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Gifts for Artists? Here’s the Book for Every Tortured Artist, Author, Writer, Painter or Singer

December 2, 2013

Folks, if you’re looking for a Christmas gift for that temperamental artist in your life, don’t settle for another Bob Ross DVD box set this year. Stop by your favorite independent book store (or Amazon or Barnes & Noble if you want to go the evil-corporate sellout route) and pick up a copy of Tortured Artists

It’s cheaper than paint. And sexier. And it won’t stick to your dental work.


All great art comes from pain. I’ve always believed that. Whether it’s the magnum opus of a Renaissance master, a three-chord riff from a seventies punk band, or a keenly strewn allegory by Dr. Seuss, it all starts with the same thing: a shot of intractable unpleasantness bubbling to the surface from deep within a tortured soul. The courage to reach into the ugliness of one’s messy subconscious is what separates great artists from mediocre ones. It’s why Michael Jackson completely transformed pop music and why Michael Bublé just makes us want to cancel our Pandora accounts.

And it’s always been that way — Van Gogh painted The Starry Night while in emotional torment; Lennon and McCartney forged their creative partnership following the death of their respective mothers; Milton penned Paradise Lost after losing his wife, his daughter, and his eyesight.

Tortured Artists examines the maladies that drive creative types to the brink of despair and the inspired works that are born from their anguish. Spanning artistic disciplines from painting to literature to music to drama, the book reveals the common thread of unpleasantness that binds artistic expression of every conceivable type.

Little-known facts surrounding history’s most influential artistic achievements are found in this ample collection, including—

• The worldwide natural disaster that inspired Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.

• The personal betrayal that prompted a disillusioned young Walt Disney to create Mickey Mouse.

• The bitter divorce that transformed Lenny Bruce from a lackluster workaday comic into a dynamic counterculture icon.

• The startling scientific proof that reveals why Taylor Swift is one of the worst things ever to happen to the tortured-artist mythos.

Tortured Artists is a personal homage to the long-suffering creative geniuses who touch our lives at the expense of their own well being. Pick up a copy for your tortured artist friends. Just knowing you’re trying to understand them will make them happy — at least temporarily.

Tortured Artists: From Picasso and Monroe to Warhol and Winehouse, the Twisted Secrets of the World’s Most Creative Minds (Adams Media Corp., an imprint of F+W Media).

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