Thanatos And Eros as Forces of Creative Energy

Aug 10, 2020 at 10:03 am by Barbara Din

Thanatos And Eros as Forces of Creative Energy

We've all read and talked endlessly about inspiration. Take a walk, read a book, listen to music, all nice pieces of advice that seem a little obvious, sometimes. I'm not saying they don't work. These are things that might help you in the moment. But maybe there's a need to dig a little deeper.

There are places, mind spaces, that we find ourselves in for a longer period of time, that correspond with where we are in life and have a big impact in the way we face art making. Are we sailing in calm, clear waters, or dark, turbulent ones?

Sigmund Freud used Eros and Thanatos to refer to opposing basic instincts. Life and Death instincts, that Freud called Eros and Thanatos, respectively, using the names of the Greek Mythology gods.

The Eros instinct gives life preservation, union and integrity. Thanatos, on the contrary, is the instinct of death. Its pulsion or drive leads to auto-destruction to make the organism go back to an inanimate state, to disintegration.

These two inner forces may also have an impact on our creativity, and depending on the moment we're living, we can draw inspiration from both.

If you're in a Thanatos moment, you'll be prone to be inspired by sadness, loneliness, anger, frustration… Let your inner darkness get out through your art. Don't judge it. This is the time to make a drawing with a biro, rubbing it with rage against the paper, and it's ok if it tears… Art helps you cope with dark times. If you're not used to letting it out, you may find yourself trying to suppress it. Let it out. You may even learn new things about yourself. And it'll make you feel freer from Thanatos' claws.

If you're in an Eros period, you'll gravitate towards brighter colors, happier subjects and the overall zest for life. Celebrate this by letting yourself try new things, expand your horizons, even stuff you've always felt you couldn't get away with. This is the time to explore and smell the art roses. If you feel any judgmental part of yourself creep in, don't let it! Dance while you splat paint all over the place! Yeah, you'll have to clean up the mess afterwards, but I can assure you, nothing will make you forget that feeling of freedom and joy!

My point is, both forces have their own unique characteristics and both are perfectly valid. Sometimes ,being aware of which one you're connected to may help you dig deeper and take away more from your art making sessions. 

Barbara Din is a visual artist, graphic designer, painter, interior designer, crafter, musician and writer living in Argentina. Learn more about Barbara and her work at the following links:
Barbara Din YouTube Channel

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