Artists Aren’t Always Sad
Updated: Jan 31
Artists aren’t always sad.
Sure, I listen to or write sad songs to purge the ever-building tension inside my soul and to get out some gutteral sobs. I write about dark or sad things (which is just part of reality, by the way) to give myself and, hopefully, others some perspective. I‘m sure if I painted, I would use provocative earthy tones, like forrest green and cerulean blue to depict the richness of rock bottom—or even the roots below the surface of the ground.
But artists aren’t always sad.
Sometimes, sad art, in whichever form it is displayed, provides happiness. Writing, playing music, drawing, stringing beads together for a new line of jewelry, they all by your lonesome on a Friday night—it’s therapeutic. It’s a sense of purpose built from passion (see Outgrowing Depression and Anxiety), a catapult into strength, boldness, confidence, and...right, happiness.
Sad art is not always a protective barrier or a self-defense mechanism. It’s not always a way to seek attention like many have speculated. It’s a blank canvas for self-expression and the divulgence of empathetic abilities.
There have been plenty of times I’ve written sad poetry, not because I myself was sad but because my peers were. And the opportunity to see their situations from their eyes, though easily mistaken as a curse, is truly a gift, a chance to sit with someone else and speak his or her soul’s language—which also breeds understanding and community.
So, yes, you may see or read art that’s terrifying, art that depicts monsters, which may simply symbolize internal battles people fight every day. You may see or read art that seethes with themes of depression or loathing. And it may be confusing or off-putting at first glance because art often imitates life. *You may grow concerned about this artist. Understandable. But really stop and consider.
Because artists aren’t always sad.
*If you or someone you know is sincerely battling depression and may be suicidal, please do not hesitate to get help! Everyone needs a support system, and it’s not too late to reach out.
National Suicide Prevention: 1-800-273-8255