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Artist Painted Self-Portraits While On Various Drugs

As the popular PSA said, this is your brain and this is your brain on drugs. But what happens when you try to make art when you are under the influence of various drugs?

That's exactly what Bryan Lewis Saunders did for his art project. He took a lot of different drugs and then try to draw self-portraits. Here are the results:


Self portraits by Bryan Lewis Saunders (L) Xanax (R) PCP

dinosaurcity Blog interviewed Bryan about the best and worst drugs he took while doing the project:

The PCP was just as bad. Any drugs that detach your mind from your body I don't care for too much. The PCP day I ate a ham sandwich with tomatoes in it and people kept knocking on my door asking if they could look at my Appalachian Trail self-portraits and I'd get to telling about 20 people at a time all of my hiking stories and showing them all of my drawings and then all of sudden someone would whisper, "Bryan, these people aren't real." And I would flip the hell out! Because even the person that whispered that wasn't real. And then there would be another knock at the door and more people would come in wanting to see my pictures and they too weren't real.

What's crazy is, my friend Audra said that she really did knock on my door and could hear me talking in there but I wouldn't answer it. It was all I could do to draw myself vomiting on PCP, and each time I heaved my face shifted off in stages and red clumpy chunky stuff kept coming out of my nose. I thought my brain was hemorrhaging, but it turned out it was just tomato from my sandwich. Thankfully.

But don't try this at home. Bryan suffered lethargy and even mild brain damage: Link


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Not much of an experiment. To a great extent, the differences in the portraits are the result of media and composition choices, not differences in the drugs. If they were all attempts at realistic frontal head and shoulders, pencil drawings, then it would show the effect of the drugs.
Congratulations on the brain damage. You must have already had brain damage, not to see that coming. Dummy.
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While this undoubtedly dangerous, it is pretty neat looking at all the different drawings. And if he's willing to do it & knows the consequences, then hey, power to ya'. I hope nothing bad happens to him or get addicted to any drugs.
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@Jessss - exactly the point I was going to make.

Some of the medications he lists as taking for these photos (namely the anti-depressants/SSRIs/NRIs/etc) take several weeks to have noticeable effect. As such, I have to assume that those portraits are the artist's perception of the drug's effect. It doesn't make the portraits any less interesting or impressive, but it does degrade the value of the experiment itself.
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