art and pain

I am just reprinting (reblogging?) my comment over on meghan’s post about love and sneezing which evolved into a discussion about what emotions make the best art.

There were pieces snipped from the beginning and end of the comment that were only relevent to the discussion at the time. Art is, obviously, something I’ve given a lot of thought to. It’s interesting, because earlier in the discussion, when it was still about love, the point was made that there are really a lot of different kinds of love, and that it feels like it’s different for everybody. (Even though there may only be six kinds, according to one link in the thread!) Art is probably the same way. It’s so different for different people that it feels totally subjective. Maybe it is, or maybe… maybe there are only six kinds!

[click below to read my comment if you haven’t already read it]

I find that, generally speaking, “happy art” is crappy art.

I will preface this all by saying that I think all art is inherently valuable, even crappy art. Any discussion of what makes the best art is pure opinion, and hence the following are only mine.

Sure, a good artist creates at all times, and if they’re great artists, sometimes the stuff they make while happy is even worth looking at (or reading, or listening to, whatever). But most of the time, at least in my experience/opinion, that’s not the case. Just as any good novel has to have conflict, the best art comes from pain and anguish.

Any good artist knows that to make good art you have to make a lot of crappy art. It’s my opinion that there is a correlation between the amount of really good art someone makes, and the amount of pain in their life.

Of course, we could be talking about different types of art. For instance, I read a lot of science fiction. I do consider it an art, but it is not “artistic”, and hence does not need pain to fuel it. (It’s more of an intellectual thing, I think.) That having been said, most sci-fi is not, generally speaking, a “great work of art”. They are smaller, but just as important works of art.