cute, cuter, umm...
September 3, 2003 9:14 AM   Subscribe

The strange cat-world of Louis Wain. Wain's cat drawings, once cute, took an interesting turn later in life.
posted by item (29 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Is it just me, or are the psychosis paintings much better?
posted by agregoli at 9:17 AM on September 3, 2003

Ah, there it is.
posted by MrMoonPie at 9:18 AM on September 3, 2003

Huh. Well, at least you got to see the kitten book.
posted by item at 9:22 AM on September 3, 2003

Seeing those psychotic cat pictures really brings out why so many people think cats are just plain fucking evil. Wow.
posted by Space Coyote at 9:36 AM on September 3, 2003

Innah-Goddah-Duh-Veedah, Bay Beh . . .
posted by dgaicun at 9:37 AM on September 3, 2003

"Did He who made the lamb make thee?"
posted by wobh at 9:39 AM on September 3, 2003

Seriously though, is there any real science here, or is this just an amusing anecdote presented as a "case study in going, like, totally insane"? Are people who make 60's blacklight posters "insaner" than those who prefer classical styles?
posted by dgaicun at 9:42 AM on September 3, 2003

Yeah, the 'science' part of my third (re)posted link is a tad skimpy. I just like the eyes on those creatures.
posted by item at 9:46 AM on September 3, 2003

i always wondered who did the sleeve art for current 93's thunder perfect mind!

someone's having nightmares tonight...
posted by pxe2000 at 9:46 AM on September 3, 2003

yep the later pics are cooler, though some of his earlier one are pretty wacko too. anyone know why he was so obssesed with cats?
posted by carfilhiot at 9:48 AM on September 3, 2003

I particularly liked the wording of the link to the other galleries:

See more Art By Psychotics
posted by crazy finger at 9:48 AM on September 3, 2003

Incidentally, I've been to this 'Brain & Mind' magazine before, and good science or not with this art stuff, Silvia Helena Cardoso is pretty sexy* for a neuro-egghead. Maybe Miguel can hook me up with his kin connections.

*in that gypsy sort-of way.
posted by dgaicun at 10:09 AM on September 3, 2003

I wonder how much of the later drawings were indicative of what he saw, or what just captured his hand to pen and were nothing like what his eyes perceived.
posted by paladin at 10:31 AM on September 3, 2003

It was a good link when I posted it too. But it HAS been awhile.
posted by konolia at 11:00 AM on September 3, 2003

I think the "normal" cat paintings are a little creepier than the psychotic ones.
posted by jennyb at 11:07 AM on September 3, 2003

Some of the other artists' work is heartbreaking.
posted by swerve at 11:13 AM on September 3, 2003

I think the "normal" cat paintings are a lot creepier than the psychotic ones.
posted by homunculus at 12:36 PM on September 3, 2003

Interesting quote on this page:

"Wain drew many wallpaper cats during his stay in Bethlem asylum. Some have claimed that these drawings were an indication of his deteriorating mental state, since filling in pictures with detailed patterns is often a sign of schizophrenia. Others have doubted such theories, since he continued to produce drawings in his older style both while doing the wallpaper cats and afterwards. Both Brian Reade and Rodney Dale independantly came to the conclusion that Wain interest in patterns stemmed from his mother's designs of tapestries and fabrics."
posted by jfinnis at 12:55 PM on September 3, 2003 is linked from the Louis Wain site. Several unattributed examples of the published artwork of William Kurelek, a noted painter and author. White trash rockers will recognize his work as cover art for the Van Halen album "Fair Warning."

This is home, this is Mean Street! Dance baby!
posted by basilwhite at 1:09 PM on September 3, 2003

In the work by other psychotic artists, they misattributed some of the pieces (they listed them as being by Bosh) which are in fact parts of The Maze by William Kurelek. He was actually quite a famous Canadian painter and illustrator, it seems.
posted by beth at 1:10 PM on September 3, 2003

Damn you basilwhite, you snuck in right after I previewed. Alas.
posted by beth at 1:11 PM on September 3, 2003

Loved this link the first time I saw it, and love it the second time around.

But if those drawings are the sympotoms of a schitzophrenic (hope I spelled that right), God help me should a shrink ever get ahold of my sketchbook, though :)
posted by atom128 at 2:15 PM on September 3, 2003

Thanks for the link. I'm a big fan of Louis Wain's artwork - but the poor man...
posted by plep at 3:39 PM on September 3, 2003

Great. Now I'm a "white trash rocker".
posted by squealy at 3:53 PM on September 3, 2003

Ahhh...the best Oingo Boingo cover artwork ever...
posted by Katemonkey at 3:57 PM on September 3, 2003

Here I thought William Kurelek painted only pretty pastoral scenes. Thanks for the info, beth.

When I look at Wain's paintings, I know an artist who paints people laughing. Everywhere, at tables, in theatres etc. His backgrounds are composed of multi color brush strokes.

Just the other day I noted that the laughing people looked quite menacing now, their teeth look metalic, shark like, sharp and dangerous. Those aren't laughing but sneering menacingly, no? Tim?

*he smiled like the Cheshire cat.......*

Should I mention Wain's cats to him?

Anita Kunz seems to be influenced by both artists, it seems.
posted by alicesshoe at 5:41 PM on September 3, 2003

Kind of random, but the cat thing reminds me of Night on the Galactic Railroad.

Maybe I'm crazy, but I like the "psychotic" cats better. Very interesting art, either way.
posted by e^2 at 7:03 PM on September 3, 2003

*wonders what the reaction would be if I said "black trash rapper" *
posted by Space Coyote at 8:57 PM on September 3, 2003

I've never seen this guy's work before. Now that I have, the similarities between his style progression and my own are startlingly similar. Currently most of my art resembles stage 2 or 3. [ramble] This is a little troubling... maybe i've just been awake too long again though. Wish my scanner worked to show you all the similarities.[/ramble]

A few years ago i started drawing purely by "stream of consciousness" -- not allowing myself to decide what i was doing at any point during the process. As I started doing it more often, the objects would end up being covered in colored halos and the backgrounds would often contain odd hieroglyphics that one might find in astrological or old victorian occult systems. Am I crazy? (warning: contains imbedded .wav sounds) How about Alex Grey?
posted by phylum sinter at 9:24 AM on September 5, 2003

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