A recent email:
Do you think being creative and artistic makes a person more depressed or prone to depression? I read a book about this a long time ago. They actually used Jonathan Winters as an example of the creative mind and artist and his bipolar disorder. Something about how being creative taps into the same part of the brain as the emotional area.
I think that being creative makes one more sensitive which could enhance one’s tendency for depression but that could also translate into increased optimism. I’ve found that focusing on art has shown me the beauty of the world in the face of calamity. I guess everyone’s chemistry is different.
Next question: Do you believe that sketching everyday makes you more conscious and in the moment? (I'm talking more like what the Buddha states about it.) I do seem to remember Dan Price talking about this also.
As I’ve written in my last two books, I know that drawing is a powerful form of meditation and very definitely enhances one’s awareness of the Now.
I guess I'm just curious if doing art everyday creates a more conscious, but also a more likely to be depressed person?
I understand the theorem you are testing here: a) Drawing makes you more sensitive so therefore b) more sensitivity leads to more depression. I know the first part is true, but is the second? And the sort of sensibility one develops through drawing is as much about knowing the outside world as it is one’s inner state, in fact more so. I find that when I draw my brain sort of goes on hold, that the things agitating me recede as I dwell in the moment.
I believe that making art and, importantly, sharing art with other people, enhances my view of the everyday and my positive outlook. I know that I can feel down some days and not even want to draw but that if I kick my butt into doing it it usually makes me feel better. Do I think that making art can drive one deeper into depression? From my limited experience, no. There are certainly many depressed, even deeply depressed people in the history of art but I don’t know that they constitute a disproportionate part of the overall community of art-makers vs. the general community.
Being neither a psychologist nor a depressive, I invite ask any readers with a POV to comment on this topic.