Why Artists Suffer

In a conversation between the inventor of modern dance, Martha Graham, and her student, the great choreographer, Agnes DeMille, Graham’s young disciple bemoaned that she only saw “. . . the ineptitude, inorganic flaws, and crudities” in her own work.

Ms. Graham responded by telling DeMille that for the artist, “There is no satisfaction, whatever, at any time.”

Such is the burden of the artist. Of all the great artists that I have worked with as a recording engineer, producer, psychotherapist, and artist’s mentor, including Bob Dylan, Mick Jagger, Frank Sinatra, Paul Simon, Bob Fosse, among many others, none of them ever seemed satisfied with their work.

This dissatisfaction is matched by the sobering reality that If you are an artist, you take risks most of us wouldn’t dare. Like a mythical hero, you travel to the underworld to capture essential truths about the universe and human nature and bring back this boon to share with the world. The hazards of such an adventure are grave.

Along with your inner torment and the dangers of the journey, there is also what you are forced to endure in the world. Though the arts are central to an enlightened culture, they are all too often given short shrift in today’s milieu.

It is a particular irony that being an artist requires the utmost sensitivity, yet your chosen endeavor often leads you to receive the worst treatment whether you succeed or fail, having to survive rejection, criticism, misunderstanding, and unreasonable demands.

Given the inevitable pain and difficulties of the artist’s life, why pursue it?

Most artists would say they have no choice, and that makes sense. After all, we are beings of expression.

Besides, making art is one of the ways we come closest to the divine. The universe is in a continual act of creation, and when we create with love and devotion, it is a form of prayer, through which we come into alignment and harmony with the meaning and purpose of the universe.

And art has a central value in the formation and development of civilization. It is through our creativity that we advance the human project. It is through art that we deepen and expand our understanding of ourselves, others, and the world.

Why Get Artist Mentoring?

If you stand any chance of reaching your greatest heights, you will need all the championing you can get from your true allies to keep true to the path of realizing your singular vision while surviving the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.

Being an artist myself, having worked with some of the greatest artists of our age, and accruing years of therapeutic and coaching experience makes me singularly qualified to provide that support in my Artist Mentoring program. Because I believe in the artist’s mission, I consider providing artists with this support as central to my mission.

As Graham made clear, it would be disingenuous for me to promise satisfaction. All that Graham could offer to DeMille in recompense was the following:

“There is only a queer, divine dissatisfaction
a blessed unrest that keeps us marching
and makes “us” MORE alive than the others.”

What I can do is help you be more alive and to keep marching.

Whether you are already an established and/or successful artist who is aiming for greater achievement, more love, and survival, or you are aspiring to realize your artistic dreams, feel free to contact me here.

 

I have no doubt in my mind that I am a better man because of the work we did together. The lessons I learned created positive change in my family, work, and personal life. The growth I experienced with Glenn as my mentor and coach can be seen in the big picture and details of my life, and I am truly grateful for the path I am on.

GA

Glenn Berger became the mentor I didn’t know I had been searching for. Throughout our work, Glenn validated my passions and strengths and gave me the courage to pursue what I deeply wanted but never thought I deserved.

GA

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