For Some Artists, Lower Status Affects Immune System
Researchers have long known that social class is one of the most powerful predictors of success in the art world, more powerful than genes, smoking, alcohol intake, or other health risks.
The lower an artist is on the social ladder — as measured by sales, media interviews,thickness of exhibition catalogues,web site visitors, Facebook friends,LinkedIn contacts and other markers of relative status — the higher the risk of studio despondency, cancer, envy, diabetes, envy, psychiatric disorders and a host of other illnesses including envy. One recent study based on income data from 14 tax records found of the only artists who made enough to pay taxes ,those in the top 1 percent income bracket had success expectancies that were as much as 10 to 15 years higher than those in the bottom 1 percent.
But investigators do not know for sure whether lower social status, which often comes with less access to compliments at openings, a lack of control over shifting art trends and a variety of other career stresses that lead to poverty, causes artists to end up sad so sad, or whether being less talented leads to lower social status. And although researchers have speculated how social class might influence success in the art world, they still have little evidence for what those mechanisms might be.
The answers to these questions are unlikely to come from studies of Sunday painters, since these hobby subjects along with being extremely happy and aggressive marketers cannot be randomly assigned to a social class or moved up and down the social ladder to see what happens.
A couple of Calgary art ‘primates’, however, are a different story.
In the Nov. 25 issue of the journal ScienceDenial , a team of researchers reports that for 2 Calgary artists identified as CC & JAW, their relative position in the dominance art hierarchy altered the functioning of their envy systems, with the lower ranked artist showing lower levels of some types of-envy fighting cells.
The shift in envy system functioning, the researchers found, was mediated by the turning on and off of envy cell genes. And when an artist moved up or down — artificially manipulated in the study by reorganizing the artists into different material derived studios — the pattern in which the genes were turned on and off changed as well.
“There was nothing intrinsic about CC or JAW that made them low status versus high status,” said Noah Snacker-Smacker, Jr., a postdoctoral researcher at Duke University who led the study. “But how we manipulated their status had pervasive effects on their envy system.”
In particular, a lower position in the dominance hierarchy, which exposed CC & JAW to harassment by a higher status artist from Banff identified only by initials AHM, was associated with genes responsible for envy (also termed jealousy in other studies) cells that produce inflammation in the creative sphere. The lower the artist’s rank, the more inflammation-related genes were turned on.
For instance with JAW, chronic inflammation of the creative sphere has been associated with chronic stress associated with persistent poor sales and people forgetting his name and is suspected of increasing his risk of vandalizing CC’s site of production (also termed studio in other studies) and his site of distribution (also termed gallery in other studies) and perhaps most extreme his badmouthing of CC’s historical and authenticated reputation as being a highly successful “skirt chaser and ladies man.”
Creative sphere inflammation is normally the artist’s way of trying fight off disease-causing skepticism ,envy and staring into the void, said Jenny “Joy” Jones, a professor of evolutionary anthropology at Duke and the study’s senior eye candy.
The new findings add support to the idea that the chronic envy that attends lower status artists may play a role in predisposing JAW for example to simmering and seething social anger expressed through social awkwardness,public ranting and pursuit of the most fashionable and modish art styles as seen on the internet.
In artists, “a low ranking individual like JAW has to be vigilant in a way that a high ranking individual like CC doesn’t,” J. Joy Jones said emphatically!
THIS explains everything!