“There’s a fine line between genius and insanity. I have erased this line.”

April 12, 2004

Oscar Levant

I was browsing around some web pages today and found a painting by a man named David Bayes, who, I should definitely add, was (or still is?) schizophrenic. [http://www.epub.org.br/cm/gallery/gall_leonardo/main.htm]. His are the pictures from the boy, over.

“This is a small fragment of a huge painting by a 25 years-old schizophrenic artist. Raised in a farm in Canada’s mid-west plains, he experienced a very violent childhood that turn made totally shy and closed and he took refuge in a world of strange fantasies. “

I can only guess that some sections of the painting have to do with parts of his life (like the ones of the boy getting the shit beaten out of him), which makes it sort of mysterious. There’s nothing else on the internet about the guy. Regardless, they’re pretty dark, deep, intense paintings. It’s hard to understand why some artists are considered genius, while others like this are considered insane. Given he may have been completely off of his rocker when it came to anything else, but the fact that he made an entire painting filled with this stuff is nothing short of amazing, to me. Yet the best mention he gets is on a Brazilian Neuroscience site.

My favorite has to be the first one; the picture of what I guess would be him, sitting inside of a skull. Bone, then blood, then skin, then hair – an entire world inside of a head. Creepy, and symbolic. They entire thing is scary as hell, but each scene has a certain familiarity to it – you can understand what the guy was trying to achieve. If he was aware of trying to achieve anything, that is.

They’re the type of things you expect to vaguely remember after waking from a fever or drug induced dream. Instead, they are this man’s reality. It almost reminds me of a horror movie or (dare I say) crazy clay-mation “Tool” video. It’s truly interesting what the human mind can come up with. And it also communicates well why most people who develop schizophrenia commit suicide “within the first 10 years of their illness.” It seems to be some sort of living hell.

When you see talent like this you have to wonder how thin the lines are between genius, insane, happy, sad, normal, abnormal, etc. Maybe we’re all one step from teetering over the edge. Either way, I really wish I could find the whole painting.

Coming in a close second in “lunatic artists” is Louis Wain, a man who went from drawing strange cat pictures to… even stranger cat pictures. The latter looking like something an acid trippin hippy would have made in the 60’s.
For instance: Happy bowler hat cat
Psycho cat & acid blotter cat.

Shout out to the schizophrenics!


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