Art & Pain

What is the relationship between art & pain?

Gary Molander posed that question a few months back on his blog & it’s been bouncing around in my head ever since.

I believe that pain may be one of the greatest catalysts for art we will ever know. When we feel pain we are alive. And pain most often leads to brokenness. There, our hearts are exposed. And we create from a place of vulnerability & truth. A place of honesty where we get out of own way. Where our masks have been shed & we have less to protect.

We create in those moments because we can’t not create. Because we know of no other response than to paint or write or dance or sing. And the result is art that embodies brokenness & grace. Suffering & joy. Redemption & restoration. Art that cries out desperately for the Kingdom that is to come but that lives in the hope of the Kingdom that is here.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that many of history’s great artists also suffered much. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that artists are stereotypically “emotional” or “moody.” I think God has wired artists to feel more intensely than most & He’s given us that as a gift to propel us to create. To create art that reflects His constant work of creating beauty out of our ashes…wholeness from shattered pieces…life from pain.

Do you think there is a relationship between art & pain?

With courage, Katie


  1. Yes! Art & Pain are bonded. I think that art is created from every emotion. The best art displays the most intense and raw emotion. Intense joy cannot be felt without intense pain. An artist cannot effectively know how to portray either feeling unless he or she understands it fully from both ends of the spectrum and knows what it is like to have the absence of one or the other.

  2. "Where our masks have been shed…we have less to protect."

    That's so good. I've really been thinking about this for the past 10 minutes or so. We use so much energy protecting ourselves that when we create our art, we can only share from the remaining energy.

    Vulnerable is powerful because all energy is focused on truth…or at least truth as seen by the artist.

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