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Artist Draws Self Portraits for Dozens of Drugs. Good or Bad?

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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An artist drew dozens of self-renderings while under the influence of varying drugs, and the series has found its way to a scrollable media platform where it’s touted as “all kinds of cool”. Check it out. Commenters congratulate the artist; point out hilarity they find in some of the work; empathize with some of the drugs’ effects; and request that he not die.

This series, is it something to be admired, to further our conception of these substances? Or is it car-crash, shock and awe media? Does this form of art confirm or negate the seriousness of drug use and the struggles of those coping with chronic dependency and addiction?

An artist statement:

“After experiencing drastic changes in my environment, I looked for other experiences that might profoundly affect my perception of the self. So I devised another experiment where everyday I took a different drug and drew myself under the influence. Within weeks I became lethargic and suffered mild brain damage. I am still conducting this experiment but over greater lapses of time. I only take drugs that are given to me.”

— Artist Bryan Lewis Saunders

Cassie Rodenberg About the Author: I write on culture, poverty, addiction, and mental illness: I explore things we like to ignore. I also teach public school in New York City's South Bronx. Follow on Twitter @cassierodenberg.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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  1. 1. aidel 3:50 pm 10/30/2012

    I have issues with people who romanticize the use of drugs as a gateway for unlocking creativity. I hope the artist survives his experiment.

    Link to this

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