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ark_a_dong's avatar

Q: Why do you think schizophrenics are considered good at art?

Asked by ark_a_dong (601 points ) February 24th, 2009
Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

23 Answers

Likeradar's avatar

They are?

Anaphase's avatar

I’ve never heard that.

bigbanana's avatar

never heard that. me neither.

aprilsimnel's avatar

I lived with a person who was diagnosed a paranoid schizophrenic. Nope. Not good at art.

ark_a_dong's avatar

No? I just remember reading it somewhere on the internet, whether it was some random post on a chan or not, but I thought it was true.

I suppose it’s a silly question though, since art is subjective anyways.

but I was thinking of the question today, believing it to be true, and I thought I had found something compelling. i’m afraid not.

susanc's avatar

There’s a long tradition of looking with interest at art done by schizophrenics, and a surprisingly consistent style among these people. That’s not to say that most people think of all of this art as “good”. It’s more that it’s intriguing. Tends to be very involved and self-absorbed.

cak's avatar

@susanc – very interesting!

loser's avatar

Where did we fish this stereotype up from?

uporo's avatar

They have many different points of view.

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

They have a lot of art therapy in mental hospitals.

@loser, the stereotype may have come from Salvador Dali, who employed what he called the “Paranoid-Critical Method.” He claimed that he would hallucinate, then come down and paint what he saw.

Dali was a very flamboyant individual. If he was ever diagnosed with schizophrenia, there was no publicity about it.

Darwin's avatar

As Likeradar said, They are?

Darwin's avatar

@IchtheosaurusRex -

“The only difference between me and a madman is that I am not mad” – Salvador Dali (1904–1989)

steelmarket's avatar

Dali carefully developed his image as an eccentric. And, it worked well for him. I think he was a very smart, very sane, very talented, very calculating person.

susanc's avatar

@loser: google this. I’m sorry, but it really is surprisingly common. We don’t like to stereotype and obviously there’s a range. But if you give an identified schizophrenic guy a ballpoint pen and a sheet of white paper, he’s very likely to cover the entire sheet of paper with tiny labyrinths with monsters emerging from them with staring eyes, and
Escheresque shifts of perspective, only not as planned-out. If you give him (or her, of course) a bunch of paints and brushes and an easel, he (or she) will on the other hand very likely become chaotic and frightened, because control is what gives him (or her)
comfort, and the paint slides around too much on its own. That’s why the tiny controllable lines made by ballpoint or pencil (ballpoint is better ‘cause you can’t erase or smudge) are so reassuring.

wundayatta's avatar

Dali’s work struck me as something that a bipolar person would produce. At any rate, when I went through the Dali museum last year, I felt an incredibly strong sense of recognition.

Judi's avatar

That’s freaky daloon! Dali scares me, although I do have 2 of his pieces.

Darwin's avatar

I love Dali’s work. I also like some of the work of Luis Buñuel, Max Ernst, Giorgio de Chirico, and, most of all, René Magritte. I enjoy surrealism very much. It is fantasy made visual.

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

I spoke of Dali only with the deepest admiration. I’ve got a couple of coffee table books and some calendars.

@daloon, I don’t think you could classify him as bipolar. Narcissistic, yes – but the man was a genius, and he had a right to be.

wundayatta's avatar

@IchtheosaurusRex: I don’t know enough about his life to say about bipolar. All I know is that when I was in the museum, the pictures had bipolar written all over them. At least, to me. Obviously, my perception may not reflect reality in any approximate way.

Judi's avatar

His wife kept him on uppers to keep him producing to make more money.

LostInParadise's avatar

This may be totally unrelated, but there is a tradition among certain Western Native Americans to use peyote to get visions for producing art.

http://www.upress.state.ms.us/books/571

I would doubt that there is much connection between the state of mind produced by a hallucinogen and schizophrenia, except that shizophreniacs do have hallucinations in the form of voices that they hear.

wundayatta's avatar

@Judi: Hmmm. Uppers are used to treat ADD. ADD is a common comorbidity with Bipolar. If the uppers calmed him down so he could work, she might have mistaken that for them making him work harder.

How do you know this, anyway?

LostInParadise's avatar

In general, how closely do insanity and genius relate to one another? There have certainly been artists like van Gogh and Munch who were quite mad. I know of two great mathematicians, Cantor, who invented set theory and Godel, creator of the Incompleteness Theorem, who became insane in their later years. I think @daloon may have a point in singing out bipolar disorder. One reason may be that when bipolars are up they have great bursts of energy that could possibly have an outlet in artistic production

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