Often, it is the deeply creative and sensitive soul that suffers the most from times of un-ease, doubt and uncertainty.
Society is not surprised if a deeply creative person (think artist / musician / dancer / writer / actor) collapses in a great steaming heap, lives as a hermit, or sadly, ends their lives.
History reminds us that some of our most revered artists have suffered from mental health issues, have been alcoholics or drug abusers, or have, on occasion, deserted families and gone bush, unable to sustain the added pressure of familial relationships.
Granted, not all artists, and maybe only the odd few, fall into the above category; for others their personal journey has been clear-cut, meticulously planned and free of personal disaster or self-doubt. They have healthy self-esteem, love what they do, and never succumb to histrionics or engage in self-destructive behaviour.
We must be careful, I know, not to buy into a stereotypical image of artists ‘struggling and subsisting in a garret’.
Throughout my tenure as director of Percy Thomson Gallery, I have engaged with hundreds of artists who have worn varying coats of many different colours, designs and textures.
One thing they have in common: Their art is the culmination of their brain working in concert with their hands, manifesting a work that excites and fulfills them.
To mark our 20th birthday I have invited artists who, I believe, have ‘walked the walk’; have chosen to stay true to their calling during good, bad and indifferent times.
Some have endured difficult times. Some have dealt with crippling depression. Some have been overwhelmed by periods of ‘imposter syndrome’; others have felt battered by the opinions of others. Some have had periods of ‘I’m over it!’ But here they are today! Resilience personified!