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The relationship between art and drugs: an enduring chemical romance

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The relationship between art and drugs is a matter of intrigue for many people. It is true that art and drugs often find ardent allies for each other. There is a prevailing stereotype that artists of all kinds often use drugs to help them create art.

This is not an unfounded assumption. It is not difficult to imagine how being in an altered state directly affects an individual’s artistic production. Be it in the form of visual art, music, dance, or writing. So there are some Science To support the idea that drugs enhance creativity.

What exactly is the relationship between art and drugs like and what does it tell us?

drugs for art

Perhaps the most obvious way that people interact with the relationship between art and drugs is by taking drugs to aid in the art-making process.

This is quite a metaphor, but the legacy of this practice goes back to Neanderthals. Some scientists believe that hallucinogenic substances, specifically the psilocybin mushroom, She played a crucial role In helping our ancestors make some of the first pieces of art documented in human history, cave art.

Photo by: Vincent Frost

It’s easy to imagine some humble Paleolithic shaman foraging in the wild, stumbling upon psilocybines and unwittingly scurrying off with balls. However, scientists believe that it is very likely that our early ancestors were aware of the effects of hallucinogens. Some scholars suggest that they sought, among other things, for the process of creating art. Paintings of psilocybin mushrooms found in caves point to this conclusion. Sure, the first trip may be accidental, but it’s likely that all subsequent trips will be planned.

To this day, various cultures continue to produce shamanic art, especially indigenous cultures. Different groups have their own conventions about the process. For example, file Shipibo Peru Ayahuasca is used to induce coma, which inspires in visions of geometric shamans who are considered to contain their own energy. The shaman then translates the visions and translates them into music known as medicinal songs for the purpose of healing.

Away from shamanic practices, artists have always been quite vocal about their drug experiment experiences. Andy Warhol He was particularly fond of the amphetamine diet drug Obetrol. He credited him with helping him produce artwork at an uncompromising pace. There is also some speculation that the property contributed to the beauty and recurring motifs that became Warhol’s signature.

One of the most common anecdotes about the relationship between art and drugs comes from writer Thomas de Quincey. Biography Confessions of an English opium eater It specifically reveals:

Now opium, by increasing the activity of the mind in general, increases, necessarily, that particular mode of its activity by which we can build an elaborate intellectual pleasure from the raw material of an organic sound.

Thomas de Quincey

His experiences and those of his contemporaries with opium led to several theories that opium is particularly effective as a literary alarm. The French surrealist Jean Cocteau had a stormy love affair with opium. writing Maison de Sante He depicts dozens of smoke-induced cartoons about his experiences with opium.

The phenomenon of drug use as a catalyst for art is also manifested in the direction of artists Taking different types of medication While making the same image, to show how different influences affect the aesthetic results in the first place. This trend dates back to the 1930s when experiments were conducted on the effects of anesthetic It was in full swing and artists like Henry Michaux It produced drawings made while it was high on Mescaline.

Painting: Henri Michaux

Famous performing artist Marina Abramović Strongly integrate the use of different drugs in its performance. As part of her “Rhythm 2” performance, she took a medication for catonia in order to induce a loss of bodily control while remaining fully conscious. An hour later, she took a drug intended for schizophrenia in order to induce what she described as unconsciousness. The purpose of the show was to experience the conscious and the subconscious.

Her work represents an interesting intersection between the practice of using drugs to make art and the representation of drugs themselves in art.

Drugs in art and art

Artists write, draw, compose music and perform drug pieces for the longest time. Overall Dr. Dre chronic Watch this phenomenon.

cannabis The hallucinogens are probably the most well known children of this practice. Although other medicines often appear as an art as well.

At first glance, Dutch artist Dido “Animal Ecce“It is a skull made of chalk. However, the statue is actually a mixture of street sources Cocaine and gelatin. It is a thought-provoking treatise on the role that cocaine plays in resolving the conflict between human civility and our basic, animal instincts.

Sarah Schoenfeld is another contemporary artist who frequently uses drugs as a medium. In her article,everything you feelSchonfeld puts liquefied drugs (legal and illegal substances) on the photo-negative. After a few days or weeks, a unique chemical reaction occurs, creating an “image” for each drug.

Image copyright: Sarah Schoenfeld

Perhaps one of the best examples of the use of drug imagery and its aesthetics in visual art is Damien Hirst.Sympathy Suite‘At the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas. It’s a loathsome and obnoxious example, but it is well known. Labeled as the ‘most expensive hotel suite in the world’ at $100,000 a night, the Hearst fuses a pharmaceutical aesthetic throughout the suite, perhaps as a kind of silly irony in Vegas culture.For example, he encased bottles of pills, drugs, and other medical paraphernalia inside glass fixtures in kitchen islands, bars, and bathroom cabinets.

I like to think that he might be trying to mentally torture the hyper-billionaires who would stay in that room by constantly reminding them of their impending aspirin binge the next day. In fact, this theory is very likely because many of the art pieces in the hotel room have similarities to his older work entitled “Stand alone on the abyss and overlook the arctic wasteland of pure terror. My money is on sarcasm.

The Beatles’ song “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” has become a slightly less ostentatious but more famous, anthem for LSD. Over the years, John Lennon repeatedly denied That song is about LSD. The name, according to Lennon, is from a painting of his son. The pointed title acronym was printed as a coincidence. Despite his objections, popular culture continued to insist on the song’s dual meaning, referring to the perennial demand for drug representation in art.

Distortion of the relationship between art and drugs

Stories of celebrities, especially musicians and artists, using drugs are often used to further stigmatize drugs while the broader society continues to ignore the root problems that marginalize, isolate and disenfranchise people. Killed goes that people try to become better artists by taking drugs but inadvertently become addicted. Despite the prevailing attitudes that consider artists permanently unemployed, the job of an artist is actually incredibly demanding. It should come as no surprise that some succumb to addiction. Jean-Michel Basquiat is one example. His tragic story is often blamed on his drug use, although it is generally agreed that it did not begin as a result of his desire to boost his creativity but as a way to escape the stress of his life.

Image copyright: Jan Karadec

Science has attempted to explain the relationship between art and drugs by looking at how drugs enhance creativity, lower inhibitions, inspire emotional openness, and encourage introspection. Speaking of emotional openness and introspection, new knowledge gleaned from research now tells us that some drugs actually have them Huge potential for treatment When used correctly and as such it is not as black and white as the DEA makes it.

Even Terrence McKenna, the famous scientist and advocate for narcotics, came up with the idea of ​​”stoned monkey“The theory that exposure to the psilocybin fungus helped spur human evolution by unleashing a myriad of physiological benefits, including the ability to create art. With art, early humans developed culture, learned to communicate better, understood abstract ideas, and shaped Societies In line with this theory, it is plausible that medicines, many of which occur naturally, are simply an integral part of the human environment and those seeking to expand their horizons and experience cognition and creativity are bound to use it as a tool.



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