Do artists need some sort of trauma to make them great?

Discussion in 'Entertainment Forum' started by Solius, Aug 31, 2018.

  1. Aug 31, 2018
    #1

    Solius Bearded Scholes admirer Staff

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    I've always thought about this as horrible as it sounds. I find there are rarely instances of truly great artists that didn't have some f*cked up shit happen to them at some point. Looking at it objectively that kind of stuff will always give people material to write about and people can empathise with certain people's struggles and it makes them enjoy it more.

    Michael Jackson, Brian Wilson, Marvin Gaye and so many more were beaten by their fathers (Gaye eventually murdered by his). Eminem was abandoned by his father, had his Munchhausen-by-proxy mother and f*cked up wife. 50 Cent's mother was murdered and he also got shot. Kendrick and loads of other rappers grew up in poverty and violence. Anthony Kiedis, Jim Morrison, etc.. were on hard drugs.

    One of the reasons Eminem fell off was because he became rich and a lot of his problems went away, he doesn't have anything to sing about anymore except for how people say he's finished. A lot of them died young or before their time as well.

    I remember a tweet where someone jokingly wrote something like "How do I make sure I give myself just enough childhood trauma that they'll turn out funny". Which kinda rings true.

    So does childhood trauma help create a genius? If everyone had great parents and upbringings would we have less genuinely great music/books/film?
  2. Aug 31, 2018
    #2

    Kostur Full Member

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    No, it's just that those with traumatic background make for a good sob/rags to ritches story whereas people from background without problems are simply boring and nobody gives a shit about them.
  3. Aug 31, 2018
    #3

    Keeps It tidy Hates Messi

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    No they do not and the idea that they do leads to a lot of self destructive behavior.
  4. Aug 31, 2018
    #4

    VeevaVee despite the protests, wears Ugg boots

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    Poor people are more likely to find happiness in music/a talent?
    And have more to inspire them/write about to get noticed in the first place?
    Creative people are more open minded and more likely to be reckless because of it?
    Just a few theories.

    Also pop artists have a lifespan, but the best continue and still have a large audience when not in their prime (Kylie, Madonna, Eminem could still sell out arenas). Eminem probably also stopped making what he wanted to as much, and became part of a machine which got bored of him, and possibly him of it. You can tell that by the way his music changed so much every album. Don't know what the new one is like yet, but I'd expect it to be more 'him'.
  5. Aug 31, 2018
    #5

    Keeps It tidy Hates Messi

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    This quote from Frank sort of sums up my feeling on it. I will spoiler it just in case people have not seen the movie.

    Jon: The torment he went through to make the great music.
    Frank's Mom: The torment didn't make the music. He was always musical, if anything it slowed him down.
  6. Aug 31, 2018
    #6

    Vidic_In_Moscow Full Member

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    How much trauma did it take to come up with this theory
  7. Aug 31, 2018
    #7

    SteveJ all-round nice guy, aka Uncle Joe Kardashian Scout

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    "I always want to know what makes good performers fall to pieces. I always try to find out. Because I just can't believe it's the same things that get them time and time again."

    (Michael Jackson, 1982)
  8. Aug 31, 2018
    #8

    dumbo Full Member

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    I don't think that it's necessary but art and suffering often attract each other as a means to explain or console. An excerpt from What is Art?:

    A man suffers, expressing his sufferings by groans and spasms, and this suffering transmits itself to other people; a man expresses his feeling of admiration, devotion, fear, respect, or love to certain objects, persons, or phenomena, and others are infected by the same feelings of admiration, devotion, fear, respect, or love to the same objects, persons, and phenomena. And it is upon this capacity of man to receive another man's expression of feeling and experience those feelings himself, that the activity of art is based.
  9. Aug 31, 2018
    #9

    Solius Bearded Scholes admirer Staff

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    I don't think it's too wide of the mark, do you?
  10. Aug 31, 2018
    #10

    Lay Correctly predicted Portugal to win Euro 2016

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    "fans love my pain because it makes for good music"
  11. Aug 31, 2018
    #11

    Vidic_In_Moscow Full Member

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    I think most, if not all people can find some trauma in their life. What makes artistic expression of it so great is how truthful it is, so the greatest art is the truest possible expression of reality, not necessarily who had the most trauma. But I do understand the parallels.
  12. Aug 31, 2018
    #12

    JulesWinnfield West Brom Fan

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    Isn't this all a bit cherry picked though? What's Bowie's great trauma? Dylan? Elvis? Jagger?

    Some aspects of it would be linked to the background of the people of course - people in poverty generally have few ways out so art can offer one of the few possible escapes. Rap for example is just generally extremely popular in disadvantaged areas, so naturally the few that make it out of those backgrounds will be more likely to have experienced traumas, but a causal link for art in general? I can't see it. I think its a dangerous myth though.
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2018
  13. Aug 31, 2018
    #13

    SteveJ all-round nice guy, aka Uncle Joe Kardashian Scout

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    A fictional examination of this idea; some would actively choose trauma:
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doctor_Faustus_(novel)
  14. Aug 31, 2018
    #14

    Cascarino Full Member

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    Is that the film with the giant fake head? I’ve always wanted to watch it because it sounds interesting but never got round to it. Do you recommend it?

    That’s pretty sad :(
  15. Sep 1, 2018
    #15

    The Bloody-Nine Full Member

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    No.
  16. Sep 1, 2018
    #16

    Don Alfredo Full Member

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    A few hundred years ago, artists were exclusively guys from upper/middle class backgrounds. Some had a rough deal, but many did just fine because of their privilege.

    I see little correlation that artists have to have had a trauma, I rather see the opposite case of super successfull people not being able to deal with sudden fame/money/pressure etc.
  17. Sep 2, 2018
    #17

    Keeps It tidy Hates Messi

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    Wholeheartedly one of my favorite movies of the decade so far.