I think there are two kinds. The first involves a constant inner-rumbling that is entirely self-propelling. It is self-sufficient, if you will. There is no concern about what other people think because the hope one might lay on others has been extinguished. There are no intimate relationships, just iconic ones in the mind that one struggles with, attacks. My hunch is that Kippenberger falls into this category. And he made great work.
Picasso cared little for others, not out of torment, though. His sense was an entitlement, a supreme and rare confidence. And yes, he made great work.
Another word for these two states might also be selfish.
Then there’s the kind of torment that is fueled by what other people think, by what other people have said, by a desire to prove oneself.
As the artist Erik Parker revealed in a recent Times article:
"I’m always trying to prove myself,” he said, his scrawny frame as tensed as that of a bantam-weight boxer. “It’s like people are saying: ‘No good! Stop now!’ It’s like I have an ‘I’ll show you’ voice in my head."
Unfortunately, this form of torment may not yield work that is as raw and exciting as it might be, and probably that’s because it is always trying to relate. A nicer person does it entail? Probably.
What’s more important?
Then there are those who create work either to learn in the making or to teach through the representation. But this is rare and particular, and constitutes a post unto itself.