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Reply To: The Quest of Creative-Being Itself, with Mythologist Norland Tellez:


Hi Stephen,

I love your story about your artist-friend Chris and thanks for sharing it. I think it is extremely relevant and actually quite clarifying again for me on this topic. It is fascinating that when you would arrange his artwork on walls you saw that they would flow into one another as if sort of a continual image with their colors and lines. I imagine this would have been such a wonderful display at an art gallery. It is also interesting that you were involved in that process of discovery of putting much of his life’s work tapestry together. Writing this now reminds me of the Carol King song “Tapestry.” (Here is one toss of my own “word salad!” I am not a Gemini but I do often have a tendency towards “word salad” also!)

You give such a good example of how art as vocation is not therapy, to tell of how he stopped deliberating at his work and then kept re-working paintings and the colors in them to get darker and darker until fading into black as he became more and more in need of a therapeutic process. Here I think of the song, “Paint it Black.” (More word salad!–I am enjoying it!) So when you write that “Chris’ art wasn’t therapy,” I can see the defining line here between art that is more deliberate and objective and art that is more subjective. I do wonder about “inner demons” (if you can pardon the expression here) as sort of the anti-daimon, as if on a destructive path to destroy what was once created and being no longer happy with it. Did he ever express to you any of his feelings about this? Time seems an enemy to many artists, when they do not find enough of it for their art, and it sounds like he was so busy handling the trust funds and such with the estate that perhaps it took him away from his art. Here again I am indulging in that “word salad” type of commentary that you mention above–just putting my free-associative thoughts out here.

And here I am too reminded of a quote by Maya Angelou: “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” (I cannot cite the source right now, I would have to look for it.)

Likewise, depth psychologist Marie Louise von Franz stated, “One of the most wicked destructive forces, psychologically speaking, is unused creative power … If someone has a creative gift and out of laziness, or for some other reason, doesn’t use it, the psychic energy turns to sheer poison. That’s why we often diagnose neuroses and psychotic diseases as not-lived higher possibilities.” Perhaps when his time/energy was taken by things he did not feel suited for and he spent less and less time on doing new art, he began to deconstruct what he had constructed of his life’s work, but as you say this was less and less deliberate and increasingly an abysmal phase.

I am happy to hear that Chris is painting again and enough to make a living at it, which most every artist dreams of. If there is any torture at all, I would say it is discomforting to have the urge to paint, write, make music, dance, etc. and then have to go to a so-called “real job” or regular job” or “day job” and not feel able to in your best way get around to telling those stories whether in writing or with a paint brush or guitar or piano strings. It might be irritating to the spirit to not be able to get out what wants to come out through the archetype, as the archetypes are continually developing and expressing themselves and have their own creative instincts which come through us as our own urge for expression.

One of my favorite stories I have heard (through the musicians grapevine and not something I have seen in print so I cannot verify it as authentic at this time) is something Michael Jackson said about music and its creative source. The story goes that his manager walked into his studio and asked him, “Michael, why are you trying to compose this new song right now when you have to be practicing for your next tour?” and supposedly Jackson said, “Because if I don’t get this written down now, Prince will get it!” This is such a fun story about how a creative archetypal energy seeks expression and sort of “floats” around up there in the “cloud” or “pool” and visits him/her/you/me/whoever at whatever time and perhaps wherever it happens to find expression, who it “happens upon.”

There is probably so much more I could say if I thought on this more and organized my thoughts more–my mind is feeling a little bit like mushy salad/wilted lettuce today!

With bliss,

Mary Ann