Emotions - Artist vs. Corporate Team Player
Updated: Mar 1, 2021
I discovered that working in an office has allowed me to deal with grief a certain way. I was able to avoid the sadness and emotion that comes with the death of a loved one by focusing on my daily performance in the office. Only after some time did I discover what I have been doing is unhealthy.
After my husband passed away I was busy rebuilding my families life which included selling everything and anything including the house to resolve a financial mess. Then downsizing with the kids and making sure their lives were not completely turned upside down from the change. I stopped painting and returned to a desk job exactly 1 year and 4 days after he passed away and it was full steam ahead staying busy and excelling in the corporate world. I was and am the perfect employee. This was my healing process, at least what I thought. I was so attuned to my grief that I did everything possible to avoid it and for a certain time that included staying away from painting.
(Pre-Pandemic) The Office Effect
The professional and more sophisticated surroundings keeps everyone at bay from getting personal unless you try to avoid work. What I am eluding to is the personal banter or conversations that usually only happens around the cooler or lunch room. Discussing family life with co-workers can be easily avoided if you stay away from those locations and stay busy at your desk or at pointless meetings. Someone can easily deflect conversations that are becoming personal by simply commenting about how many deadlines they have to meet. More than 50% of the time the other person will sympathize and then be reminded of their own deadline crisis.
The Creative Effect
Some artists do more art then they ever have after they experienced a tragedy. They find it as an outlet to express their grief and possibly educate others what they are experiencing feels like to them. The Group of Seven are a famous group of Artists that are known for Painting Canadian landscapes. They began painting in the early 1900’s and some members enlisted in the first World War. One of those artists was A.Y. Jackson who had participated in some of the most known battles that Canadians fought in, such as the Battle of Passchedaele. His pre-war landscapes transformed from vibrant, peaceful appearances to a ravaged, unsettling environment later on. His artistic depiction of the landscapes during the war are accurate to a certain degree but his intent is to reveal the tragic loss that he experienced. Jackson did that so well that he later worked for the Canadian War Memorials as an official war artist.
After my husband passed away the only art I produced for a long time had tortured themes and was bland, dull work that I didn’t want to keep around afterwards or even show. Whether you are an artist, a technician, office clerk or whatever - expect your work performance to be influenced by your grief. What matters is how you are dealing with it and is it helping you get through it. Pause and try to recognize it. If you realize there hasn’t been any improvement in your grief then make a change or talk about it with someone. Please be aware of who you decide to talk to, our loved ones intentions always mean well but sometimes unknowingly they in-still their own fears onto us.
The future is always something to look forward to so be positive for what is to come.
Title Image -“The Office” television series
Second Image - “Red Maple”by A.Y. Jackson (1914 pre-war)
Third Image - “A Copse Evening” by A.Y. Jackson (1918)