My 5 Crazy, Mad,Sad, Artists…

“ We owe the invention of the arts to deranged imaginations” wrote the essayist Saint Evermond in the seventeenth century”

Breakfast at Sotheby’s -Phillip Hook 2018




1Mad, especially as manifested in wild or aggressive behaviour.



1British Mentally ill; insane.

‘he felt as if he were going mad”



1Feeling or showing sorrow; unhappy.

‘I was sad and subdued’

‘they looked at her with sad, anxious faces’



1A person who creates paintings or drawings as a profession or hobby.

1.1 A person who practises or performs any of the creative arts, such as a sculptor, film-maker, actor, or dancer.

Example sentencesSynonyms

1.2 A person skilled at a particular task or occupation.

‘a surgeon who is an artist with the scalpel’

Oxford Dictionaries Online

Do you have to be deranged to be an Artist? I don’t think so but you do have to have a certain special something to have the crazy desire to create. Unyet it is a fact that the Artists we hold dear in our public imagination did suffer greatly in their lifetimes from Frida Kahol to Tracey Emin each have had their own mental scars the special part is they put their suffering into their creations to allow us an insight into the torment of what it means to be human.

Although today we talk of mental health and wellbeing in society much more freely than previously especially in uptight Brexit Britain, I still believe there needs to be greater research and discussion within the Arts and society as whole as to how we support and foster emerging Artists especially those who are more vulnerable and delicate and have been left with scars of unimaginable torment due to Government policy and deprivation in Great Britain and beyond.

Here I want to look at Five Crazy, Mad, sad, Artists off the top of my head whose supposed “ Mental problems” were in fact their Genius….

Vincent Van Goth

Having suffered by the hands of this those around him all his life, with stints in and out of a asylum he finally cut of his ear and supposedly shot himself in a field having never sold a piece of work in his life time but with his continued support of his family |( brother ) i feel his sentiments exactly so far in my career….. except its not my brother but my Mum & Dad who have relentlessly supported me to ” follow my dreams” by brother however has sestimatcally put me down because of my talents. Life works in mysterious ways but family and friends are always at the core of an Artists existence. 

Tracey Emin

LONDON, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 06: Artist Tracey Emin poses in front of her work as part of her ‘The Last Great Adventure is You’ Exhibition at the White Cube Gallery on October 6, 2014 in London, England. ‘The Last Great Adventure is You’ Exhibition is Emin’s first in London for five years. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

Supposedly one of the first people to be drunk on live TV her bad girl status sometimes precedes her rising above her problems through her Art. Her first works after graduation from the Royal College of Art. Dealt directly with her “ issues” from sexual identity, abortion and work such as her iconic bed, tent or mono prints. She used Art as her saviour her Art therapy in my eyes she is less of a YBA and more of a term coined “ confessional Artist” Through her practice she has attempted to reflect, reveal and heal herself from the trauma of human existence. Her practice grows and evolves and matures as she slowly grows into a magnificent example of how Art can heal the soul and how an Artist can rise above their problems and share their humanity and venerability with the World.


circa 1909: Amedeo Modigliani (1884 – 1920), Italian painter and sculptor. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Well what can one say but he committed suicide then his girlfriend who was pregnant  at the time jumped off a balcony no more comment needed here except that we should nurture and accept and support our Artists more than ever whilst cuts are being made in all Arts funding we need to help and fund young artists right through their careers… its a sad story one which brings more value in the Art market to his work but one in which the suffering and dying young adds to value….. ( How fucked up is that ? )

Yoyoi Kasuma

Kasuma a 1960’s conceptualist has come to the fore; her madness and apparent insanity according to “ the general idea of what it is to be human” has lead her to be a mega super star celebrity Artist much the same as the rest on this list of my five favourite crazy,mad, sad Artists..… Kasuma  is special she lives in a health unit for insane people  Seiwa Hospital for the Mentally Ill,  albeit her studio and her assistants work in a purpose built building across the road…. Her infinity & Obliteration rooms are the things dreams are made of ….. My brother and I once took ecstacy on the South Bank before seeing an Anthony Gormley Show at the Hayward, his mist room was cool but i wish for god sake it had been a Kasuma show…

(Art & Drugs and Art & Rock and Roll go hand in hand … Artists are cool, Fashion is Trendy and Drugs up to a certain point can be mind expanding, altering, enhancing and fascinating just as much as Rock & roll can bring out the joy in ones soul so can Art make us realise our obliteration and connection with the Universe……. )

Jackson Pollock

A legend unto himself but a self proclaimed Alcoholic and possible man suffering from bi-polar disorder. Despite this he is considered the foremost Avant Garde Artist in creating the movement “ Abstract expressionism. He died in Car Crash whilst he was drunk…. this brings me to the question do our problems with drink & drugs hinder or propel our creativity? Are some Artists just in the right time and place in order to be placed within the canon of Art History or is Art therapy a valid means of healing because Art heals sober or not ?

Life is a difficult space to navigate for us all, but after not making Art for two years between 2012 & 2015 i know the difficulties that lie for a true Artist that needs, wants, has to create not matter what in order to be able to feel something, to express ones despair and ultimately tell a tale of ones own existence…. more to come on this …. watch this space…..