There is this myth that the starving artist exists because suffering creates great art. There may be some truth to this. It is generally considered to be true that Gabriel García Márquez used the last of his savings to send his final copy of 100 Years of Solitude to the publisher who helped bring him the fame that won him the Nobel Prize. There may be a connection between Márquez's poverty and brilliance because, as some would say, his poverty required him to produce results. Maybe poverty really does produce greatness at times, but I think on average this is just as I noted above, a myth. It wasn't Márquez's poverty that created greatness, but a societal misunderstanding of how an artist works that created his poverty. His genius was inside him the whole time. To suggest otherwise is both an insult to him and gives way to much credit to those who never rise out of poverty.
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But it's important to know that not only does this world exist, but it's just as productive as the structured world where we can predict our lives with regularity. How can this be done? It's all about trust. While I do my best to work on my physical creative skills (painting, drawing, etc.) every day, the real productivity is seen when a piece is finished. Only then can I hand in my report, so to speak. Artists don't work from nine to five. There are days when I wake up and I can't begin to paint until late in the afternoon. On these days I need to think - A LOT - before I put my thoughts and emotions together well enough for them to work in tandem. Once they're together, they produce more than eight hours of work. In fact, I can work for as much as 12 hours painting or drawing well into early the next morning before I even need to eat again. The only reason why I don't is because I need to go to work in the evening. When I do do this, it is both rewarding and exhilarating. However, as one might expect, it throws my entire sleep and eat pattern off schedule because I still need to go to work at 6:30pm.
In short, it's understanding that an artist needs to think before producing that requires trust, and that thinking is what makes the artist who he or she is. Without this understanding and trust, one will never be able to tolerate how the artistic process works, let alone allow it to progress as it needs to. Give me three or four months to produce several paintings and I will. Give me a day and I'll also produce the same amount, but they likely won't be as inspired as the ones that took longer, and with my art in particular this emotional aspect is necessary.
In the end, society needs to answer this question: do you want high-quality inspired works of art or do you want structured, dictated pieces of art? I've already suggested that art can help you make better decisions, that art does work hand-in-hand with how science works, and that art does provide value with regards to our health. In my opinion, we should be finding a way to give the artist a chance to create the three-to-four month painting because this matters in real and concrete ways. Let the emotion simmer and understand that not all stoves boil at the same rate. When you do (and by this I mean be willing to accept a society that pays for this thinking period as opposed to just firm results, because, after all, the accountant gets paid to think up the report before it's finished), don't be afraid to suggest and convince people that we would be healthier if we supported this method of producing.