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  • Michelle Cordova

The Tortured Artist...

There is the image of an artist, distraught, angry, and emotional, putting all of their rage, and pain into their art. Painting with a vigor, fueled by the torture they feel in this cruel, and unforgiving world (I exaggerate for effect).

Every artist I’ve ever talked with about the image of the tortured artist agrees, in times of emotional upheaval, painting becomes difficult to focus on, and finishing quality artwork becomes a challenge.

Painting, or making any kind of art, can also have a healing effect, but when emotions run very high, getting into the head space for making art is not always possible.

The dichotomy of the image of the tortured artist against the reality of what an artist experiences when their energy must veer away from their art, and focus on other aspects of their life, fascinates me.

I have noticed in times of emotional turmoil, the creative energy is actually still there. It simply shifts form. For me the creative energy moves to writing, mainly poetry. In times of emotional upheaval, my number of finished paintings decrease, as my number of written poems increase.

Writing Poetry 2022
Writing Poetry

Poetry is a way to write out what I’m feeling inside. I honestly struggle to express those deepest feelings otherwise. I believe this is the root of why I am an artist.

I paint, write, and sing to express myself, because talking is simply too darn difficult.

Maybe it’s not that the tortured artist does not exist, but the image of the disturbed, yet productive painter is an exaggeration.

The reality is, art can be a challenge to create when things get tough, but art is always there, waiting to be expressed, shifting forms, ready

for when the artist is ready to

create again.

Thank you for reading.


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