Chapter 1

Creativity hurts

1.3b – Escapism - alcoholism, drug abuse

The use and misuse of alcohol is disturbingly frequent among creative people. Arthur Rothenberg presents the list shown below as examples of those visual artists and writers who were/are alcoholics I have not added names to this list as it is difficult to prove such claim.

Visual Artists

Mark Rothko - Arshile Gorky - Jackson Pollock - William de Kooning


James Agee - Charles Pierre Baudelaire - Louise Bogan - James Boswell - Truman Capote - John Cheever - Stephen Crane - Theodore Dreiser - William Faulkner - F.Scott Fitzgerald - Lillian Hellman - Ernest Hemingway - Victor Hugo - Samuel Johnson - Ring Lardner - Sinclair Lewis - Jack London - Robert Lowell - Malcom Lowry - John O'Hara - Eugene O'Neill - Edgar Allan Poe - William S. Porter - Edwin Arlington Robinson - John Steinbeck - Dylan Thomas - Tennessee Williams - Thomas Wolfe


But does creativity causes alcoholism, or vice versa ?

Although alcoholism is a very serious problem, it is of course not a type of madness. However, alcohol, like madness, alters our state of mind, and this could be the reason why so many artists directly use alcohol. 'But why should artists want to alter their state of mind ?' one might ask. The answer to this question seems to lie in the concept of the subconscious. In order to fulfill the public's and their own (according to Paddy Grahame) expectations of a 'godlike' creator(see 3.2) , the artist seeks help. Knowing that he/she is not divine the artist looks for something that whilst uniquely attributed to him/herself is yet removed from and outside the usual self : the subconscious


The conscious it seems is too pedestrian, too focused on ordinary reality and too unimaginative to provide the kind of unusual and extraordinary information and experiences usually associated with art.

It is the subconscious we expect to fill this gap, when all the hidden truths about ourselves and the universe come to light . . .

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acute drug-confusion