Louis Wain was an artist born in 1860s Victorian England who was as intensely gifted as he was mentally disturbed. His fanciful work is examined and featured on the internet from time to time (including on Neatorama in 2006) because his pieces, particularly his cats, are popular and his name is sometimes mentioned when correlation is drawn between artistry and madness.
Wain lived a hard life fraught with extended stays in the dismal insane asylums of the time, though notable people such as H.G. Wells and Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald interceded on his behalf in order to get him placed in better facilities. Yet no one could help his desultory mental states that included periods of psychosis.
Wain once said in explanation of his process:
"I take a sketch-book to a restaurant, or other public place, and draw the people in their different positions as cats, getting as near to their human characteristics as possible. This gives me doubly nature, and these studies I think my best humorous work."