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The LSD cats

I would like to acknowledge a blogger over at  for pointing out some inaccuracies in the original draft of this story.  I remember seeing these cat portraits many years ago and, at that time, I had the perception that they were done under the influence of LSD.  They have indeed been represented as such in a number of different accounts.

The true story is of a man named Louis Wain who was a commercial illustrator in England.  He was born in 1860, and gained popularity mainly through the many and varied portraits of cats that he did.  Later in life, he developed a mental illness, and was thought to be schizophrenic.  As he continued pursuing his art, his paintings became progressively more bizarre and complex.  For reasons I cannot pin down, the gradual metamorphosis of these paintings began to disturb me. In my mind, they represented a descent into insanity.

Now, I am not so sure.

Was this man simply trying to render the pure spirit, essence, and wholeness of What was before him, seen through an altered consciousness?

I think on this quite a bit now because, as i age, my own consciousness is changing. Dreams are more strange, and so is waking life. Perceived reality is at times different, as if I am existing one or two dimensions removed. Certain things fade while others come to the fore, as if through a kind of winnowing. I feel I am being shown things.

Others find it harder to relate to me, and I to them. Just so you know, I have had my head examined, both physically and metaphorically, and they have found nothing.  And yes, at times, I have seen a therapist.

If this the beginnings of senility, then it holds a certain clarity of mind on things that were once thought to be unimportant or unfathomable, and a letting go of things not sanguine to the new Now.

You may put this down to the midnight musings of an aging man. One who is trying to do his own paintings of a certain landscape, and one who has felt he is on a pathway, at the end of which lies something we all yearn to see.



Lee Dunn View All

Lee Dunn has been writing since the age of 18, but found that work got in the way for the ensuing 48 years. In his home town of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, he reveled in his independence at an early age, and spent as much time as he could exploring the city’s Arts scene. He was introduced to poetry and prose by the works of two literary giants, namely J.R.R. Tolkien and J.W. Lennon and thence fell in love with the written word. His work includes poetry, short fiction, and personal essays, and ranges in theme from the surreal to the horrific, nostalgic, and themes on the human condition. He has been published on, The Dark Poets Club, Journal of Undiscovered Poets, Crepe & Penn Literary magazine, and the Shelburne Free Press.

11 thoughts on “The LSD cats Leave a comment

  1. I think that aging itself can be terrifying, I’m 21 and I all ready feel like I’m changing a lot, I can even feel my physical/mental health deteriorating slowly. I looked up more of his art and wow was it interesting. With the cats and how they are depicted, some are completely normal and then others are scary but it brings up, in my mind, how to one person these may be so odd and to others that’s true beauty (art) like what could be my normal is someone else’s weird. I do like what you had to say about his decent into insanity. I wonder if it really was what he was seeing at the time or things he had seen, and maybe the cats were people or things he had pictured or what did they mean? But that’s kind of the best and worse part not knowing what he meant, what’s ahead in life, etc.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am finding the ageing process to be very dynamic. I see myself watching myself. As I do that, I am beginning to see me closer to who I am today. I find my verbal “filters” are not always working. I have no medical or physical issues that would cause all of this so I think it is natural for some. After my trip to Antarctica, I am sure I am on an unknown path. Peace, my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I learned about this artist in psychology (Louis Wain). It was believe he suffered from schizophrenia. His drawings were used in class to show the progression of his mental illness. It was an interesting presentation.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve “studied” this guy before. He’s very interesting. He was obsessed with cats.

    My way of looking at it is this.

    You can create “one picture” into an infinite amount of “pictures” it’s all just on the perception on the individual.

    All of our brains are different, he was attracted towards cats for some reason.

    They do say cats help with depression and such. Cats are telepathic too. They can feel the energy of things.

    Hopefully this comment want weird, hahaha.

    Have a great weekend! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

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