I do not buy into the romantic notion that artists need to suffer in order to make art. Suffering is part of the human condition, and the cost of caring about anything is pain. Sadness, disappointment, shame, anxiety, grief — those are all part of being a person.
However, artists are often very temperamentally perceptive and sensitive, which can make a person more vulnerable to depression and anxiety. Artists also face a variety of issues such as:
- Impostor syndrome
- Writers’ block
- Frequent rejection (submitting art, auditioning, etc)
- Performance anxiety
- Struggle with work/art/life balance
- Depression or anxiety interfering with creative motivation
I’m not going to “see past” someone’s wildly dyed hair or tattoos. I’m going to see the hair, attire choices, tattoos, and appreciate them.
I also don’t fall into the trap of thinking someone is less of an artist or less “hardcore” if they wear khakis or don’t have tattoos. Your body is your choice.
“Wow, that’s so interesting.”
“You’re just so different.”
Don’t get me wrong — most therapists are genuinely warm, nonjudmental, creative, and appreciate their fellow humans in all shapes, sizes, and attire. At the same time, though, many clients give me feedback that it’s a relief to find a counselor who is familiar with many artistic processes. Even more share that they find it easier and safer to connect when they’re not wondering if I privately think they are “weird.” I’m not operating under the assumption that your lifestyle is problematic.
While I observe significant overlap between the artistic and counterculture communities, it’s not a 1:1 ratio. However, I have yet to meet anyone who identifies as counterculture and doesn’t love and appreciate art.
I myself am a writer, dancer, yogi, SF geek, DIY crafter, and lapsed goth with many tattoos. I have extensive experience providing therapy for:
- Tattoo artists
- Stage managers
- Jewelry designers
- And more