I’m thinking about madness and art. Perhaps because I just watched Control (Sam Riley-athon continues). Setting aside Curtis’ physical problems, which were a big part of what did him in…
I know the madness question has been turned around and around and around. Does the pursuit of creation drive a person mad or do you have to be mad to want to create?
I don’t know.
Rick Moody looks at it in the an essay about Artaud (and himself) in the June 2009 Believer. "Psychosis is timeless, psychosis is exclusionary, psychosis is isolated, psychosis is excruciating.”
And I essentially ask the same question of cat artist and one of the tragic figures in my menagerie of tragedy, Louis Wain.
Wain started drawing anthropomorphic cats to comfort his dying wife. Then, as his mental health deteriorated, his cats turned on him. Anxious eyes surrounded by startling abstractions.
When he was committed in 1925, he was destitute. Who found him? H.G. Wells. It’s a fascinating story worth taking a look at.