Art Insanity and Art (Read 1271 times)

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So I love art pretty much. Or not all art. I like art that you can look at/listen to/watch and clearly see something is going on in the head of the artist. Not some picture of a fuckin vase or some ambiguous possible dude/lady. Nah, I'm talking about the tortured soul. Like; Vincent Vangogh's starry night, Picasso's "Blue Period", and The cat guy: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_Wain
 
I don't really know very many others though, I've heard of a few and seen a few but I don't know very much about them. When I get home I want to order some big prints of these artists and put them up on my wall in my bedroom and maybe house. My favorite has got to be the cat man. I read about him here and that guy was amazing. Its not really the material itself that is so inspiring as why he did it. From what I've read and understand he seemed like a pretty simple dude that just loved cats and loved drawing cats. Because of his love of cats he developed schizophrenia and went batshit insane. You can see it clearly in his later work. Its so awesome. Its like even then, even though the guys mind was falling apart, he still kept drawing cats. and it looks like the cats were torturing his mind towards the end. Its just so ironic (I think I used it right this time) and twistedly beautiful how that shit happened to the poor guy.
 
lets talk about more crazy people and their art. It can be any form of art, it doesn't really matter but the artist has to be suffering from some sort of mental illness. Thats the parameters for this topic. I know you might be able to make the argument that Picasso wasn't technically insane, but during the blue period he was suffering through some serious depression which influenced his art for a prolonged period of time. So we can count stuff like that as insanity.
 
Also if anyone knows where I can order the prints online that would be helpful too because I have no idea. I want them about 2ft by 1ft maybe? or larger, I'm not picky I just don't want them too small. I don't want to buy original artwork but copies cus I do not have that kind of money (der).
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Another view on vangogh I heard when I was in school was his battle with failure. Failure with love, failure to have a family of his own, failure to get noteriety as an artist and finally his failure to even kill himself properly. I guess that has something to do with his anxiety and the cause for progression of his mental illness? I know part of it was the lead paint but damn if you think you keep fucking up everything you try, well, that won't help you get better either?
 
Edit: awwwww shit I just saw the skull smoking the cigarette and I want that one too. that ones me all the way..
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I dunno. Mostly when I think about mental illness in art it's something that takes the form of this kind of horribly closed-in worldview or sensibility, this claustrophobic sense of someone disappearing into their own brain until they can barely relate to any parts of the outside world that don't confirm to what they're already thinking. What Phillip K Dick called the chinese fingertrap of paranoia, I guess. I'm thinking of Henry Darger's newspaper clippings, or Dick's private cosmology built from scraps of philosophy and sci-fi, or to a lesser extent Theodor Adorno in "Minimia Moralia" convinced that every kind of personal or political relationship had been fatally infected with hidden fascist tendencies. All these things can have a kind of queasy power to them but that mostly comes from the way in which they try to relate their own thoughts to the world around them and balance out the two. Dick's "VALIS" is great for the way it tries to work out and understand his private fascinations via fiction; his "Exegesis", the actual book of what he believed, is totally unreadable and tedious in the same way that Darger's writings are. I guess the MOREL or whatever is that insanity in art is generally less an amazing new world than it is a kind of horrifically banal prison pit where you chase the same arbitrary obsessions around a circle over and over again but IDK maybe I'm just a prude.
 
Having said that, I guess like I say I do think Dick's later stuff is very good. Fletcher Hank's comics and Joe Meek's pop music both have this kind of startling individual sensibility to them. I like James Castle's cardboard constructions. There's a possibility that William Blake was schizophrenic. IIRC Carl Jung thought the same of James Joyce altho tbh I'd be more inclined to view that one as an example of how tremendously stupid and reductive psychoanalytic interpretations of art can be. I can't think of anyone else right now!
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www.youtube.com/watch?v=cWvZw1F6qMM
http://djsaint-hubert.bandcamp.com/
 
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I really like that post cata but if you could I dunno, explain a little bit more? Maybe use examples of their work or what exactly their belief systems are it would be easier to understand. I mean I got what you are saying but I don't fully understand it. Maybe I'm just dense but I get that alot from your posts like I should know who all those people are but I don't know anything about them except what you tell me.

