Yes, You Can Channel Your Stress Into Creativity. Here’s How.
DRAW IT OUT “My book came out last Tuesday. There was no event. My 45-day book tour? Happily, rightfully, canceled,” says Jerry Saltz, author of “How to Be an Artist,” which makes its debut at No. 12 on the hardcover nonfiction list this week. The art critic, self-proclaimed “failed artist” and winner of the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for criticism is weathering the pandemic with his wife, the Times art critic Roberta Smith, in Kent, Conn. Thankfully, he has some words of wisdom for cooped-up people looking to put their nervous energy to good use:
Creativity is a survival strategy. “It’s in every bone in every person’s body; it was there with us in the caves. And isolation favors art, which is an intimate practice. Right now, people are working over long periods of time at the kitchen table with the kids drawing or wreaking havoc nearby. Art has always been made under these circumstances. In many ways, this is closer to what art was for the last 50,000 years than it has been for a long time.”
You don’t need fancy supplies. “As far as materials go: noodles, paper, cardboard, plastic, pencils. Your iPhone can do a hundred thousand things. You are actually making art out of yourself. As Louise Bourgeois said, ‘Tell your own story, and you will be interesting.’”
Be willing to be embarrassed. “Never, ever think about creating something good. Good is boring. Ninety-five percent of what I write is crapola and I just cut it to find the 5 percent that might be worth putting out into the world. You have to open up and pursue that kind of radical vulnerability.”
There is no wasted time. “Nothing will happen if you’re not working. Work is absolutely the only thing that will take away the foulness, the curse and the pain that comes from not working. And, once you begin, you will go to a place so strange, so filled with possibility, you’ve already put aside your fear. Allow yourself to get lost there; just follow whatever idiot thread you get on. I do! Art tells you something you didn’t need to know until you know it.”
Make an enemy of envy. “Envy is in the service of whoever you are looking at. If you spend your time looking at other people’s better social skills, powerful connections and finances, you will become bitter and self-pitying. This will kill your art. You just have to get to work and find the multitudes inside you. We all do. Art has been with us from the beginning. It’s never not been there, and it will be there on the other side of all this.”
The article was originally published by Newyorktimes