Nowhere Close to Murdoch / by Jaz Malone

DISCLAIMER: This is not a promotional advertisement for any kind of drug. I have very few opinions on such things. Please do your research and know what you're getting into, if you choose to get into it. It's been a while since this happened, and I've been debating posting about it ever since. But, I figured it's nothing new, so why not?

In the late 1950s, the U.S. government ran a number of experiments using LSD. Some of these experiments were done on children, some on adults, and some on artists. I'm sure most people have seen one of many articles floating around the internet about the artist who produced nine drawings during an acid trip. The U.S. government wasn't the only entity to do this. Dr. Oscar Janiger in California ran controlled experiments on LSD with 900 patients of all types during the late 50s-earl 60s, but he is best known for his work with a single patient, Frank Murdoch. Murdoch was a bipolar, alcoholic artist; he was told to paint still-lives while on the drug, and off. Supposedly, it helped him a little.

In general, I find work done by sober artists more interesting than work done by those who are not. This is because I feel many people use psychedelics as a crutch, and cannot create without them; that's just sad, to me. However, experiments like Dr. Janiger's intrigue me to no end. Experiments, in general, pique my interest. I have an odd attachment to the "testing" phase of any project. Must be why it takes so long for me to get any work of my own done, haha.

On to the point!

Way back when, but not too way back, I was rather mentally unstable. I've been told not to use the phrase "batshit insane," although that is certainly how I felt about that time period once I started to recover. At one point, between wondering why that dog in the corner had hands for paws, and batting away all the sudden bugs in the air, I decided the best way to restore my mental state was to drop acid. The big, creepy man staring at me from outside the window at work didn't object, and so I used my stealthy ways (A.K.A. living in a major city) to procure some of the fabled LSD.

I am no scientist, save the botched stink bombs created in 3rd grade, so I don't know why I thought I could make a controlled replica of Dr. Janiger's experiments. But! I had a plan! I'm one of those people who researches my spontaneous decisions for days before setting a date and time for my spontenaity. I did quite a bit of reading on the subject, and the voices all thought I had a good plan going, so we agreed on a day. I was even lucky enough to have someone with me on said day, to make sure I didn't do anything stupid. Yes, I know what that last sentence says. I'm not changing it.

For those who don't know, these trips are supposed to last between 8-10 hours. I am fairly petite, and was already unbalanced; I ended up running out of my house almost immediately, and didn't come down for another 14 hours. I made sure to pack a bag of art supplies beforehand, and this little guy:
A friend gave him to me back in middle school/early high school. He was the star of most of my drawings that day. The later images are of my traveling companion.

I'm not going to go into all the weird stuff I saw and heard during the day, although it was pretty cool. I did my best to journal everything, including the time, but my handwriting is difficult to read, since, you know. Hard to write when there's so much to focus on. Here are the images from start to finish.
Fig. 1: Here's the little guy at the beginning. Normal.

  
Fig. 2: Exactly 32 minutes later. Exactly two minutes after that, I ran out of the house.

 
Fig. 4: Here, I switched to finger painting.

Fig. 6: I think this was an attempt at making 3D...

 
Fig. 11: Not even using the figurine anymore. I just drew what I could remember.

 
Fig.15: OMG CHARCOAL

Fig. 18: At this point, I thought I was completely lucid. Surprise, I wasn't. I found that out when my companion turned into a skeleton and unhinged his jaw at me.
Here is what I took from the whole thing:
1) Interesting.
2) Wouldn't do it often. Too exhausting.

It certainly produced some fun images, but I don't believe it should be used every time one wants to create. I've said it elsewhere, but I'll say it here, too. If you absolutely need psychedelic substances to create, then you're probably not a very creative person. Sorry. I have no issue with doing drugs recreationally. To each his or her own. But if the only way you can be creative is with them, and cannot produce a darn thing sober, then that is a problem. Creativity, though inspired by everything in life, ultimately comes from within. That sounds like the last thing the hero says on some cheesy 90s educational show, but it's true.