List of artists with "broken" minds?
February 9, 2019 6:36 PM   Subscribe

I'm starting to get into drawing and was wondering if the hivemind could name some artists for me whose work I could discover who explored different states of mind like psychosis, hallucinations, and delusions and the emotional states that came with that. Basically, I'd like to see the art of a mind that is "broken" in some way. Thanks!
posted by Gosha_Dog to Media & Arts (20 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Louis Wain is the most famous example I can think of.
posted by forbiddencabinet at 6:42 PM on February 9 [4 favorites]

Van Gogh is an obvious one.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 6:45 PM on February 9

Richard Dadd
posted by unicorn chaser at 6:59 PM on February 9 [1 favorite]

William Blake.

(This is a tricky question, because severe mental illness is generally incompatible with artistic creation. Anthony Storr and Kay Redfield Jamison are good on this topic.)
posted by holgate at 7:01 PM on February 9 [3 favorites]

You might like the Collection de l'Art Brut. Some of the artists have health issues or disabilities. Others are simply untrained.
posted by Arctic Circle at 7:08 PM on February 9

Mindful: Exploring Mental Health through Art

"Mindful examines creative responses to mental health conditions through the inclusion of artworks made by artists who have been diagnosed with or affected by mental illness. The show highlights a variety of techniques and forms that include innovative art expressions rooted in traditional craft materials, as well as art that explores unexpected relationships between craft and painting, sculpture, conceptual, and installation art."

Link includes images from the exhibit and artists' statements. I like the idea of examining the interplay of mind/spirit/craft rather than considering these artists as having broken minds.
posted by MonkeyToes at 7:35 PM on February 9

Yayoi Kusama.
posted by huimangm at 8:25 PM on February 9 [3 favorites]

severe mental illness is generally incompatible with artistic creation

This is simply not true. Many, many peer-run centers for people with mental-health challenges, many of whom have what are generally called "severe mental illnesses," have arts programs, and I've seen some amazing work. So I'd recommend that you look for your local peer-run center and ask if they have any art shows coming up. I would strongly, strongly suggest you refrain from using the word "broken" to describe their minds, though.

The term "Visionary Art" might also turn up some of what you're looking for.
posted by lazuli at 8:45 PM on February 9 [6 favorites]

Daniel Johnston does visual art in addition to music.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 8:53 PM on February 9 [1 favorite]

Witkacy famously annotated his paintings with a list of substances taken during their creation, ranging from caffeine to peyote.
posted by I claim sanctuary at 10:35 PM on February 9 [1 favorite]

Kim Noble is an artist with Dissociative Identity Disorder who wrote a book about her experience.
posted by Illuminated Clocks at 11:34 PM on February 9 [1 favorite]

My understanding is that Outsider art is sometimes created by people with some form of mental illness.
posted by soundguy99 at 11:49 PM on February 9 [2 favorites]

Edvard Munch
posted by speakeasy at 11:53 PM on February 9 [3 favorites]

Some scholars have claimed this about later period Goya - especially the legendary 'Black Paintings.'
posted by kickingtheground at 1:14 AM on February 10

Ron Hampshire's art was produced within a studio set up by the Netherne psychiatric hospital in the 1950s and 1960s to explore art therapy practices.
posted by freya_lamb at 3:32 AM on February 10

As huimangm said Yayoi Kusama. And, Yayoi Kusama and Psychedelic Schizophrenia.
posted by Gotanda at 5:15 AM on February 10

Check out Ellen Forney's Marbles. It is an autobiography of her career and talks about a lot of other artists.
posted by clew at 10:22 AM on February 10

Henry Darger. To steal from Wikipedia: Darger become famous for his posthumously discovered 15,145-page, single-spaced fantasy manuscript called The Story of the Vivian Girls, in What Is Known as the Realms of the Unreal, of the Glandeco-Angelinian War Storm, Caused by the Child Slave Rebellion, along with several hundred drawings and watercolor paintings illustrating the story.
posted by drawfrommemory at 10:57 AM on February 10 [1 favorite]

See this site as well, from the Art Canada Institute, for more info about William Kurelek.

He's best know for his paintings of the immigrant experience on the Canadian prairies, but he suffered a spiritual/psychological crisis in his life, and was admitted to a psychiatric hospital in England for a few years. He painted one of his better know works during that time – The Maze – which he said provided a view inside his skull. He explored themes about religion as well.

If you're interested enough, there's a documentary exploring some of this. You can rent/buy William Kurelek’s The Maze , which "takes an intimate look at the attempted suicide and self-professed 'spiritual crisis' " of Kurelek.
He wrote an autobiography too.
posted by Kabanos at 8:33 AM on February 11

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