The Highly Sensitive Person as Artist, Signs 12 and 13
Visit highlysensitiverefuge.com , 21 Signs You’re a Highly Sensitive Person, author Jenn Granneman Dec. 12 2019 .
Disclaimer: I am not giving professional advice here. These are my opinions. That said…
12. Change is extremely upsetting. It causes painful over stimulation.
13. Sometimes your environment is your enemy. It causes painful over stimulation.
Too much stimulation. Too much.
Relationships breaking down, phases in your life ending or beginning. Sometimes wonderful, like becoming a mother or father. Sometimes difficult, like being forced to move or even graduating from school.
The antidote for the over-stimulated is routine. The known.
This is because routine is extremely comforting, or at least not as stressful. And change is very stressful.
Yet we need some change in our lives. How do we evolve if we do not change?
Some Creatives are like bulls. It was Picasso’s symbol, and he’s our Alfa-Creative.
The HSP-Creative, however, walks a tightrope between stress and calm, over stimulation and isolation.
Thankfully, for Creatives, the creative process itself absolutely thrives on routine.
Sitting down at the same time, every day no matter what, to write.
Going into the studio every day and not leaving until you get something creative accomplished.
Practicing your instrument every day, hung over, sick with a cold or distracted by nice weather.
The painter lays out his paints in the same order on the pallet. The potter sets up at her wheel exactly the same way. The writer wears the same outfit to write in. The piano player’s stool or bench is always at the same height and distance from the keys.
But we are also designed to evolve, to change.
HSPs, even Creative HSPs can certainly ‘rise to the occasion’ and take on big, involved projects and adventures. How we do it is something we learn. And later, sometimes wonder how we pulled it off.
The HS Person may spend long periods…days, weeks, even years, without significant change in large areas of their life. But this does not mean that they are static.
Rather, this type of HS Person’s life evolves in big leaps between long plateaus. We can surprise others by our sudden changes.
To get to that point we may plan, organize, research, procrastinate, make a false start or two, talk to others, get advice. In general, we build up momentum and make sure that when we expend our energies and take on all that extra stress we are ready for it.
These leaps can be too much for some. Musicians as a group are famous for having extremely talented people who make that jump to the next plateau of success – where many only dream of getting to – and don’t like it there. Or can’t live there any more, or at all, and retreat.
Some HSP Creatives grapple constantly with success. It is not that we are afraid of success, but afraid that success will bring more change and more pain than benefit.
Why do writers leave their countries to write? Why do some literally go into hiding? Because the attention as well as the criticism that comes with the praise is unbearable.
Such anonymity may put the HSP Creative ‘behind the glass’ in the recording studio, behind the scenes of the stage. They may become famous as “session men” or show runners. The only preforming musician who has kept his identity secret is Buckethead, that I know of.
Writers, screen writers and directors use non-de-plumes.
Point is, there are many outlets for the Creative person that provide very controlled environments and routines, and out of the spotlight.
Except in the world of visual art. While the visual artist can personally remain out of the spotlight, there seems to be a need to ascribe a ‘genius biography’ to the successful artist. It is not enough for the work itself to be important, moving, stunning, or memorable. If a collector spends some big dough on a work they do not want to know that the person who created it is, outwardly, just another Joe Blow or Jane Smith, who lives in the burbs, drinks boxed wine and cuts their grass on the weekends.
They want a unique story to go with their unique artwork.
Steve Martin: “Very few people know this, but the Mona Lisa was painted in a single stroke.”
The artist might be very professional and ply their craft like a 9 to 5 job, but the collector wants to believe that there is magic in the work they just purchased.
And there is magic, that’s the irony. But they don’t understand how it happens. And often, neither does the Creative! We work and work and work hard. Or sometimes the work pours out of us effortlessly and its good. We don’t really know. So the non-creatives need a story.
In truth, the HSP-Creative might live in the burbs and they aren’t the same as their neighbors. But there’s little magic in that.
That’s why the visual artist is expected to have an identity, a pitch, a story, a myth, even if very little of it is accurate.
“He started drawing at the age of four…” Wait! What kid doesn’t draw at the age of four or five?
“Pablo Picasso was a better painter than his father by the age of fifteen. ”
True, but Picasso’s father was a great art teacher, not a good artist, and by fifteen Picasso’s father had been teaching and coaching Pablo for 8 solid years.
And Picasso is not even his real last name. Pablo and Picasso are his first and last given names. His real last name is Blasco. He didn’t like Picasso Blasco, so dropped the Blasco. Myth making.
It goes back at least as far as Vasari in 1568.
But the HSP Creative can more or less hide behind this persona. Like Andy Warhol.
It’s a tightrope walk, this crazy, stimulating life. But you can do it.