The creation of incredible art often goes hand-in-hand with individuals who behave outside the norm. What is it about these “insane” artists that allows them to create such masterpieces? I like to think it’s because they have such a unique view of the world—a kind of perspective that’s undeniably appealing to the “regular” folk.
Some might describe these people as being “unhinged” or “mentally deranged.” But I like to think that their imagination, quirkiness, and eccentricity leads to the creation of artistic works that never could have been conjured up by a perfectly balanced mind. After all, colouring outside of the lines and thinking outside of the box can lead to exceptional artistic innovations.
For example, some speculate that famous cat painter Louis Wain suffered from schizophrenia, a condition that blurs the distinction between delusion and reality. The progression of his illness can be seen through the increasingly bizarre nature of his paintings, which started off looking like cats but gradually transformed into abstract shapes and patterns.
Edvard Munch, painter of “The Scream,” often experienced terrifying nightmares and visions that significantly influenced his expressionist art style. His vivid imagination and delusions helped him create captivating work which drew in audiences and resonated with people’s deepest fears. After all, who would be better at creating death-like imagery than someone who feels a connection with the macabre almost every day?
Vincent Van Gogh is another iconic artist who many art historians classify as mentally unwell. Although he’s a household name today, Van Gogh was not famous during his lifetime, having been known as an eccentric who cut off his own ear. However, despite being prone to depression and epileptic seizures, he was also intensely creative, producing post-Impressionist paintings and drawings that gave him global posthumous fame. His wild mood swings gave him intense bursts of creative energy, providing him with the drive and passion to make his art a reality.
So, while “insanity” can sometimes be viewed as a detriment to one’s mental state, it can also be used as a prime source of creative energy, one that can lead to the creation of works of art that resonate with our deepest human emotions.
Can you match these artists with their eccentric behaviour? Try our quiz below!