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Mostly when I think about mental illness in art it's something that takes the form of this kind of horribly closed-in worldview or sensibility, this claustrophobic sense of someone disappearing into their own brain until they can barely relate to any parts of the outside world that don't confirm to what they're already thinking.

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I guess the MOREL or whatever is that insanity in art is generally less an amazing new world than it is a kind of horrifically banal prison pit where you chase the same arbitrary obsessions around a circle over and over again but IDK maybe I'm just a prude.

I like this and I think you're right...to an extent. I don't think its as easy as just a broken mind retracing incomprehensable thoughts. But I know exactly where you're coming from.

I had a friend like this, he has delusions of grandure to the point of self-destruction. I found out he is bi-polar and manic depressive recently and its really turned him into a terrible person. He hates women and will tell you this. I thought it was just the way he grew up and his own personal problems he needed to overcome but I was wrong. He's a monster. When he's with a girl and she falls in love with him he gets into their heads and messes them up, charles manson style. The last girl I was with was a victim of this (I didn't know what I was walking into) and went from being a good person to a monster, just like him. The last time I talked to him I quit having anything to do with him because he sat there for like 3 hours and tried to convince me that most of our pollution in the atmosphere is being carried on wind currents from china directly to florida or some crazy ass shit. And when I told him, "no dude, its not...I've been to china that shit sits in the yellow sea pretty much" he just went banal and kept trying to convince me of it. He's convinced that he will be a great rapper and change the world with his music but he sounds like a 13 year old with his shit riddled with terribly written "faggot jokes". Dude is an avid conspiracy theorist and looks up the most nonsensical things to believe in. He actually told me one time that he did in fact believe in god, but thinks that god has a personal vendetta against him and wants to see him fail. (not the same as someone saying "god hates me" he is actually convinced that he's so important every move he makes and everything he does is directly influenced by a vengeful god that hates him for no reason.)

The point I'm trying to make is, in this example I used I think you're right. But with truly gifted artists like "the cat man" I think they unwittingly hit a different note? Its like when you say something profound you didn't mean to? I feel like the closest a sane person can get to experiencing insanity is through the use of psychedelic drugs. And no I'm not promoting drug use. But the first time I tripped I literally felt what it was like to be insane. To lose all control over your own thoughts and think things that you ordinarily would never even imagine. Its like someone is putting those things inside of your head. I feel like certain gifted people that are naturally insane have an ingrained talent and can act on this without realizing it.

The last time I tripped I was thinking to myself about hitler, charles manson, the people's temple, ghandi, jesus christ and buddha. You wouldn't ever think all these people had something in common right? They're all important people in history, they've all influenced history to a great extent in one form or another. All on my own. Without reading, listening to music, or watching anything remotely related to any of these people I came to the realization that they were all just people with good intent. They wanted good things, they all meant well. None of them were truly evil and the archaic concept of "evil" does not in fact exist. Its how these people go about making their good intent a reality, that defines who they are and what they will do. Why half of them are saints and the others sinners.

I think this is what insane people experience all the time, the experience I'm trying to explain. Just jumbled and incoherant, because they don't have the mental strength to process it and figure it out.

