Creation is a conduit for delivering beauty in the world and a way of tapping into Source. Artists universally state that the call to create must be answered. Ignoring the impulse to bring a vision to bear is typically impossible for artists and fulfilling that need to create can also often serve as a transformative form of therapy.
Yet the siren call to follow the artist's way is ripe with the underpinnings of the Shadow self. Unacknowledged, the shadow artist taints an otherwise clear channel for ushering beauty and play into the world by creating from a place of unworthiness and lack.
For too long the Shadow has been accepted as an integral characteristic of the artist's way. Forgetting to eat and sleep, always needing to top the prior creation, never truly finding satisfaction with an end product, emphasizing results over process, sacrificing everything physically and relationally in order to create all are aspects of the artist's way which are neither innate or necessary. These are not criteria for the creative process, but in fact, indications the Shadow self has hijacked it.
When the Shadow artist drives, the parts of his or herself the artist finds unworthy or lacking begin to misuse creativity in ways that actually harm the artist. They may still bring beauty into the world, but at great personal cost and loss. Instead of flow, the act of creation demands pain and transforms into a non-reciprocative obsession. History is littered with far too many stories of famous artists - dancers, painters, singers, bands - that created in this way and those narratives have now set the expected norms for subsequent artists.
Art never asks to come into the world at the expense of the artist. Art simply asks to come into the world. It is the choice, and duty, of the artist to set a balanced framework of compassion and play within which to create.
In today's digital ethos, the demand for constant updates and consistently free, high-quality creative content is relentless. It may feel strange to take a step back as others continue creating, ideating and posting.
However, as an artist, the benefits of consciously re-evaluating the internal and external drivers of any creative process and the personal, physical and mental costs associated are innumerable. This type of focused reflection can allow a Shadow artist to acknowledge, accept and transmute aspects of self that do not belong in the process of creating, ultimately allowing balance, peace and reciprocity to rejoin the lifelong journey that is the artist's way.
Art direction & performer:
Christine Ren, The Underwater Woman