Good comment: Pipenta, on artists and drugs

Note: From time to time we're going to be promoting especially wonderful comments (for all values of "wonderful") to the front page. This is Pipenta in "The science fiction book art of Richard Powers" thread, writing in response to someone who looked at Powers' art and said he must have been on drugs.

These look so dang familiar. I read a lot of science fiction back in the sixties and seventies. I picked up a lot of it secondhand. I know I've had books with this cover art. I wish there were examples of what they looked like as finished book designs. I'd love to see the titles.

@ #2 About drug addicts…

Jeff, I think you are huffing something.

Having attended a couple of big-name art schools back in the day (and by back in the day, I mean in the late 70's when drug use was common and open) and having visited and met artists from a number of other art schools during that time, I can assure you that there really is no noticeable difference between artwork made by drug users and artwork made by non-drug users.

We could fill a gallery the size of Grand Central Station with art, half by people who never touched drugs and the other half by people who "inhaled". You would not have any clue. You'd have no way of telling which was which.

I'm not saying that substances get mixed up with chemistry don't effect art output. I'm saying you could not tell. There is no consistent style, or technique, no way you could tell. No more than you could tell from reading a passage of text if the writer had been drinking.

Being an artist, doing art, involves operating at many levels. There's a cocktail of components such as learned skills, physical dexterity, life experience, personality, perceptual ability and more. Those are just off the top of my head. Someone who does a lot of their art, be it visual or musical, dance or theater or the written word, has a lot going on when they do it. Some processes are very much the active here and now, some are happening at a deeper intuitive level. The latter are where your history and training and experience come in to play.

Some folks, folks who either cannot or will not do art, see artists as savant, mystical or idiot. It isn't magic. It isn't one process happening. Art is not the same combination of processes for everyone.

And stoners don't necessarily make paintings like these.