What happens when an artist subjects himself to multiple drugs over a relatively short period of time, and he creates self portraits of himself while under the influence of each drug, is causing people to ask a lot of questions. The drugs themselves are causing a bit of controversy as some of the choices are of drugs millions of people use every day. He draws while under the influence of nicotine gum to cocaine, and everything in between.
The man who documented this journey is a writer based out of New York, who uses his degree and his passion to go on journeys many would not want to partake in. He has a loyal fan base, and much of his writing is what one might call the cooler side of life. He can write about the newest cars to the most ridiculous foods around, and can frequently be found skateboarding in the upper east side of New York.
The artist is Bryan Lewis Sanders, and he is best known for his disturbing poetry. He is also a performance artist, and gives performances that are about tragic scenarios. He has a number of Daku’s that he recorded which reflect any number of emotions and border on rants. He has amassed a following of those like-minded individuals that tend to see the darker side of situations.
Starting with the nicotine gum, Saunders took a different drug each day, and over the course of a few weeks completed his experimental venture into a place many believe no one should go. The portraits are all unique and many are even terrifying as he draws out how he feels, and the range is as extreme as his willingness to do this at all. The first picture here is one such disturbing foray into the mind of someone on dilaudid. This prescription drug is generally used for pain management, and its list of possible side effects is daunting. This opioid warns that it may cause depression, nausea as well as respiratory issues.
Two milligrams of nicotine gum produced a rather disjointed and slightly better rendering than just a stick person. It is obvious the painters perspective was a little off. On Klonopin it is simply a picture of the artist in a rocket ship, however the face is far more one-dimensional and recognizable than on the nicotine patch.
The picture to the left was done while on the drug Abilify/Xanax, and it is anyone’s guess why he would want to combine the two. Abilify is usually used for the treatment of schizophrenia and manic depression. Xanax is used to treat anxiety disorders by slowing down brain chemicals that may become scattered or disorganized. The self-portrait is rich with detail, and is the most complete of the collection, however, he does not depict himself as happy. With the bright colors and fanciful shirt, one would think that he would have a big smile on his face. The only portrait of the bunch that shows a happy and smiling artist is the one where he is on butane honey oil, which is not a proper drug by definition.
Many of his fans have made comments about some of the most disturbing of portraits which were done while on absythe, adderall, buttolbitals, cocaine and computer dust. Each created with an almost monstrous effect, each makes the viewer question what the drug is and how it could have affected him in such an obviously negative way. Questions that the artist has left to those that view his art.
Crystal meth and huffing gas are street drugs and are not prescribed for any physical ailment, and judging by the self portraits produced, it makes one wonder why anyone at all would put their body through this. The one on the right, done in pinks is the cocaine induced picture, and the sharp angular black and white photo is the Huffing gas self-portrait. This experiment in drug use and how it affects one mans mind and documented by art, is a journey that no one really needs to go down. The effects on his mind and body, seem to be extreme and unnecessary.
Opinion by Kristi Cereska