Quote of the Day: To Call an Artist Difficult

…it helps us to understand the powerful dynamism present in the artist’s personality. It seems contradictory to call an artist both shy and conceited, introverted and extroverted, empathetic and self-centered, highly independent and hungry for community–until we realize that all of these qualities can be dynamically present in one and the same person… this approach offers us an additional way to understand what it means to call an artist difficult. By that label we usually mean that an artist is narcissistic, high-strung, flamboyant, arrogant, or self-involved, but we can rightly also mean that the artist is difficult in the same sense that a complex novel or string quartet is difficult. The artist lives in a state of greater dynamic tension than the nonartist and so is likely to demand more, desire more, withdraw further into himself, witness better, laugh harder, and bellyache louder. This may not be easy for anyone to take–the artist included– but it is a reflection not of a single quality like selfishness but of a whole array of interactive qualities.

-Eric Maisel, A Life in the Arts

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