Its just my opinion though, I'm gonna try to look up the names you were dropping but it'd def be cool to actually see bits of it.
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gonna read all thos text later. anyway just came to say this reminds me of Henry Darger. there is a documentary about him go check it out.
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Ahh, sorry. I might have grown too accustomed to The Google Age or something so here is elaboration:
 
- Philip K Dick was a science fiction writer, he was the guy who wrote the book Blade Runner was based on ("Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep") as well as a ton more besides. A lot of his later stuff has to do with these kind of conflicting realities. Like someone will find out that the world they live in is some kind of hallucination or lie, but then instead of figuring out what the "real world" is they just become trapped in this kind of existential doubt. How do you tell what's real when you can't even trust the evidence of your own senses?? "Martian Time-Slip" is probably my favourite book of his, it starts like generic science fiction (colonist earthlings trying to scrape out a living on Mars) and then there is this kind of violent schizophrenic breakdown (the same scene is repeated multiple times with changes, what really happened is never established) and as a result everything afterwards becomes kind of slippery and unreal.
"VALIS" was written after he had a kind of schizophrenic episode where he supposedly flashed back in time to ancient Rome and also got hit by a beam of pink light sent by a floating space satellite (God?) that told him his child was going to die unless taken to a doctor immediately. He took the kid to a doctor and found out he did actually have a life-threatening disease that would have killed him if not treated. He wrote an "exegesis" or testament thing expressing his strange religious philosophy. A central part of it was that the universe was a twin embryo where one of the twins died (Dick's twin sister died in birth) and that the presence of evil was due to this dead twin causing an infection in the world. VALIS goes into this stuff a lot.
"I consider myself a spokesperson for Disneyland because I live just a few miles from it" - P.K. Dick
 
- Henry Darger was a janitor who wrote this very strange fantasy saga based around children. The children were enslaved and tormented by villainous adults and eventually there was a Child's Revolution or something and idk a whole fantasy universe based around this theme. He clipped out newspaper reports to do with dead or kidnapped children as evidence of a universal war between kids and adults. He also drew handmade illustrations for his books mainly consisting of collages of traced figures. A lot of the kids were naked and there might have been a whole paedophilia angle idk. I don't know much of his stuff.
 
- Theodor Adorno was a Marxist critic from the Frankfurt school who emigrated to the USA to escape Nazi persecution. While he was there he wrote "Minimia Moralia", a bunch of short fragmented essays about different aspects of everyday life or art. It's one of the most unrelentingly negative & paranoid books I've ever read. The recurring theme is that "life is not living", that existence has been fatally tainted by capitalism / fascism to the extent where even the most innocuous activities betray some oppressive aspect. I don't think he was insane at all but I thought there were some similarities to paranoid works by Dick etc.
 
- Fletcher Hanks was a Golden Age comic artist and abusive alcoholic. Most of his stuff has amazing colours and odd recurring patterns (eg people being crushed, bizarre muscle depictions, grimacing faces, people floating in space). http://climaxyourmind.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/stardust_is_emphatic.jpg His stuff was reprinted recently in two books, I forget the name of his first one but I have the second called "You Shall Be Destroyed By Your Own Evil Creation" and it rules.
 
- Joe Meek was a British pop music producer. Kind of like Phil Spector. He did "Telstar" and a bunch of other songs with bizarre sci-fi production. Would record the sounds of flushing toilets and wooden blocks falling down stairs and turn them into pop singles. He killed his landlady and then shot himself.
 
- James Castle was a deaf & possibly mentally disabled midwestern man who used materials such as charcoal, soot, cardboard, old newspaper to create paintings and cardboard puppet constructions. http://www.bampfa.berkeley.edu/images/art/castle/Castle_cover.jpg.
 
- William Blake was a self-taught 18th century poet and illustrator. He wrote that poem Tyger Tyger Burning Bright Etc and all his stuff is pretty fantastic. Used to claim inspirations from highly detailed visions and spent his later years creating this complicated personal symbolic mythology of demons and gods battling for supremacy. Orc and Albion and Los. His "Prophetic Works" are like a really strange, dense mutation of christianity. He's one of my favourite poets I think.
 
- James Joyce had a schizophrenic daughter and his book Finnegans Wake was written entirely in a kind of strange pseudo-english language of allusion and reference (and really bad linguistic puns). All his stuff is great!!
 
