Amy Winehouse and the Mind of the Artist
University of Tartu, Estonia
Annus, A. (2018). Amy Winehouse and the Mind of the Artist. Journal of Genius and Eminence, 3(1), 38-48. http://dx.doi.org/10.18536/jge.2018.04.3.1.04
The link between great creativity and psychopathology remains highly debated, but still a firmly established finding by many studies during the last century. Whereas biographic evidence for psychotic affective disorders has often been reported for creative artists, the present study takes into account the recent discussions about the traits of autism spectrum and ADHD that are found in high creativity. The most recent book by the Irish psychiatrist Michael Fitzgerald, The Mind of the Artist serves as the frame of reference.The case under study is the British jazz singer Amy Winehouse (1983-2011). Two biographic narratives, one by each of her parents, are analysed for her cognitive and behavioural profile and personality traits. The cognitive strengths and weaknesses observed, as well as the descriptions of her social and non-social behaviours, closely match the ADHD and autistic symptoms. The identity diffusion that is a characteristic of highly creative artists according to Fitzgerald, also occurs as the prominent feature of singer’s persona with multifaceted ways of expression. Both autistic and ADHD traits were high in her persona which enhanced her creativity, but also caused problems in everyday life.