The on-going saga of the Artist as Highly Sensitive Person

Hi y’all out there! Thanks for visiting.

From the site , 21 Signs You’re a Highly Sensitive Person, author Jenn Granneman Dec. 12 2019 .

I am looking at their list of 21 Signs you are a HSP. Let’s delve into this from the Creative’s point of view.

First, remember, I am not giving professional advice here. I and possibly you are not qualified to do so, making these writings my opinion. That said…

As per my previous post, the Refuge says there are 21 signs.

Ugh. I’ve been reduced to 21 points. At least more than 7.

As the ground work, I will begin by detailing my reactions to each point one at a time. Ultimately I hope to give an insider-artist’s take on these points. See if you can relate! Let’s go!

1. You abhor violence and cruelty of any kind.

Amazing first ‘sign’. Why the first? Perhaps this ‘trait’ defines the HSP more than any other.

The question is, how can we compete in this cold cruel world, full of competition, Alpha Males, brutish thugs, cheaters, scammers and con artists when we abhor violence and cruelty of any kind (or the threat thereof…)?

If you are a HSP Artist this aversion can become a trap. Can’t I just keep creating unicorns, princesses, heroes and sublimate my anger and socio-sexual issues into cartoons I post on Deviant Art? OK, go ahead.

As Highly Sensitives We don’t want to deal with conflict, between people we know, in school, between different cultures, our own society, in the art world. We don’t like the aggression and competition required to market our products.

It is not that our work must directly address violence and cruelty. But it is something we have to acknowledge and deal with. It is part of being honest.

The late novelist David Helwig once told me, “When your reaction to an idea is, “Oh, I can’t go THERE!”, that’s where you have to go.” He added “That’s where the story wants you to go.”

And that is where you should go too, with your art. Or at least not run away.

It is rather metaphysical, but what if, like the sculpture already existing inside the block of marble, your art already exists, a potential connected to you and you alone, and it is the art that wants you to make it real. But what if this art has elements you shy away from?

“From the maelstrom churning ceaslessly through the Artist, the Art seeks to rend moments of absolute stillness.” So I felt and wrote twenty years ago.

How to do this? After all, the art world is just as full of ‘Alpha male’ types as anywhere else. Our creative world is no refuge. The Godfather of the Alpha Male Artist is Picasso. While perhaps the fiercest hardest working artist of all time, he was not a nice guy. Cruel, misogynistic, thief of ideas, a crappy father. Who wouldn’t want to be that successful?

But rather than feel perpetually disadvantaged, realize that you exist in a parallel but completely different stream. This Alpha world of competition and domination, even inside our ‘Art World’ does not apply.

It is a blow, perhaps, to realize you have talents or skills and abilities superior to alpha types, but will not likely usurp them. Hard on the ego.

What’s the answer? Dr. Ken Robinson calls it The Element. That place in society where your skills and character best fit to make a meaningful contribution to life. Even if you have to invent this place yourself, break new ground. You may never support yourself just by your creative abilities, or at least as you once envisioned, but that does not mean you can’t find a way and keep going.

Dr. Wayan Dyer calls this self-realization. Breaking free of the Tribe and its constrictions.

We all grow up in The Tribe. The social group that seeks nothing more than keeping us in our place, obey the rules, be subservient, allow ourselves to be manipulated, work for others’ profit, and then take our money.

Time to step away. Time to leave the glow of the communal fire. It takes courage, but you have it.

What holds us back, what we feel, is fear. And this is natural. Our victory is moving ahead in our lives and into the unknown with our art though we may be secretly terrified, every day.

Robert Hughes:
The greater the artist, the greater the doubt. Perfect confidence is granted to the less talented as a consolation prize.

Don’t worry about fear. You experience it, but don’t worry about it. Keep going. Work. Remind yourself when you are stuck, are stopped, are fearful, have to deal with negativity: At any moment that is all we have, the Work. In the end, there is just You and the Work. Make something.

What we create, with honesty, will affect people today, will persist and reverberate through society long after we are gone.

And THAT is how we win.

Love, all.