 
Anyway yeah I get a lot out of all these people and generally think the appeal of "outsider art" or whatever is that it provides this kind of oblique view of the world that makes you look at things in a different way, that kind of pulls you out of yourself. I like this sensation!! I am just nervous about uh fetishising mental illness per se when really I think most of these people did their best work not because of insanity but maybe in spite of it. I kind of like people like Jack Kirby and TS Eliot and JG Ballard and Max Ernst and such because they were able to produce crazy shit while remaining very staid, regular people. I like the idea that inspiration isn't just reserved for psychotics or addicts, that regular folks could just create these odd and private worlds without having to destroy themselves in the process.
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ugh doublepost :/
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The art, creative and music industries are known to have a much higher percentage of people with mental illness than other ones. However most of these studies do feel rather patronising about how our brains work differently and we don't filter out the subconcious as much as you regular folk do. I think out of the 11 fulltime students during my course, 4 of us were bi-polar, at least 3 of us having spent time in a hospital for it.

Bi-Polar and stuff are commonly associated with art, leading to many hipster kids trying to get diagnosed with them for cool props amongst their fellow hipster friends, and just essentially shitting on us with the real illnesses. I've had people say to me 'you're bi-polar, that must be so cool', and it's gross. It's like saying 'you're crippled from the waist down, that's so cool', because it can be a really physical illness when you're proper low and don't have the energy to move out of bed for three days so you just lie there crying. IT'S SO COOL!

William Blake was a cool guy, when I was researching him for my final paper, he did weird stuff like he actually saw demons and ghosts and monsters, or at least believed he did. 'The ghost of a flea' being the most famous example.

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He actually told me one time that he did in fact believe in god, but thinks that god has a personal vendetta against him and wants to see him fail. (not the same as someone saying "god hates me" he is actually convinced that he's so important every move he makes and everything he does is directly influenced by a vengeful god that hates him for no reason.)
I've got a good friend and she believes that as well, that kinda psychosis can be common in people who're really low (though not me personally, though yeah when proper low it really does feel like the universe is out just to get you personally.), because it's like everything goes wrong, and if it goes so wrong for us, how can everybody else seem to have a fun normal life? How come I could only find odd socks yet my housemate is wearing a matching pair? Now there's a hole in my pocket and I've lost all my money blah blah blah. They seem like trivial things, but they build up and any one can really be the single one to set you off. I've gone to uni, and left after ten minutes to spend my day curled up in bed because i accidentally smudged a pen line.
As 'trivial' as these little things are, when you're already low, it feels like god, or the cosmic energy or whatever are dilleberately pushing you down, a constant stream of disappointment to just remind you that you are ultimately worthless and might as well die.

I tend to keep a cool head with my art, and make it more intillectual than emotional, because I don't really like to get those thoughts out there, however with my music I just tend to let go and write/synthesise/play a song there and then, and then mix and save it, keeping it as a record of my emotional state of the time. Then I'll arrange stuff into an album or something. Captain Beefheart and Syd Barrett are believed to have suffered from mental illness, and both helped revolutionise popular music. They're cool cats. Wild Man Fischer is the best example though of just cliche crazyguy making music, if you can call it music. I can't really listen to it anymore though due to a bad experience while low, which kinda sucks.
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Senetian Vnares is probably bipolar. He has a song called "Lithium Twatting"

and yeah I always thought the appeal of artshit is like getting to inhabit someone's headspace. Frog World was supposed to be pretty reflective of a time where I felt pretty shitty/grim about things and most of it was done in a few days. I like trying to capture not just my headspace for posterity but my headspace at a certain time so I can capture the essential whatever of it. Like if you made a soundtrack to your childhood but it's this weird melty version based on the distorted stuff you take from it as an adult and how you kind of view it as this mysterious source of maybe ANSWERS or something. If only I had gotten a 3DO instead of playstation... if only
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I am just nervous about uh fetishising mental illness per se when really I think most of these people did their best work not because of insanity but maybe in spite of it. I kind of like people like Jack Kirby and TS Eliot and JG Ballard and Max Ernst and such because they were able to produce crazy shit while remaining very staid, regular people. I like the idea that inspiration isn't just reserved for psychotics or addicts, that regular folks could just create these odd and private worlds without having to destroy themselves in the process.

