The Ordered Chaos Of Art Making

Artist and research psychologist, Dr. Tobi Zausner, has created some interesting theories surrounding the psychology of art. 

She wrote the book When Walls Become Doorways which tells the stories of several artists (historic-contemporary/famous-unknown) who have used art making to overcome physical illness. 

She also has some forthcoming books on the topics of creativity and the nonlinear self and self identity in the aging artist. In the meantime, she has a few articles available on her website that can be found here. Something I really appreciate about her writing is that she is an artist herself. So she approaches the artistic experience with self reflection and empathy.

After reading her articles the ideas that are resonating with me include:

  • Creativity is powered through collaboration with the outside world.
  • Art evolves. As an artist creates a piece they can't dismiss the memory of the one they made before it. So each piece is the evolution of the one before.
  • Art can't be erased. Once you've experienced it's creation you can destroy the piece but the experience lives on in the artists memory.
  • Both positive and negative feedback are necessary to produce good art.
  • The excitement of inspiration can be overwhelming. This challenges the artist to turn this energy into a breakthrough and not let it become a breakdown.
  • A viewer will see something different each time they look at a piece because they are always changing and bringing new experiences to the interpretation.