November 26, 2013

Based on these 45 self-portraits...

... and only these self-portraits, which drug would you pick if:

1. You wanted to produce the best artwork?

2. You had to take the drug all the time and would always feel the way it makes you feel?

3. You could take the drug sometimes, when you were in the mood for it, as a variation on normal, undrugged life?

Don't worry about the illegality of some of the drugs. The question is only about the drug experience as understood through the artist's depiction. Don't factor in other things you may know about the drugs. Restrict yourself to the evidence in the self-portraits. Pick ONE drug per question.

I won't ask which is the last drug you'd take on this list of 45, because more than half of them seem like an obviously very bad idea.

I'll give my answers later because I don't want you to be under the influence... of Althouse.

45 comments:

ironrailsironweights said...

Pruno, cool.
Though he didn't include licking hallucinogenic frogs.

Peter

AustinRoth said...

I don't know - it struck me as forced and phony - he set out with a goal, and made it happen.

The radical differences in many of these 'self portraits' really don't seem to have a relationship to the actual effects and change in mind-state associated of many of these drugs (says a voice of experience with many of them).

madAsHell said...

Fuck the selfies!

Did you see all the half-naked women on the right hand side of that page??

surfed said...

No drugs. No selfies. Both are pretty much stale at this point anyway.

Robert Cook said...

Valium.

surfed said...

Addendum - Easy for me to say 60+ years down the road. And what a long strange trip it's been.

surfed said...

Vitamin Xanex

Ron said...

For those of us who need to not be under the influence of Althouse, there is always AAAA. Tends to be first in the phone book after towing and dog grooming businesses. There is also a 12 step program for those who've had too much Meade.

betamax3000 said...

Sorry to not answer the questions but this an exercise in the artist's cleverness.

Clever, but bullshit. The artist is self-consciously depicting his existing opinions of the drugs: this ia about what he thinks his art should look like under the drug's reputation. An exercise in experimenting with styles, but the styles are too self-aware to be representative of under said influence.

Random examples:

Nicotine Gum: Really? It is that mind-altering to remove color from the palette? Does this reflect nicotine gum to a non-tobbaco user, or to someone abstaining from smoking for a day? Oh, the angst.

Abilify / Xanax / Ativan: a day's experience with this mix produces girlish ponies and emanates colorful rays? These drugs promote an overwhelming desire to resort to cliche? Sidenote: The tattoos on the arm further cement my opinion of this as an exercise in hipster cleverness.

Considering that many of the listed medications can take weeks to achieve even a modest effect, a short cruise on Abilify does not provide the life-and-space altering depiction he has illustrated. I find this mildly insulting to those who use those drugs for a reason: look at me, I get you.

He got some clicks, though.

Ann Althouse said...

Are you people on some kind of can't-answer-the-questions drug?

Anniella said...

Based solely on the portraits:

1. Morphine
2. Ambien
3. Hash

LoafingOaf said...

1. You wanted to produce the best artwork?

Crystal Meth

2. You had to take the drug all the time and would always feel the way it makes you feel?

Hash.

3. You could take the drug sometimes, when you were in the mood for it, as a variation on normal, undrugged life?


Psilocybin mushrooms.

Robert Cook said...

From (very limited) personal experience, if I wanted to do a drug for the way it makes me feel, Psilocybin mushrooms, definitely.

Based strictly on the self-portraits, I stand by Valium as my answer to all three questions.

betamax3000 said...

Re: "Are you people on some kind of can't-answer-the-questions drug?"

The start of the questions was this lead-in:

"Based on these 45 self-portraits and only these self-portraits, which drug would you pick..."

Key word that negates the premise for me: "self-portraits". These are not self-portraits in relation to the drug because I believe there to be no relation to the drug as usage, only reputation. If the question began as:

Based on this artist's cliched interpretations of these drugs....

I'd be more inclined to consider it seriously.

betamax3000 said...

I correct myself. I realize I am responding in context to the text at the link. Althouse clearly stated "The question is only about the drug experience as understood through the artist's depiction." Probably "experience" is the word that is tripping me up as I believe the illustrations to be a fraud to the artist's premise as described in the link. One of those times where I shouldn't have read the link, just looked at the pictures.

Apologies to Althouse.

betamax3000 said...

So much for serious commentary. Back to trifles.

lemondog said...

Ugh!

None!

Nicotine gum that intense?

Leads one to ask the question "What drug(s) did Picasso use?"

Irene said...

1. Valium
2. Ambien
3. Ritalin

betamax3000 said...

Oh, and: Abilify x3. Makes me think of life as a lazy orgasm (one of today's other themes).

