Great art comes from great pain.
Or that's the impression left by these haunting profiles. Pieced together, they form a revealing mosaic of the creative mind. It's like viewing an exhibit from the therapist's couch as each entry delves into the mental anguish that afflicts the artist and affects their art.
The scope of the artists covered is as varied as their afflictions. Inside, you will find not just the creators of the darkest of dark literature, music, and art. While it does reveal what everyday problem kept Poe's pen to paper and the childhood catastrophe that kept Picasso on edge, it also uncovers surprising secrets of more unexpectedly tormented artists. From Charles Schultz's unrequited love to J.K. Rowling's fear of death, it's amazing the deep-seeded troubles that lie just beneath the surface of our favorite art.
As much an appreciation of artistic genius as an accessible study of the creative psyche, Tortured Artists illustrates the fact that inner turmoil fuels the finest work.
|Product dimensions:||5.58(w) x 8.26(h) x 0.76(d)|
About the Author
Christopher Zara (New York, NY) is a writer, critic, and journalist with more than ten years' experience covering arts and culture. He is the managing editor of Show Business, a trade magazine for New York City's performing arts community.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I liked this book. You learn a little bit about a lot of artists, rather than a lot of things about a few artists. That was the right approach. This book doesn't delve too deeply into backgrounds or bios of the artists (all of which have been told before) but rather stays on topic: how were they tortured? How did their torture come out in their art? The book does a great job of showing those connections. It's more convincing than I would have thought.
Listen, I'm going to be honest, the only reason I'm giving this four stars is because the cover looks like a damn Halloween card -- it deserves FIVE stars but I refuse to do that. I would never have bought this book up based on that alone. So how'd I end up reading - and ***loving*** it? My neighbor knows the author's girlfriend and "suggested" that I "like" the book's page on Facebook. I liked some of the "artists" mentioned in the book so I ordered a copy, read it in two days and I gotta say, I was totally blown-the-hell-away. Here's some things I learned: Did you know that the guy who designed the "I [Heart] NY" logo never got paid for it? Did you know that Hitchcock's father had him put in a jail cell when he was a little kid just to "teach him a lesson?" And geeze, after that, what did Hitchcock become famous for? Films about people wrongly accused and trapped. And did you know that the famous photo of John Lennon where he's naked and wrapped around Yoko Ono was taken only a couple of hours before he was shot? Oh, and what about, do you know what the Werther Effect is? I sure as hell didn't and now I'm now obsessed with the Werther Effect. And what about that crying Indian guy from the anti-litter PSAs? He won awards for being Native American and come to find out he was totally Sicilian! I already knew all the stuff on Herzog and Kinski (totally nuts -- both of them), and Egon Schiele (my favorite artist of all time) and Maria Callas (because I saw Master Class - oh, and by the way the illustration for her in the book is hideous - and so is the one for Brando - OY! Some of the others are really good though) but I even read the little chapters on people I didn't even care about and suddenly I cared about them, like Clara Bow (SO SAD!), and Michael Jackson (I haven't liked him since the late `80s but this chapter was really good and made me like him again - OK, just feel sorry for him), and I came away loving Dorothy Parker more - she wasn't just a verbal sharp-shooter she had more depth than I knew. OH! OH! OH! OH! And on the book's website there's a book trailer for this book - apparently that's the new thing now - I thought the idea was stupid but trust me, it's brilliant and I've watched it more times than I can count -- and they use the soundtrack to "Requiem for a Dream" on it and I love that. I posted it on my Facebook wall (now the stupid Timeline!)and everyone loved it and now my mother who hasn't bought as book since the Carter administration (JK -- no, not really) got a copy from Three Lives (love that place)in the Village yesterday. Why couldn't they have made the cover look that good?! Trust me, you can totally impress your friends with the trivia you learn from this and it's so much fun to read and now my neighbor can get off my damn back (I'm kidding, girl!). OH! And one more thing! This book even mentions my (often-used) Internet non-de-plume, "Alma Mahler" and the writer calls her a "cultural strumpet" and that cracked me up and I'm totally going to steal that! Buy this book already and put a sticker on it!
I like the way this book ties together all the different art forms. Musicans and painters are lumped in with cartoonists and comedians and even modern day filmmakers like James Cameron and John Hughes. They are all tortured, according to Zara, who does a good job of explaining how their pain shows up in their art. For example, John Hughes -- you guessed it .His family moved to a new school district when he was young and suddenly he was a teenage outcast -- just like in one in his movies. Some of the connections the author makes are a stretch, but his writing is always funny and enjoyable. And I did learn a lot of stuff that I didn't already know. If you love art or care about how it's created, I would definitely recommend this.
This book covers a lot of artists from many different professions: writers, actors, comedians, directors, painters, and musicians from a variety of genres. Story after compelling story, it's hard to pick a favorite among them. I loved it. After finishing this book, I find myself picking it back up and randomly reading the profiles again. Although the topic, Tortured Artists, is a sober one, amidst the mystery, mayhem, murder, and melancholy, there is plenty of humor to lighten it up. Very interesting and entertaining. I enjoyed the Tortured Artists Timeline at the end of the book, too. I hope there will be a Tortured Artists Part Two.
I've never understood the public's infatuation with such insipid creatures as Kim Kardashian, Lindsey Lohan or any reality show "personality", when there are plenty of genuinely interesting people to read about. Many of these people are showcased in Christopher Zara's book "Tortured Artists". Did you know that Joey Ramone was born with a phantom twin attached to his spine? I can't say that I did. As an art historian, I felt that I already knew quite a bit about artists and other historical figures, but this book kept me hooked with new nuggets of fascinating information. Also it's one thing to relay these facts; its altogether different to synthesize those facts into an insightful story on that individual and demonstrate how these things affected them and their work. But this isn't dry psychobabble. This is very entertaining reading. Zara's writing style is witty and very relatable, with popular cultural references that are sure to amuse. I can't recommend this book highly enough. It's one of the most enjoyable books I've read in a long time.