Some Notes On Dating An Artist

Dating an artist, you learn a lot of weird things. Artists spend an obscene amount of time observing, and you’ll inevitably absorb some bizarre facts. Shrooms improve long-term mental health, they’ll tell you. Photic sneeze reflex is recessive. You’ll begin to make a list of every sentence they start with “Did you know,” and you’ll fall in love with the subsequent argument. You’ll learn about colors, about anatomy, and about the introverted mind. You’ll learn to look at the sky more often; you’ll learn that there are infinite shades of green in a single blade of grass.

Dating an artist you’ll notice things, because you’ll feel ignorant looking at your shoes and thinking about if you want to dye your hair again. You’ll see the way the moon shines on the clouds, and you’ll notice oversized wheels on the highway. An artist will make you notice that spilled Tabasco sauce is art; that dragonflies have the most elegant body ratios, that there are a million ways to view a single painting. You’ll notice that teeth conduct electricity and kissing is ecstasy. You like to think you knew a lot of these things before initiating this relationship, but it takes a person with art for blood to show you.

Dating an artist, you’ll become completely comfortable with them. You’ll know what kind of yogurt they eat and you’ll swap underwear with them. You’ll talk about everything all the time as if you’re inebriated, lacking any sort of social discretion or inhibition. This becomes a problem when you’re at a work dinner describing the exact size of your bladder to your boss. You’ll know how they dry off when they get out of the shower (head to toe), and you’ll know how they spend hours looking at maps that you never realized could be read as books. You’ll become so intensely intimate that you’ll find yourself wanting only pure and eternal happiness for them. It will sadden you that this is an impractical desire; artists have pessimistic tendencies, and they will never be as content as you want them to be.

Dating an artist, you’ll do stupid things, inane things. You’ll get concussions in the middle of the park; you’ll sunburn just to watch the pink color surface under your skin. You’ll sit in their clothes, trying to understand the mind that sees twisted branches as ballerinas. You’ll drool into plastic bags and you’ll realize only when it’s pointed out that these behaviors are not normal; most couples do not whistle into each other’s mouths and discuss underwear immediately after sex. Most couples, you realize, say cutesy things like “I love you” after rose petal superficiality and poorly written romance novels; you’ll exchange it between chlorine and argon, because there is something dangerously attractive about an artist who knows the periodic table. TC mark

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Zoe Leanza was born and raised in Denver, CO and currently studies at Macalester College in Minnesota. She ... Read more articles from Zoe on Thought Catalog.
  • kaylee

    i love this article

  • kaylee

    i love this article

  • Jordan

    I liked this.  We had a rash of these a few weeks back about writers but this one didn’t come off as self-promotion like the others did.

    BUT, ‘I love you’ is a bad thing?  Sheesh.

  • Jordan

    I liked this.  We had a rash of these a few weeks back about writers but this one didn’t come off as self-promotion like the others did.

    BUT, ‘I love you’ is a bad thing?  Sheesh.

  • OliverJazz

    As an artist I expected something nasty when I read the headline. :) You seem like a real romantic, or maybe you haven’t seen the darkest side just yet… But a warm thank you for pointing out the good charasteristics, I agree with you on them.

  • Samie Rose

    Articles JUST like this have been on TC before. It’s cute, but not creative or original in the least which was kind of a bummer.

    • JoshRom

      It’s only what you call “creative” if you haven’t seen it before.  So if you want what you call creativity, scrape out your hypothalamus. 

      • JoshRom

        Oops i mean hippocampus.

  •íková/509149443 Tereza Jarníková

    Inimitable imagery!

  • Guestropod

    and you don’t even have to be an artist to do any of these things

    • Susan

      Agreed. This was incredibly pretentious. I’m not an artist, but I can see the world this way. Get off your high horse.

  • Al Fresco

    Made me think of a woman I think of. Do keep writing. Cheers.

  • Guest

    There’s a surprising lack of hate concerining this article given the venom thrown the last person’s way who wrote about ‘artists/writers/ect’  like this.

  • cassattack

    Zoe, you are such an amazingly talented writer. I loved reading this! Made me smile :)

    • GUESTY

      Zoe’s friend here

  • Anonymous

    Because all artists are basically the same

  • Gilligan

    In before “Notes on Dating an Artist, not a Romanticized Notion of an Artist.”

    • xra


  • Mage Baltes

    This is a fun theme!! Can we have “Some Notes On Dating A Troll” next?

  • Mage Baltes

    This is a fun theme!! Can we have “Some Notes On Dating A Troll” next?

  • herocious

    You had me at photic sneeze

  • Genyphr

    trees definitely look like ballerinas when you drive past them
    they twirl

  • indi

    the other side to dating an artist might read something like this.  for the guys and girls that have dated me, anyways. 

    you will routinely wonder if I will ever remember to take the ballpoint pens out of my pockets before washing my laundry, with some of yours thrown in for good measure.  luckily, i only do laundry once a month at the most.  the rest of the time i’m just borrowing your clothes then getting paint all over them.   i will very likely expect you to thank me profusely for washing your clothes because really i have no time for non-art activities, like cooking or cleaning or laundry.   

    you will very likely have to remind me to eat on a regular basis because i swear i start working and all of a sudden its midnight and i havent eaten all day and i’m horribly horribly hangry and taking it all out on you

    you will wonder where all of your dishes have gone and then find them filled with various paints and solvents in my studio a couple days later

    you will drop by my studio when i have been up for three days working on a big project with a short deadline and I will be wearing a motley assortment of clothing that had previously been scattered around on the floor because it’s winter and my space has no heat.  I will snap back and forth from laughing somewhat maniacally at jokes, talking to my canvas and crying for no reason.  i may be hallucinating from sleep deprivation but please don’t worry getting this fucking painting done right and done on time is the most important thing in my universe at this moment.  i will be chainsmoking and ashing all over the floor and i will hug you and get ink or paint or gesso on your nice shirt and not understand when you have a problem with that because it’s just a shirt, seriously.

