Monday, February 16, 2015

unfortunate one

'Copper' by Adam Cullen (source)

I recently finished reading a book by Erik Jensen called "Acute Misfortune: the life and death of Adam Cullen". Before coming to this book, I didn't know anything about Adam Cullen.  Still, the story of this tortured artist, and the writing of Erik Jensen compelled me to finish the book in record time.

While I was reading the book, I would find myself overcome with an intense lack of hope, void of any positive thought at all.  It was only after a couple of successive nights reading, that I figured out it was the books contents which had me at these terrible lows. I'm not sure a book has ever had such an influence on me, that I could be coerced into such a mindset without realising it.

Adam Cullen was this completely unlikeable, manic and abrasive human being who seemed to seek out the things and feelings in life that send most people reeling.  He seemed to be driven by some childish narcissistic view of the world, pushing his friends, family and even the author to breaking point. It seemed that he did whatever he felt, when he felt that way.  He was un-apologetically himself - whatever he chose to be that moment.

Looking at his art, you can see these things about him.  Things are painted seemingly with raw abandon - messy strokes and drips and a crudeness I'm not artsy-clever enough to describe.

I'm not sure I learnt much about what made Adam Cullen tick, but I appreciated the insight into his world and mind, and I think highly of the author, Erik Jensen, who painted his own picture of Adam Cullen with disarming honesty and authenticity.

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