I need your opinion on something. Yes, you who found this post because you googled drugs. Do substances like drugs and alcohol really help artists create better works? Or is that an excuse to do drugs and alcohol? See, here’s the thing…
Do you remember Alice in Wonderland? Of course you do, that movie tripped balls. It’s one long acid trip into total insanity. And that’s probably because the creator, Lewis Carrol, is said to have been bffs with opium. And Ernest Hemingway wrote as many pages as he drank bottles of beer. Artists across history seem to be synonymous with drugs and alcohol. How many rock stars are on something right now?
Does altered thinking really help a creator? The thing about being creative is that you have to be…creative. You must think like no one else. Well, take a long drag from a doobie, drop a little acid, or pound a few too many bottles and you will definitely think like no one else. Drugs and alcohol affect the brain, and the brain does the thinking.
And you can’t deny the results. Alice in Wonderland is a beloved piece of literature. Hemingway is one of the most famous American authors. Pop culture artist Andy Warhol’s pieces are almost as famous as his diet drug abuse. Salvador Dali supposedly did drugs and everyone knows his melting clocks. Like I said, great artists seem to be synonymous with a glassy, red-eyed stare.
Or is that a bunch of crap? Writer Stephen King said in his book On Writing that he was a very heavy drinker and doesn’t even remember writing some of his books because he was so wasted. But he also says it didn’t make him a better writer. He just happened to be an artist and an alcoholic at the same time.
For every drugged-up artist, you’ll find another who isn’t. Writers like Jane Austen, Harper Lee, and Brandon Sanderson aren’t known for their drug habits, but for their works. Plenty of actors, painters, and musicians may do drugs, but aren’t famous for them. Great works of art are created without substances. So what’s with the artistic stigma?
Personally, when I find someone who says drugs make you a better artist, I find they have an equally strong argument for non-artists, so art seems to have nothing to do with it. Sometimes, people just want to drink and use and art is their excuse. On top of that, I’ve never found altered thinking to be better thinking. True, Alice in Wonderland was perfectly trippy, but I don’t particularly enjoy it.
But who cares what I think? What do you think? Do substances help some or all artists or could these same artists have created equally wonderful works without them? Are you an artist yourself? What do you believe? Sound off your opinion in the comments.