Yes and I totally agree with you. I guess it just seems more genuine to me if they're struggling with mental illness? I think its the whole unwillingness of it kind of like a product of fate? I mean I don't really get off on their misfortune or anything and I think an artist that can still operate while dealing with the mental illness is much more admirable.

Is TS eliot the one that wrote the poem about the end of the world? or was that robert frost? I really liked that one I was thinking about it getting framed too.

Also if there are better artists that do this sort of stuff while sane then I'd love to see them too. I think it still relates to the whole subject matter.

Thanks for that all of those guys sounded awesome and I'm prolly gonna try to get atleast some of their works when I get home.
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because it's like everything goes wrong, and if it goes so wrong for us, how can everybody else seem to have a fun normal life?

what you have to remind yourself is that no one does. Sane people struggle with the same shit dude. For me, the past three months everything that can go wrong has gone wrong and then got worse. You just got to push on hard as you can and fight it. You'll get stronger that way. You just gotta try to be really stubborn in the right ways. I know its harder because you got a chemical imbalance. But I always thought that even though, those kinds of people would like to hear that? Its the truth. Thats what I tried to tell old girl and the dude but all they did was ignore me like I didn't understand. Or maybe it was just a copout for not trying? Like yeah I know disease and the medicine is supposed to help but fuck a pill can't erase your thoughts right? You have to do that right?
 
Yeah I know this is kind of spinning off a lil bit but both the people I'm talking about were artists or considered themselves. Its just one of em actually had some talent and the other didn't and convinced himself he did(delusions).
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thing is, there's a major difference between say sadness depression and medical depression. Leading to the strange circumstances when we can be suicidally depressed yet happy, or on a massive massive high yet sad. You can be consciously aware that say, life is on an upturn yet at the same time the low just hits for no reason. It's not really like a mindset that can be changed very well through positive thinking (the current ways shrinks 'cure' patients over here are still not trusted by a lot of people because it is so easy to play them to get the all clear). It's kinda like having a limb cut off, and then it regrowing, at random times. It hurts so much when low, but you can try and convince yourself that it's fine, but the pain is still there. Likewise when on a high, literally nothing can slow my head down so I can spend days or weeks at a time without sleep, and stuff like meditation or autogenic training have no effect. Oddly, the only thing I have noticed which does have an effect is making music :D
This is why a lot of people with mental illness are statistically more likely to form an addiction. When really bad last year I was drinking a near lethal amount, smoking 20-40 a day and taking painkillers, just to have a control on my head. It was never like a calculated decision, but a case of doing whatever possible to stop the pain.
I still get proper low these days (just came through a real bad patch) and the pain of the depression is really unbearable, but I'm better at coping with it now, and while I still get real bad thoughts, I just try to ignore them. I learned to disconnect myself from myself so to speak.
I enjoy anything related to poodles. It's a Zappa thing. And Jack Kirby comics... it's impossible to frown when facing Darkseid.
On the flip side, I'm able to use that kinda constantly changing mood as a creative spark and using it to make experimental music. Obv though, I'm mainly talking bout my own experiences and such, and these things can differ dramatically from case to case, which is why mental illnesses can be so difficult to diagnose.

