I work with clients who are professional artists, adolescent musicians who compete in international competitions, etc. Presenting problems sometimes include a lack of inspiration or crippling anxiety that blocks the ability to perform or audition. My sense is that these problems are partly due to a disconnection from the individual's core soul source - as well as a loss of serving as a channel for spiritual expression. 

I am inviting folks to share how they stay connected to their creative source, to their artist soul.

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    • I remember a field trip to a local museum. The students were told to pick out two pieces of art they really liked, two that they hated, and one that made no sense to them at all. We later gathered and shared our findings, going to each piece for the discussion. It was fascinating to find that a few pieces scored in all three categories and the students came away with more art related questions (which I consider a"good thing.") By the way, it was a psychology class.

  • Steady on. breath. No answers. Keep painting, keep writing whatever. When the pressure seems to much I start humming/ singing Midnight Oil : "Oh great god of development Don't really know you yet .... 

    I can shake
    I can move
    But I can't live without your love

  • What I've seen is that when a function is weak, the artwork is not as integrated, not as "strong". I don't think all four functions are ever in balance, 1 or 2 often dominate. In most people. As a teacher, I've seen students who need to develop this or that  aspect of a function. Your question is good and I can see where a lack of function "balance" or utility or underdevelopment could cause block, or at least work that is either poorly crafted, out of control, overly intellectual w/o that transcendent achievement sometimes seen in nonobjective work, lacking spark or mystery. Sure, I say.

  • I just read this discussion today May 14.

     I would like to throw in a few comments on a few topics touched upon here. Ed's interesting comment about ( the elephant in the room) brings up quite a few questions. Is it possible for an artist to be an artist for only for a period of time? That begs the question, what is an artist? by definition? what definition?( endless conversation!)

     Quick story! The artist David Reed wrote about an interesting encounter in his catalog. He was in 12th grade and went to see the Marcel Duchamp retrospective in Pasadena around 1970. It was a weekday and virtually no one was there, he spotted the man himself Duchamp! He started to follow him around the museum shadowing him everywhere he went, finally in the last room Marcel Duchamp turned to the young man and said,( you know I should've never stopped painting) turned away and walked out. Marcel Duchamp stopped making art for a very long period of time and only played chess.( or at least that's what everyone thought) he was secretly making his intriguing peephole installations by writing complicated instructions to be completed at a later date. Did he ever stop being an artist?

      On the other hand there is someone like the artist Wayne Thiebaud. In my estimation he was accidentally labeled a pop artist, I believe he is conscious of this. He became very famous and his last painting sold to museum for one million 300,000. Obviously a successful artist in the eyes of society, a highly skilled painter, but he would be the first to tell you he would not call himself an artist. In his personal estimation ( in his own words) it's a lofty term that only someone else can bestow upon you down the road.

     Then again there is someone like Joseph Boyce. ( life is art and everyone is an artist) I think we need a fundamental although broad definition of "Art and Artists". Even Jung wrestled with this mightily in Liber Novus.

     Introverts and extroverts:

    I think there is a difference between art produced by introverts and extroverts. For example, Martin Kippenberger and Jeff Koons are obviously producing art made by extroverts, where has Anselm Kiefer or Jonathan Lasker, would represent introverted art forms. At this high level of producing art both the introvert and extrovert I believe are speaking to both the outer collective and an interior space but it's just defined differently, it's a rotating door. The lexicon of images seems to speak directly to their introvert or extrovert perspective, but to compound things I think artist functioning at this level are bouncing off all four types and walking through the introvert extrovert portal simultaneously.

     Interesting conversation!



    • Hi, Les. You offer great illustrative stories with much insight.

      You spoke of the 4 Jungian personality types. I was once asked what an artists needed to do to make great art - or some such question - and I suddenly realized that all 4 functions/types were involved. Sensate to manipulate the physical art materials (including human voice singing, paint, clay, fiber, dancing bodies, what have you); feeling for the expressive aspect; thinking for critiquing one's own work, for the intellectual knowledge of craft used for problem solving, for knowing where the field of art is and defining what's needed; intuition for knowing what to do next, to be led by what feels right, trusting instinct, and I'd add be informed by dreams, precognition, psi.

      I really love the story about Duchamp.

      Perhaps we could say that at a high level of creativity, there is an integration of introvert + extrovert, all four personality functions, and often spirituality.

    • And when there is a "block" we might wonder whether all four functions are then out of balance or one has not developed as quickly as the others?

