Embracing Isolation

For an artist, thinker, or simply any human, isolation almost seems like a rite of passage—to create is to reflect and to reflect is to isolate. When we take to the pen, the brush, the camera, we must think of the muse that took control of our body. If we can have an understanding of its origin, then perhaps we can predict its future.

Maybe the muse was born out of our desire to show, like when we take pictures of our travels to share with friends. Maybe it came to us one night while we had no one to talk to, no one to connect with, no one to hear our thoughts and answer our questions. If such a thought came to us at that time - when we were seemingly isolated - people may cast it aside as nothing but emotional and personal; however, as creators and artists, we must not ignore these thoughts, but rather cherish their reflexive insights.

The history of art is nothing more than a record of human feelings, ideas, and achievements. We can often look back to art from times past and still derive meaning. To think that a person of the twenty-first century would tattoo words said almost three hundred years prior seems absurd. Yet, it’s rather common.

The people who originally created these works that still hold meaning today often did so in a state of isolation, while feeling that their voice was singular and unimportant. Just imagine if the poems you wrote, while adrift and anxious in a marriage, became the basis of another’s story fifty years into the future. It happened to Sylvia Plath. It’s beautiful and sad and ironic that a writer could be so alone and confused during life, but create work that has so much meaning for millions posthumously.  

The internal struggle of the artist is answering whether the creation of art is for one’s own benefit, or for the benefit of others. Of course it can be tempting to create for others in this day and age. For example, having a large Instagram following can give you reassurance or even money. It may even seem somewhat delusional not to compare yourself with the peers around you, since you can garner perspective from such comparisons.

This split is telling of your personality. On one hand, those who create for others are gregarious, observational, and attentive. On the other, those who create for themselves tend to be more introspective, resilient, and curious. While not always the case, the artists who create for others are doing so for some sort of monetary or emotional compensation. The self-creators, however, are free from such chains and can instead rely on their own intuition and isolation to properly guide them through the dark and lonely sea of creation.

Text by Joseph Boudreau

Photography by Andri Raine