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Art on Drugs - about Bryan Lewis Saunders and Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz (Witkacy)

I stumbled upon an article written on Cultso about Bryan Lewis Saunders, an artist who had decided to paint a series of self-portraits on drugs.

He describes his project as follows:

“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.”

This is the one I enjoyed the most, created under influence of 10mg of Loritab:

10mg Loritab

Still, the idea of painting on drugs is nothing new. If you think that Bryan's collection of self portraits was interesting, you should get to know Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz aka Witkacy, a Polish artist, who after 1925 has established a portrait company and offered his patrons drug-assisted works. Each painting or drawing that was completed under influence has a note scribbled in the corner or on the margin detailing what was taken - or not taken. Some are noted plainly (for example 3 vodkas and 2 beers), while others in code; "NP" means "didn't smoke", "Nπ" means "didn't drink", "Co" indicates cocaine, "peyotl" indicates peyote, "Mesk" mescaline etc., all usually followed by either quantities or, as with the first two, days of abstinence.

I had a rare opportunity to see some of his works during "Od Maneta do Gauguina" ("From Manet to Gauguin") impressionist and post-impressionist art exhibition in Warsaw in 2001 and enjoyed it immensely. I implore you to have a look at this collection of his art.