emotionally fragile among us. As Elizabeth Gilbert, author of ‘Eat, Pray, Love’, mentions during her TED talk, the artist has a reputation for being alcoholic, manic-depressives or otherwise mentally unstable people. And yet these are the very souls sensitive enough to hear the whispers of the divine. Yet rest assured, there is a science to it and artists are not alone, nor are they inherently crazy.

Lady Gaga describes her creative process in an interview with Oprah as one that involves shutting herself in to dim the ‘noise’ and hear the music. Then her process figuratively involves “wondering where the machine guns are” in order to open the door to that next album. My own creative process is less violent than that, but does involve a quiet space of nail biting and hair pulling.

So for all the artists out there feeling alone or feeling crazy, take heart, you are not alone; there is a divine creative force working with; all you need to do is find your passion and stick with it. Creating from a blank canvas, attempting to bring into union between the material and the spiritual, is no small endeavor, but it is a goal truly worthy of all the effort…and heartache; it is the reason you are here–to create in line with the best use of your talents.

With that, I say to you, from one artist to another, onward with your faith in your efforts and keep at it. Don’t despair either that your creation isn’t quite right. It will never be as perfect as the idea itself. Keep shaping, keep molding and miraculously you will see it for yourself, a glimpse of heaven, to be shared with others.



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