The more creative a person is, the more sexual partners they are likely to have, according to a pioneering study by the University of Newcastle upon Tyne and the Open University in the UK. The researchers surveyed 425 British male and female artists and poets, making scientific inquiry into their sexual histories. They found that artists have around twice as many sexual partners as their non-artistic counterparts.
Surely the ‘enfant terribles’ of the art world, Jake and Dinos Chapman are prime candidates for the archetypal bohemian lifestyle? The two brothers work together as hugely successful international artists. Their confrontational and shocking (but highly intelligent) work sells for millions. In their new exhibition ‘Come and See’ at London’s Serpentine Gallery you’ll find mannequins dressed as the Klu Klux Klan, zombies, Nazis, rampaging dinosaurs and Ronald McDonald crucified dozens of times. So the Chapman’s will confirm this research. Er, no.
‘What a pile of crap,’ was Dinos Chapman’s response to the research.
In the Guardian Dinos Champman states: ‘The truth is that artists aren't that special. People just like to think so - especially artists. They don't deny it because the industry thrives on this very premise (and it makes them feel loved and important).’
Making art is not easy, relaxing or restful, but painful, hard and difficult. One of the themes of my book The Art of Thinking Creatively is that the products of creativity might look easy, but that’s a carefully staged illusion. Artists invest more effort than they are given credit for. Absinthe-drinking and angsting on a velvet chaise are old myths. Artists face hard labor, mental strain, and a few occupational hazards.
Dinos Chapman: 'They expect you to lead a rock'n'roll lifestyle, but the truth in my case could not be more different: a boring day in the studio, then home to wife and kids and the occasional clean-up-after-puppy-poo-athon.'
In my experience artists don’t merely work hard; they also work long hours. It takes decades to perfect their craft and see their work to completion. There is not only the physical making of the work but the mental labor of creating new ideas.
Dinos Chapman: 'But if people want to romanticize us as foppish degenerates who flout all prevailing laws and take many lovers, we'll happily oblige.'
It’s a difficult subject to research effectively. Can you trust people to tell the truth about their sex lives? People are notorious for lying about this subject. It also raises the question - who were the artists they researched? The researchers only polled 425 people. They placed adverts and randomly posted questionnaires in obscure artists magazines. Only a certain type of artist would respond—one with plenty of time on their hands. To be frank, the unsuccessful—people who are not artists in the sense that they earn their living as artists, but people who like to think of themselves as artists. I meet a lot of visiting artists at Central Staint Martins. None of them have the time to fill in surveys on their sex lives.
Success in art and design requires long hours of dedication. Someone leading a bohemian lifestyle couldn’t deal with the workload. There are no successful artists who are talented but lazy. As someone heavily involved in the art world for years I can see that the successful work extraordinarily hard. They are bombarded with distractions; requests to take part in documentaries, interviews, parties, private views. It is easy to lose track. Working hard and staying focused is difficult. No wonder artists are was angry about the perpetuation of these myths.
SOURCE INFORMATION: ‘Schizotypy, creativity and mating success in humans’ Daniel Nettle and Helen Keenoo, Proceedings of the Royal Society B, November 2005. Doi:10.1098/rspb.2005.3349
Rod Judkins MA RCA is an artist, writer, and professional public speaker, delivering lectures and workshops that explain the creative process and help individuals and businesses to be more inspired in their lives and work. He is author of the bestseller, Change Your Mind: 57 Ways to Unlock Your Creative Self.