The chemical imbalance thing is only one of the suggested reasons for mental disorder. There's also potential psychological reasons or a difference in brain matter/activity. Like how Psychopaths have the part of their brain which relates to empathy noticably smaller than the average, and also contain a 'warrior gene'(it's actual nickname). And funnily enough, you find a higher percentage of people with psycopathic makeup in the finance and stock exchange areas.
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That explains alot and helps me understand. I still feel like when someone tells me "oh thats a nice thing to say but I'm bipolar and it doesn't matter, I have to wait for my medicine to work or I'm fucked." Allday, everyday. Lies to me and uses me while purposefully choosing a self destructive path because of a heartbreak over a piece of shit. That person is not trying. I should stop thinking about it though, it doesn't help anything. That person isn't worth my time, I know that.

It seems like you're getting better though kaworu and if you are then I'm glad you are. You deserve it.
 
But like you said about being able to play the doctor. Bullshitting and lying. I don't care what illness you have you can still tell right from wrong. You can hurt but its not right to hurt others.
 
 
Edit; MORE PICTURES MORE MORE MORE
 
THERES GOTTA BE SOME MORE CRAZY ART OUT THERE
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I liked wann but those all seem to be like the indie wannabe dick strokers that kaworu was talking about. Like the first one is terrible, abstract and the image it does make is completely valueless on any level. And whoever wrote the captions for them is even worse because he's just blowing up their already massive egos. You'd have to have a massive ego to draw the first set of pictures and think that that shit is anything but a toddler's fingerpaint.
 
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To most hands, Jacqueline Jones' colors would smear one into the other and trap us in an unknowing whirligig of distant shape and useless form. But Jones uses her lines like a cop uses the white gloves, pushing aside the chaotic to see the way through. But then, in a surprising twist, Jones flattens everything in other paintings so that the image...whether portraits, street scene or her mysterious bird...seems to wait for us to lift it off the plane.

http://www.outsiderart.info/images11/jones3.jpg
 
I saw a couple cool artists in there though
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I thought the cat was pretty classy and awesome
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max ernst - the entire city. i like this panting it remind me of the turok game :o )
http://www.famous-painters.org/Max-Ernst/ernst-gallery/47.jpg "the robing of the bride" by the same guy. theres a jg ballard book where he says that this painting sums up "the majesty and mystery of women" or something like that. ive no opinion...
 
http://www.ibiblio.org/wm/paint/auth/redon/redon.cyclops.jpg odilon redon draws good eyes and colours
http://lh6.ggpht.com/_xJE764-yiU4/S8wedry4dRE/AAAAAAAACsM/9K4ggOYGHVk/OdilonRedon18401916.jpg lisa frank
 
http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-tJUjTwsdCic/ThYAj6Oa9-I/AAAAAAAAAmo/HeXE8f_XstI/s1600/Jupiter_and_Semele.jpg http://artmight.com/albums/classic-g/Gustave-Moreau-1826-1898/Gustave-Moreau-1826-1898-/the-apparition.jpg i dont know anything about gustave moreau but i like the feverish colours in his stuff?? honestly if you put any piece of art history before me then i'd probably just parse it as more weird stuff from the ragnar thread (the implications of this are unknown..)
 
http://www.mfa.org/sites/default/files/images/Bresdin-GoodSamaritan.crop_.showcase_1.jpg the good samaritan by bresdin because all the paintings i know were the ones collected by the mad inbred aristocrat from the book "against nature" by huysmans.
 
http://dl.dropbox.com/u/42127055/thirdeye1.jpg scene from Dr. Strange, artist unknown, date unknown
 
thats all i know..
 
edit: this is a pretty bad post, i just don't know any art it appears
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  • clockamite
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Quote from: William
My mother groan'd! my father wept,
Into the dangerous world I leapt;
Helpless, naked, piping loud:
Like a fiend hid in a cloud.

Quote from: Hundley
It was a dark and stormy night when I jumped out my mother's cunt

great minds...
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I'm an artist and I'm pretty messed up. 
I can see how insanity can lead to great pieces of art ( emotional pathological Expression) , but I can also and have witnessed a Piece driving me to insanity(FFFFFFFffffffffffffffffuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu!!!! ).
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