If you rely on mind-altering substances to unlock your creativity, maybe you were never that creative in the first place? Personally, I don't really see the difference between taking steroids to boost performance and taking LSD to boost performance. I don't see why one is cheating and the other makes you a misunderstood genius.
A question, though: If you found a painting to be beautiful and loved it, but later found out that the artist was high when he painted it, would you not find it beautiful anymore or not love it?
(Also because I think the distinction matters. Sports involves competition. Not all art does. If a person enters an art contest and is using drugs to make their artwork better, I would consider that cheating. If they're just doing something for fun? It's other things, but not cheating.)
A painting's aesthetic quality has nothing to do with the subject at hand IMO. My question then would be whether the artist could still have created something that beautiful without the drug; it wouldn't effect how beautiful the painting was, but it would effect my opinion of the artist. I have more respect for the artist than can create of their own volition, through work and practice and training, than someone who relies on chemicals to achieve what they want. It may enhance something in the person that is already present, but isn't that exactly what a steroid does?
I can see what you mean about the competition angle though.
It's still a performance enhancer IMO (any by your own words), and therefore a type of cheating in my book. Maybe not as drastic as something like steroids, but still the same thing.
I feel like the hungry artist and the addicted artist are both images that get perpetuated in pop culture, and neither one is the best ideal to aspire to; as if artists are supposed to be these depressed/ tragic people with some great personality flaw or they aren't really artists.
I've got to be honest... I was so excited to find someone else felt the same!
I get annoyed when artists get their inspiration from drinking, or smoking weed, or using LSD, etc. I find myself a really creative person, and ideas to write about or draw/paint sometimes come to me out of nowhere. It feels like a kind of magic. And that some people force that magic, or are mentally in a unique state that alters the way they perceive the world around them while they are creating that art, it does feel like cheating.
I think that's the most I'm upset by -- that they are altering their mental state and still claiming the work as their own. If this changes their way of thinking, they shouldn't take credit for the work. It's like being inspired by another artist and taking the time to say "By the way, guys, if you really like this painting I did, you should check out Andy Warhol, because I was inspired by him to make this piece". Drug use, to me, is like a collaboration. Certainly, the artist is still the tool, but the inspiration belongs to whichever drug they used to change their mental state.
Interesting point, never thought about it that way. I like being in charge of my mental faculties too much to give up control...besides my mind wanders and tends to do what it wants without my say anyways, I'd be scared where it might end up if I chemically encouraged it.
My choice to stay away from substance abuse has less to do with control and more to do with "fucking hell, are you just ignoring the facts of what that stuff does to you?" I understand that once you're hooked on something, you're hooked, but I've never understood how you get there in the first place, knowing how badly it will fuck you over. Drug abuse stories only end well when the addict kicks the habit.
I have to agree. The disordered firing of abused neurons doesn't constitute creativity any more than straining adrenals and golem muscles constitute athletic skill. Something interesting may come out of it, but to call it your own is a lie. I don't personally have any interest in sharing authorship credit with a chemical.
Sorry for joining the thread, but felt like I wanted to hear more from you.
Just like steroids, which only help you build muscle tissue if you're already working out, drugs only "enhance" creativity when there is already potential there. A poet who does drugs is different from a non-artist doing drugs. All it does is unlock a portion of the brain we don't have access to normally. Each individual experience is different. If a non-artist sees something "profound" while tripping, they don't necessarily have the skill to paint it or write about it eloquently.
On the other hand, I think it's wrong for other reasons. It's unhealthy and sad that they'd have to do that to force creativity or other things. I definitely think it's sad, but not unfair because they're cheating in some way.
It is cheating, though. Putting in some effort and then coasting the rest of the way on chemicals is like saying "Okay, I've run the first hundred meters, so I'm not cheating if I hop on my segway and finish the race that way." The only thing you can claim as your own is the first hundred meters - the potential, the innate skill, whatever it is you've already done. Drugs don't realize your potential; they rob you of the right to own the entirety of the end product.
And drugs don't unlock anything we don't normally have access to. Contrary to popular belief, human beings use all of our brains. Drugs just cause it to malfunction in sometimes-entertaining ways. What you see while tripping isn't born of your own creativity any more than what you see sober and with your eyes open. It doesn't come from you. If you are able to paint it or write about it eloquently, fine. The strokes are yours, the words are yours. But the subject matter still is not.
I'm just saying that while the subject matter isn't their own, does it matter if it's aesthetically pleasing? Some of the greatest paintings have come from commissions of people wanting an artist to paint a certain thing (keeping with the painting example). Does that mean the Mona Lisa isn't as impressive because da Vinci didn't come up with the idea himself? He still painted it with incredible skill.
I agree that it shouldn't be acceptable for artists to use drugs. It's illegal and damaging. It's also less impressive than when artists do it on their own. But a drugged up artist is still an artist because putting their thoughts and visions down in whatever medium takes skill.
I get what you're saying about the subject matter, though. On the flip side, do we ever own any subject matter completely?