  • I'm a professional sculptor. I began looking for my creative source 25 years ago and much to my shock a few months later was confronted by the very shattering appearance of my Muse, who it turns out, had been hunting me! This encounter (documented in an art exhibition and short film) has transformed my life and ever since I've been serving at Her court. As a result my creative channel is wider than I can ever honor. My creative life is like drinking from a firehose. Strangely, I have the opposite problem from most artists in that I have to devise systems for keeping track of ideas as they fly past, only a few of which can be developed to any degree. I have constructed not only rituals for accessing the creative spirit but a whole "Muse culture" around which I organize my life and work. 

    I do not tend to share this stuff very much as it appears strange to the extreme to most folks, but maybe this group can appreciate the purposes behind it. I am perfectly willing to share. (Thanks for forming this group!!)

    TIm Holmes,  timholmesstudio.com

    • Dear Tim,

      I watched your film - wish I could have seen the exhibit itself. Drawings, an artist's process, are rarely exhibited (generally) and we are usually shown the final product (painting, sculpture, etc.). So the evolution you showed in the film is very fascinating.

      I, too, have rich and essential aspects of my creative process that are generally kept private although I have begun being more public starting the past year or so. I was interviewed for an article, Art and Psi, for a 2012 issue of the Journal of Parapsychology. The whole article is interesting - my part isn't until about pg 14 or 15.

      My most important explorations, of which psi is a part, involve cross disciplinary research on contemporary artists as shamans. Although I'd encountered Mark Levy's book on this topic as an undergrad art student, as well as Harner's book, the real fascination was piqued during a series of 4 shamanic drum sessions over 2 days. The stream of visions was so like what I experience during painting, seeming to come from the same source, with the same richness, personal roots, spiritual overtones, healing results, memory resurrecting, ongoing flow, stunning clarity.

      So, I began a process of doing research on the topic of contemporary artists as shamans as I realized there was much missing from Levy's book as well as Tucker's book and Weiss's book specifically on Kandinsky (altho all are worthwhile, written by art historians)  - whereas I was writing from the perspective of, first and foremost, an artist and a psychologist, integrating philosophy, religious studies, anthropology, creativity studies, archaeology, even neuroscience. Most of my publications on this topic can be accessed here: http://saybrook.academia.edu/DenitaBenyshekPhDMFA.

      Prior to this research, I made art in a visionary way www.denitabenyshek.com that I now realize was shamanlike in many aspects. My painting became my own during the years I worked as an artist in residence in very remote, Native American bush villages in the Alaskan arctic - glorious solitude! and few distractions. I could go deep into my Self.

      Now, I am only beginning to make art with what I know post-research. Many ideas for series that go this way or that. Presently, I am drawing and watercolor painting in a sketchbook. There are images. But "direction" seems nebulous, undefined at present... which is a very okay place to be.

      Cardena Iribas Reijman art psi pdf.pdf

    • Denita,

      The link you posted to the source for "most of my publications" above is busted. Got another?


    • Thanks for your words, Denita, and for your evocative images. I think my favorites are Iseltwald and the Source.  I'm intrigued with your technique. I would love to see some of these in person. (But, alas, I'm in Montana).  Also, thanks for the paper. That and your other links are helpful. (I'm off on a tear with Hartman now.)

      Artists are relegated to a rather tangential role in a capitalist society, I'm afraid. Being forced to make a living on our art (unless we can somehow escape that terrible fate) forces us to dance to the king's tune, emasculating the vision and dampening any shamanistic tendencies. I truly think you can have truth or comfort, but not both.

      I've had to swallow the bitter medicine of marginalization, hate mail on occasion!, and eventually isolation. I wonder how many of us are either hiding out in the bush or, more likely, just working beneath the radar of a capitalist system that sees products not gifts. Like every epoch, true artists will emerge later in the future, but we are rapidly approaching the point where the future seems questionable. 

      Artists are like irritating dreams that we can safely ignore–so we think (often by turning them into decorators). But one day– like an ignored dream that turns into a disease– we'll wake up to a new crisis on an immediate level. That crisis is coming closer every day.

      I don't mean to sound bitter or pathetic, but I am very concerned with a culture that so actively marginalizes the imagination! I do not feel rejected personally so much as in my role as a visionary. My imaginative vision is clearly seen as an active threat. This alarms me.  I wonder how many other visionaries are feeling this threat.

      Feels great to have listening ears! Thank you!

      Creative Fire.m.jpg

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