(Apparently I can't respond to individual comments on my blog, or I don't know how, so until I figure it out I'll post responses as a follow-up entry.)
Matt brings up a very good point about Thom Yorke lashing out at the interviewer - he is an enigma, and tries to keep himself so, which probably leads to the media covering him more and creating a persona, since he isn't creating one himself. Perhaps he's not the best example to use for this topic.
Regardless, Wayne brought up a good point, too: "the work gets done." Art gets created, performed, viewed, read, no matter how exactly it happens (and we can't always trust a composer's account of things, and John Adams recently pointed out).
I think that what I perhaps intended to address, or at least suggest, was that the media feeds on images of tortured artists - and I can get caught up in them as much as the next person - but there are plenty of incredible artists in any field (music, visual, literature, etc.) who don't fall into the idea of tortured genius, and I don't think it's a "requirement" to be a successful artist.
To start down a different path, perhaps this is a reason why artists such as Beethoven, Sylvia Plath, Jackson Pollack, et al, have been so revered: not simply because they've produced great works of art, but because their personal story (or at least what we have created that story to be) is intriguing and gives their art an element of "other-worldliness." We get the idea that we should be so privileged to have a window into their life, that's so different and separate from the "real" world that the rest of us reside in. It's connected to Matt's notion of "transcendence" in his comment about a Darcy James Argue piece. If an artist was able to transcend their personal struggles to create something enduring, perhaps we can do the same.
I brought up quite a few ideas and tangents here, and might be making myself less-clear instead of responding and clarifying, but that's how it goes for now.
Thanks for the conversation!