    I will make plans to spend time with you on multiple occasions and either forget, cancel or reschedule at the last minute because art always comes first no matter what.  I miss you, but this is my life and I never get days off.  But then if it’s sunny I will likely end up playing guitar in the park later with my studio mates and tell you about it the next time I see you, having blown you off completely.

    you will be slightly embarassed when I show up for a nice date in aforementioned motley assortment of clothes with paint on my face. 

    you will wonder if its possible for me to go more than a day without drinking wine and we will laugh about it together but you’ll secretly worry that i’m a functional alcoholic.  I am, it’s ok.

    I will experience an artistic identity crisis every three months that will plunge my entire being into a desperate state of despair in which i will constantly question everything that makes me who I am, give myself drastic haircuts at three in the morning, ingest copious amounts of substances (mainly stimulants and psychadelics), quit my job, move out of my apartment to live in my rat-infested cracktown studio, move out of my studio to live with a very strange friend, cut the rest of my hair off, delete any and all social media profiles, either ignore your texts for three days or call you constantly asking for reassurance.

    I will constantly expect you to challenge yourself and your preconceptions, ideas, expectations, plans for the future.  You will be routinely tempted to run away with me off into some crazy scheme without telling anyone or planning for it.  If you don’t go with me you’ll miss me when I skip town for months at a time and come back with a zillion stories and possibly a new lover or two.

    I will constantly be dead broke and you will try and talk to me about the possibility of getting a day job and I will completely refuse to even consider it.  then I will ask you to buy me lunch because if you don’t I probably won’t eat that day because I spent over a hundred dollars at the art store 10 minutes earlier and have nothing left for food.  Oh, and I also bought cigarettes but that’s definitely a necessity.

    you will want me to commit to what could be a beautiful long term relationship but hell I have no idea where I’m going to be next month let alone next year and really i need to focus on my creative passions before any romantic ones get in the way and I’m sorry but there’s just way too many cute boys and girls around to have fun with for me to limit myself to one person.  you will give me an ultimatum and I will walk away from you and from our love and spend two or three weeks feeling horribly depressed.  I will either not make any art for the duration and feel even worse because of it (expect a plethora of drunken texts) or I will put all of that energy into painting and writing about you and my experiences with you and how much i love you and hate you and want you and never want you again.

    you will attend my next show or read my next book of poetry and the whole thing will be about you and you’ll swear you’ll never date an artist again.


    • Sarah Islinger

      I would ask you why you aren’t writing articles for Thought Catalog…

      • Guest

        too busy writing articles for Pretentious Catalog

      • indi

        ha!  #win

      • indi

        i might just do that one of these days

    • bianca

      daamn, most of this sounds oddly familiar.

  • STaugustine

    Sweet! May you never fall in love with a *Professional* Artist

  • Sophia

    I love this article. Though I’m not “an artist,” I try to see the world this way, and it makes me happy that people can appreciate it. Thanks for being a romantic.

  • zaina

    i love this, and it’s incredibly true. anyone you date after an artist is so…bland.

  • Richard

    I’m an artist, and I think this article is a bit pompous and inflated.  There are plenty of incredibly boring artists on this earth that do not fit this Tumblr-riffic article, and even more endlessly interesting people that don’t have  an artistic bone in their body.  Being an ‘artist’ isn’t this automatic license to declare yourself some sort of beautiful and deep and ‘gifted’ or ‘special’ human being, and it doesn’t automatically validate your opinions simply because you’re an ‘artist.’  An artist’s opinions are just as liable to be stupid as anyone else’s.  This article has incredible and broad assumptions pouring out of every sentence.  Get the fuck over yourself. 

    Sometimes, a puddle of tobasco sauce is just a puddle of tobasco sauce.

    • JoshRom

      If you call yourself an artist, you’re not an artist.

      • Christian Cagle

        That is literally the dumbest piece of pseudointellectualism I’ve ever read.

        If you make art, you probably call yourself an artist. And, wouldn’t you know, if you make art, you are an artist.

      • Joshrom

        AHAHAHA.  What do you think art is?  psuedo-intellectualism IS art.  You obviously don’t spend enough time being contradictory or you would be more imaginative–or do I mean less…!?

  • hayao

    back then when I was studying fine arts I used to tell people I was an artist and that I as triying to find out what it meant to be human, now 10 years later, having learnt how to draw, paint, sculpt, in every medium you could posibly think of, I keep trying fo find that out but I don’t consider myself or tell people that I am an artist, especially realizing there is much about life still don’t know, so I just learn new thing so I can create new things, but I’m still searching…

  • artiste

    great article. thanks for writing, Zoe.

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