[Written in response to articles like this, this and this.]
They are not normal.
It’s important to remember that artistic people are genetically different to us “normies”. They perceive the world in a fundamentally way, like people who have been in brain-damaging accidents, or dogs. If you don’t get quirky, eloquent and engaged response to questions like “what would you like for tea?”, there’s probably something wrong.
2. They need to be alone
GIVE YOUR ARTIST SOME SPACE. Leave them in a room. Lock the door to the room. Roll a slice of ham under the doorway periodically, but in a non-intrusive way. Delete their social media accounts and file a missing persons report with your local police. This will really help them create, and they’ll love you for it.
3. They need to not be alone
Artists don’t communicate in the way we do. Don’t listen to the words that they’re saying, listen to the feelings beneath them. Artists are constantly volatile and passionate, and they always experience emotions on a more deep level than you, like Deanna Troi from Star Trek, or a dog. If they are not bringing these to the surface then something is wrong.
4. They’re meant to be unhappy
Allow your artist to throw expensive electrical goods across the room. Make sure you get laminate or tiled floors for the fortnightlyish occasions when they smear a mix of tears, acrylic paint and faeces around the place. Sobbing uncontrollably into the eviscerated cushions of your sofa is just a normal day in the office to an artist. Don’t attach medical labels to their esoteric and mystical creative process. Expect anniversary presents to include a dead fox from the garden, amateurishly taxidermized and wearing a mask of your face, or a drawing of God being sad on a stained Nando’s napkin.
5. They never, ever, EVER STOP
EVER. All artists want to do is work, and then talk about their work, and then work some more. They despise breaks and holidays because it gets them away from their job, which doesn’t really stress them out because it isn’t really a job. Make sure they’re checking their emails at 4am and giving business cards out at funerals. Ask them about what they’re working on at the moment. If they say nothing or very little, FREAK OUT. Hit them with sticks. They are not being artisty enough. They don’t have a work life balance because their work is their life, like a Necromancer or a Superhero or a Police Dog.
6. They don’t understand grown-up stuff
All artists are massive children, so don’t expect them to comprehend basic adult tasks like scheduling events, following rules and adding up money. After all, these are people who have voluntarily chosen a career that pays poverty wages, rather than something sensible. This is because they are intensely self-centred, and would rather draw attention to themselves than do jobs that make a social contribution, like Finance or Property Management. Allow them to move out of their extended adolescence in which they value human creativity more than the ability to gain home equity in their own time. They’ll get there. Remember that their charming child-brains are why you’ve taken them in, like a malnourished orphan chimney-sweep stranded in a snowdrift, or a dog. And with your love and support, they can blossom into a fully formed adult with a real job.
You can’t date Jack Dean, but if you come to one of his shows, download one of his albums or buy one of his books, he’ll do his darnedest to set you up with one of his most artisty artist colleagues.