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Bizarre

Louis Wain… The Schizophrenic Cat Man

Schizophrenia is the subject of ever-developing theories and treatments; many say it’s a disease of the mind, while others say that our society is not set up in a way to understand it, or allow for its participation in our culture as a gift rather than a disease. It’s fascinating to have a glimpse into the mind of a schizophrenic person through artwork, and I feel that when looking at a schizophrenic artist’s work, you sometimes catch glimpses of the gift. One very famous artist whose afflicted mind was captured in his work is Louis Wain – his cat portraits are straight out of the LSD playbook, but he drew them in the early 1900s. What began as cute anthropomorphized kitties for his dying wife’s amusement and made him a respected illustrator of books and postcards at the turn of the century, became kaleidoscopic, psychedelic cat gods, almost aggressive in their use of color and pattern. This is what your cat looks like on acid.

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Written By

Meghan MacRae grew up in Vancouver, Canada, but spent many years living in the remote woods. Living in the shadow of grizzly bears, cougars and the other predators of the wilderness taught her about the dark side of nature, and taught her to accept her place in nature's order as their prey. She is co-founder of CVLT Nation.

8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. urzbet

    April 23, 2014 at 5:17 am

    Ever since “Beautiful Mind” I see shit like “schizophrenia is amazing”. Well maybe for some emotionally unstable dopes it is amusing because it looks like alternative to taking drugs but in reality it’s more of constant bad trip-depression-catatonia-energy-rush with overall uneasy feeling. Psychosis, insomnia, hunger, procrastination. Every emotion possible for human being to experience felt within a 3 second spark leading to 8 months of unstable behavior.
    To make it clear:
    schizophrenia is not like good lsd trip, not like smoking great pot or anything like that it’s more like bad trip, hangover and being raped by your senses.

    Guy did trippy cats? Many sane people also did amazing psychedelic art. People with asthma climbed Mt. Everest, people with missing limbs participated in many happenings which challenge healthy people.
    So I don’t diss your fascination with “unknown world” of schizophrenia and other mental diseases just don’t glorify it. You don’t glorify people with diarrhea are you?

  2. popvoyage

    April 19, 2014 at 5:51 pm

    I can thank David Tibet for exposing me to the wonderful work of Louis Wain.

    “Sell all you have, give it to the kittens, and pour the milk, on Louis’ grave.”

  3. Barking dog

    April 18, 2014 at 3:10 am

    Having to see hallucinations on daily life must be ruff.

  4. Barking dog

    April 18, 2014 at 3:10 am

    Having to see hallucinations on daily life must be ruff.

  5. Barking dog

    April 18, 2014 at 3:10 am

    Having to see hallucinations on daily life must be ruff.

  6. Barking dog

    April 18, 2014 at 3:10 am

    Having to see hallucinations on daily life must be ruff.

  7. Barking dog

    April 18, 2014 at 3:10 am

    Having to see hallucinations on daily life must be ruff.

  8. Barking dog

    April 18, 2014 at 3:10 am

    Having to see hallucinations on daily life must be ruff.

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