The very first time I got ‘stoned’ was as a young primary school teacher in inner London. One day I had a very sore throat and spent the day sucking on Tunes (video), a medicated sweet, part of the Spangles brand, which acted as a decongestant – or so I thought.
When I got home, my head felt light – I was ‘high’ – and I very quickly got out my oil paints and produced two paintings, one looking down into a toilet bowl and the other of a plump lady taking a bath. The floors were black and white tiles, with perfect perspective, but the bath had no plumbing.
I can still visualise them decades later, perhaps because none of my paintings, before or since, have had the ‘style’ of those two.
I mention this because Bryan Lewis Saunders has gone a whole lot further in combining drugs and paintings.
After experiencing drastic changes in my environment, I looked for other experiences that might profoundly affect my perception of the self. So I devised another experiment where everyday I took a different drug and drew myself under the influence. Within weeks I became lethargic and suffered mild brain damage. I am still conducting this experiment but over greater lapses of time. I only take drugs that are given to me.
My take is that the use of recreational drugs removes inhibtions and can release innate creativity. Whether that results in better ‘art’ is a matter of conjecture. I do know that when I try and write whilst ‘squiffy’, then I produce typos, misspellings and, often enough, mere gibberish. However, the idea of a topic which received an initial spark from a Bintang or three may well be worth taking further in order to produce coherence.