Portrayal of the effects drug abuse has on people in artwork
How does artwork portray the destruction of human body, mind and relationships due to drug abuse? Introduction
I have chosen ‘Effects of drug abuse’ as my theme as I was interested in the changes a human body and mind overtake when influenced by drugs; also the effects it has on a person’s life and their relationships overall. I am mostly interested how artists portray the mental state of a person when under the influence of drugs; whether its happiness, depression, anger, sadness etc.; and how the emotion is communicated through the artwork to the viewer. A lot of people are addicted to different kind of drugs and different drugs have different effects on a human; whether it would be physical or mental. Most of the time the mental effects start first and the signs of the physical changes appear after some time. Often, people under the influence of drugs hallucinate quite a lot and which may result in self harm. There aren’t a lot of artists that go deep into the depth of drug abuse however there is a few. Some artists portray the emotion by the colours they use such as, bright colours may represent happiness, and excitement etc. and dark colours may show depression and anger. Moreover some artists may represent their work as a more observational piece, such as a painting of a person injecting, drinking, sniffing the drug, or even a portrait of the physical changes of the person that are visible for everyone to see. I started off by taking photographs of hands; two hands holding emphasising a friendship between two people. Later on I took more pictures of hands that already look worn out, hurt and unhealthy. After that I’ve made more pictures, however, this time of myself. I had to undergo a makeover of making myself look like someone who may be doing drugs. I took these pictures in different lightings and angles. I also had to edit them to emphasise the shadows and the highlights to make them look more drastic. All of these images represent the physical change of the effects from the usage of drugs.
Followed by a thorough search of artists that focus on drug abuse and its effects, I have found two artists that I am particularly interested in. I have chosen an artwork by each artist and I am focusing on them to analyse the way they portray the effects drug abuse have on people. * Francis Bacon- Three Studies for a Self-Portrait, 1976’ * Bryan Lewis Saunders- '2mg xanax'
Analysis of artwork
‘Three Studies for a Self-Portrait -1976’
Francis Bacon was an Irish-born British figurative painter known for his bold, graphic and emotionally raw imagery. Bacon's painterly but abstracted figures typically appear isolated in glass or steel geometrical cages set against flat, nondescript backgrounds. After the 1971 suicide of his lover George Dyer, Bacon's art became more personal, inward looking and preoccupied with themes and motifs of death.
Often, Bacons artworks occur intentionally disturbing. His subject was the human form. Bacon reprised the physical construction of human body parts and creates it full with new strength and power. He makes us see the new construction of familiar human figure in a more distressed way. To him it was something to be deconstructed by the artist observation and then put together back on canvas.
In Bacon’s portraits the subject is usually shown screaming as his treatment on the face can be rather challenging. His portraits are usually of the people he knew well. Bacon was often called an Expressionist or even Surrealist, however he himself strongly rejected both labels. He demanded that his work was close to the things we see every day.
I will be studying ‘Three Studies for a Self-Portrait-1976’ because it is sort of like a timeline of a change on his face structure. I chose this because I am fond of the idea of three studies of his self-portrait,...
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