I did not use personal experience to influence the answer, per instructions.

RecChief said...

I wouldn't take any. I don't even drink beer when I am in my wood shop

Ann Althouse said...

"Leads one to ask the question "What drug(s) did Picasso use?""

Testosterone.

George Grady said...

This would only be a worthwhile exercise if the artist hadn't known which drug he was taking each day. He must have skipped the day on double-blind experiments in his stats class.

William said...

For round two, I suggest he paint the portrait of his lover while on the various drugs. For round three, she could paint his picture while he's on the various drugs. For round four, do it all over again but this time with Viagra.....Is there a drug that frees you from the compulsive need to paint self portraits?

John Lynch said...

Bullshit.

FleetUSA said...

Weird experiment because some drugs I would assume kick in relatively soon and others slower. Plus add it that some might have more than 24 hour after effects. Plus plus since he knew he was doing the experiment he is essentially playing with us on the way he painted. It wasn't a blind test.

I think I would have a decent Vodka Martini or two and paint as I am capable (or more likely not).

EMD said...

Of course a self-absorbed society would do self-portraits on drugs.

FleetUSA said...

Weird experiment because some drugs I would assume kick in relatively soon and others slower. Plus add it that some might have more than 24 hour after effects. Plus plus since he knew he was doing the experiment he is essentially playing with us on the way he painted. It wasn't a blind test.

I think I would have a decent Vodka Martini or two and paint as I am capable (or more likely not).

Smilin' Jack said...

This is bogus. A drug shouldn't affect your self-portrait. If you took a drug that made you see double, would your self-portrait have two heads? Of course not; it would have one head because that would look like two to you.

Deirdre Mundy said...

Ooh.. I liked the Adderall one... well-executed yet creative.

elkh1 said...

Drugs are good for you. Picasso and Dali made tens of millions turning out drug inspired master pieces.

MadisonMan said...

Shouldn't there be a control, with no drugs at all?

I also like the adderall picture, but thought it predictable. Oooh, I took adderall, I'll draw an adder!

John Lynch said...

1. All the pictures are ugly to me. Palladian painted much better portraits without this silly gimmick.

2. I'm horrified by the idea of having my emotional state set by a drug... forever.

3. Taking drugs sometimes still leads to ugly pictures and emotions.

I work in a restaurant around people who organize their lives around drugs. I get the intent of the question, but you can't really ignore the consequences by filtering them through art. The reality of drug use has little to do with any of these pictures.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

Ritalin

lemondog said...

Picasso and Dali made tens of millions turning out drug inspired master pieces.

Read that Picasso's experience with hashish was so terrifying that he stayed away from drug use, so we are back to Althouse's "Testosterone" response.

Starfish said...

1. Best artwork: Crystal meth

2. If you had to take it all the time: Nitrous (hash a close second)

3. Once-in-a-while variation: Salvia

surfed said...

My artwork has hung in museums. I render famous sailing ships. I use to smoke cigarettes as a delivery system for nicotine. Always kept one burning in the ashtray while I did my art. After I quit my work suffered and I let it ride for a couple of decades. Starting back up now. It is different. Nicotine is a strong drug. I miss it within that context.

Ann Althouse said...

The second question is by far the hardest, with no answers that seem good to me. But here are my selections:

1. Morphine IV
2. Valium
3. Psilocybin mushrooms

Note: I don't recommend any drugs. This is about the artwork!

EMD said...

I'd like to understand the quantities of drug taken. As far as I see it, I doubt the prescribed dosage of Abilify or Risperdal would have much effect upon anyone if taken for 1 day.

surfed said...

Shrooms! I'll leave it at that.

jacksonjay said...

Artist? I would be more inclined to call this guy a jackhole copycat!

Robert Cook said...

Jacksonjay...

A "jackhole copycat" of...whom?

Unknown said...

Trazodone. Totally.

St. George said...

Remember the paintings of increasingly bizarre cats done by a psychotic artist that were reprinted in the Time-Life book "The Mind"?

Sure you do.

We all freaked on that when we were eight-years-old.

Those were done by the very well regarded turn-of-the-century British illustrator Louis Wain. He started with burgundy, but soon hit hard stuff when his schizophrenia kicked in. Here's a brief video.

That's the real deal.

Creativity is work. Art arises from habitual repetitive hard work. No shortcuts, well, except through Merlot.

Carl Pham said...

Whatever natural endorphin is released when I click on this link suggested at the bottom of the silly drug selfies page:

http://thechive.com/2012/06/15/hooray-for-lingerie-36-photos/

Tits are better than any drug, easy peasy.

jacksonjay said...


Robert Cook...

Bryan Lewis Saunders and his children