Arts Committee

We at HDRF recognize that historically and through research information and empirical data, there is evidence that has linked artistic creativity to depression and its related mood and other emotional disorders. It is general public knowledge that many of the world’s most famous creative people, in all areas of the arts, have suffered from depression. Just a few of the most recognized names, by
category, are:

POETS: Emily Dickinson, John Keats, Sylvia Plath, Walt Whitman

WRITERS: Edgar Allen Poe, Hans Christian Andersen, Patricia Cornwall, Charles Dickens,
Ernest Hemingway, Anne Rice, Amy Tan, Mark Twain, Tennessee Williams, Tom Wolfe, Virginia Woolf

ARTISTS: Michelangelo, Edgar Degas, Eric Fischl, Vincent van Gogh, Paul Gauguin, Henri Matisse, Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko

ACTORS: Drew Barrymore, Halle Berry, Jim Carrey, Rodney Dangerfield, Ellen DeGeneres,
Kirsten Dunst, Anthony Hopkins, Jessica Lange, Marie Osmond, Gwyneth Paltrow, Brooke ShieldsBen Stiller

MUSICIANS: Eric Clapton, Sheryl Crow, John Denver, Billy Joel, Sting, James Taylor,
Pete Wentz, Brian Wilson

JOURNALISTS: Dick Cavett, Larry King, Jane Pauley, George Stephanopoulos, Ted Turner, Mike Wallace

The Arts Committee was formed in recognition of the heavy burden this most visible community must bear in the progress of their lives and the work they produce. The very nature of their creative process involves invention, design, image, brand-building, communications, public relations, advertising and marketing. These elements are so important as a means to educate the public about the facts of depression and help erase the stigma that still surrounds it.

The talented individuals on the Arts Committee may not necessarily have experienced depression first-hand, but are aware of the toll it takes on friends, family, employees and loved ones. Everyone is touched by depression – directly or indirectly. With the knowledge of this and the desire to contribute, the members of the Arts Committee have committed to use their talents, skills and contacts to help HDRF accomplish its mission…and ultimately find a cure for depression.

HDRF is proud to have the following members on its Arts Committee:

Arts Committee Members

  • James Aman – Interior Designer
  • Frederick Anderson – Fashion Executive
  • Dennis Basso – Fur and Fashion Designer
  • Harry Benson – Photographer
  • Bruce Bierman – Interior Designer
  • Geoffrey Bradfield – Interior Designer
  • Mario Buatta – Interior Designer
  • Tom Cashin – Interior Designer
  • Susan Cheever – Author
  • Nancy Corzine – Home Furnishings Designer and Producer
  • Judy Licht Della Femina – TV Journalist
  • Arthur Dunnam – Interior Designer
  • Anne Eisenhower – Interior Designer
  • Patrick Gallagher – Interior Designer
  • Douglas Hannant – Fashion Designer
  • Kim Heirston – Art Advisor
  • Sharon King Hoge – Journalist
  • Tony Ingrao – Interior Designer
  • Eric Javits – Fashion Accessories Designer
  • Jay Johnson – Interior Designer
  • Randy Kemper – Interior Designer
  • Parker Ladd – Publishing Executive
  • Gideon Lewin – Photographer
  • Christopher Mason – Journalist, Author, Musical Performer
  • Joanna Mastroianni – Fashion Designer
  • Jay McInerney – Author
  • Patrick McMullan – Photographer
  • Juan Montoya – Interior Designer
  • Maggie Norris – Fashion Designer
  • Sandra Nunnerly – Interior Designer
  • Alex Papachristides – Interior Designer
  • Campion Platt – Interior Designer
  • Marc Rosen – Packaging Designer
  • Ralph Rucci – Fashion Designer
  • Arnold Scaasi – Fashion Designer
  • William Secord – Art gallerist
  • Hunt Slonem – Artist
  • Scott Snyder – Interior Designer
  • Antony Todd – Special Events Designer
  • Adrienne Vittadini – Fashion and Interior Design Entrepreneur
  • Robert Wilson – Producer, Director
  • Dominick Dunne – In memoriam – Author

Research Findings of Creativity and Major Depressive Disorder

A brief summary of the research findings regarding creativity and depression reveal an alarming increase in the incidence and frequency of depressive illness in the creative community. The following information is based on individual studies, as referenced:

  • One sample of writers found that 80% had some type of mood disorder and 43% had a bipolar disorder1
  • Artists (including writers) have Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) 8-10x more prevalent than the general population.2
  • A sample of female writers found a 56% incidence of depression versus a 14% incidence in non-writers.3
  • On average, the rate of suicide in a sample of artists was nearly 3 times more frequent than the general population.4
  • 14 famous abstract expressionist painters (including Pollock and Rothko)… were retrospectively diagnosed with depression… 53% met the criteria for depression. 13% committed suicide.5

1Andreasen AM (1987)
2 Jamison, KR (1993)
3 Ludwig (1994)
4 Stack (1996)
5 Schildkraut JJ, Hirshfelt AJ, Muphy JM (1994)

For more specific information regarding the evidence for a link between creativity and affective disorders please click here.