Confessions of a Depressed but Passionate Artist

Tuesday, February 02

By Simran Kaur Sanghera

You see, as a filmmaker with many ideas on the tip of my tongue, those exact ideas I tell to people mostly illustrate the personal melancholy I feel within myself, and while pain is easy to portray I think it with passion and pain tolerating one another, that I have been able to portray the ecstasy and joy and magnificence of not only the world, but of our own inner psyches. That is why I love art, it seems to be so flexible, you can range from acrylic paint that temporarily stains your fingers, to simple words on a page that stains our minds. When I say “Art is truly dead”, I mean that as an ambiguous term (referring more to the artist rather than the works of art), but the part that I want to focus on today is the euphoric beauty of life artists can portray from their own disastrous life.

Although being someone who has grown up with an overwhelming amount of realism almost drowning them, the idea of an artist in any medium seems both amazing but also the saddest job. 

There's the selfishness you feel when it comes to being a curator of any medium of art. You feel a contradicting guilt almost - like you aren't contributing anything to society but you are, you struggle with the "meaning of life" but you are living it, you feel bad that up there, an almighty power is looking down at you disappointed but you aren't even religious… This amount of awareness us as individuals have for life and all of the content within can feel like a drug. This addictive thing to look back and forth at and never really being reminded of the present. 

On the other end of the table there is the invalidation of being a filmmaker which scares me from becoming one, when being compared to my cousins when it comes to my chosen career path- Sometimes I ask myself if there’s more nobility in scanning shopping? Or becoming a lab rat? Producing something – something tangible, something of indisputable value.

Perhaps it is to me that if I could be happy and stop overthinking, it would mean to let go of all of these things, which I and many others are not quite ready to do. I think that is one of the meanings of growing up, to let go of these worries and finally go out and play with that friend called life.

As I am writing this rant-like confession this isn’t a problem with me finding creativity, it’s a personality and authenticity crisis. I fear my future, as I have convinced myself that I don’t have one. Today being a fine artist and selling and distributing your works for what seems like a fortune doesn’t seem attractive to me, while others may wave their check in jouissance, I shake my head in shame. I am losing the sense of what ebodies art, since the notion becomes very obscure. Schopenhauer, a german philosopher, described what we encounter in works of art and philosophy are objective versions of our pain and struggles, evoked and defined in sound language and image. While Art makes me tired, makes me angry, makes me depressed - art presents our experiences more poignantly and intelligently than we have been able; they give shape to aspects of our own lives that we recognise as our own, yet could have never understood so clearly on our own. Art forms give humans a higher satisfaction in emotional release than simply managing emotions on their own and explains our condition to us, therefore helps us to be less lonely and confused by it. In Schopenhauer's words, it turns pain into knowledge. 

When writing my scripts and drawing storyboards to films I am yet to make, it feels more like therapy than pre-production. As I am underlining the main themes that bring me back to moments of my life that I wish to sometimes ignore, it fuels my passion. Miniscule yet fulfilling moments of me writing helps me ponder that someday, in a random cinema, someone will be watching one of the horrible films I have made - and feel meta-emotions within. 

Yes sometimes, people with depression can’t get out of bed, or be able to eat properly - but as someone who is maturing and developing their craft - it is what, at times, gets me out of bed in the morning, so thank you.


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