Assignment 1: Research

I have decided to focus my remix assignment on the subject of schizophrenia. Of course to be able to accurately present the topic, I did research on the topic and artworks by professional schizophrenic artists to capture the essence of the illness.

Schizophrenia is a mental illness in which thinking processes and emotional responses are disoriented. Symptoms include paranoia, hallucinations, disorganized speech, and delusions. These people tend seclude themselves from civilization, avoid forming relationships with others, and in some cases, are unable to experience pleasure. Genetics and social factors play a part in the development of this disorder in people. Some patients that are treated will be able to return to their normal self while some will be schizophrenic for the rest of their lives.

Adolf Wolfli was an abused child who was later orphaned at the age of 10. After being arrested a second time for child molestation, he was kept at a hospital for the rest of his life. During that time, he took up the hobby of art and drawing. His works were very detailed and complex – he would fill up the canvas to the brim. Every empty space would be filled with images. He would also draw musical notation in his works which could not be deciphered by regular musicians – only himself (he would play this music on a ‘paper trumpet’ sometimes).


Louis Wain’s wife was diagnosed with breast cancer, so in order to keep her happy and take her mind off the unfortunate event, he would draw pictures of their pet cat, Peter. Wain was a children’s book illustrator for quite some years drawing cats as humans – they would play cards, dress up, and so on. However, later in his life, he became schizophrenic and his illness was presented in the art he created. Nonetheless, he continued to create artworks of cats, but his images started to become more jagged with vibrant colours. Soon, cats did not even look like cats anymore. His compositions were made of many shapes and symmetrical patterns and these textures filled a bulk of the canvas.

Click here for more on Louis Wain.


~ by omejelee on October 17, 2010.

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