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My Name Is Alan, and I Paint Pictures

Alan Russell-Cowan
glue | marijuana | Jean-Michel Basquiat | Haldol | haloperidol | epinephrine | Alan Streets
Spoiler alert
Blog entry

Artist Alan Russell-Cowan: “We’d just get drunk and sniff glue.”
Alan’s father Richard: “Soft drugs, glue sniffing, booze.” (0:07)

Alan: “And with the money I would come down here and get drunk... and if I didn’t get drunk... would have to get drunk.”
Richard: ”The more booze he had the more likely he was to take, have pot or a pill... the booze then the drugs.”
Alan: “I looked up in the sky, and I saw dragons and devils... like heard things... freaking out... someone following me around when there was no one there... I went to Bellevue... he took me to the psychiatric emergency.”
Referring to a psychiatrist: “She said, ‘Do these voices ever tell you to kill anyone?’
‘We want... you to take a drug called Haldol.’” (0:12)

Richard: “He’d been taking drugs... nurses put him in a straight jacket... gave him the drugs.”
Alan: “They just gave me so many drugs...”
Richard: “He was telling me... ‘Dad, I don’t want any drugs at all.’
If you’re drying out...”
Alan: “They just said I was schizophrenic.” (0:14)

Alan’s psychiatrist Dr. Stephen Hirsch: “Schizophrenia is a disease of the brain... brains of people with schizophrenia are different.”
Alan: ”It was triggered off by drugs...”
Hirsch: “... people most typically hear voices... feel that people are talking about them... being noticed... persecutory ideas, so called paranoid feelings...”
Alan: “They say it’s a chemical imbalance... always doing drugs... far worse than any schizophrenics.” (0:15)

Hirsch: “He was depressed... all the other symptoms he had.”
”When I gave him medication, we tried various drugs... having a good effect.” (0:18)

Hirsch: “... he asked to look at his mental records...”
Moving title quotes from his medical record: ”Alan is certainly suffering from a schizophrenic illness and there is a risk of suicide... Stopping the drugs will be dangerous...”
Alan: “People said I was a useless idiot. They thought I was retarded... should be on drugs... should be locked up.” (0:21)

Alan, referring to his mother Monika, “She just thought I was crazy...” (0:25)

Hirsch: “He has been off medication for many years... normal mental state.” (0:32)

Betty: “We serve people with major mental illnesses... pain that comes with a mental illness...” (0:33)

Adeyinka: “I would say all kinds of crazy things.”
Rodney: ”It says in AA to keep a focus on your self.” (0:34)

Alan: “If you really want to be creative... at the end of the day you’ve got to stop drinking and smoking and doing drugs...” (0:35)

Gallery owner Nancy: “I have found the work incredibly stimulating and almost other worldly by people who have had severe psychological issues...” (0:35)

Magazine editor John: “The very earliest outsider art came from a mental hospital... talk about as mad art, the art of the insane...” (0:35)

Art historian Robert: “The tendency of people who are mentally ill, and truly mentally ill... obsessional qualities... ” (0:36)

John: “There’s also people who work with total compulsion all the time...” (0:36)

Alan: “Getting in the ring sometimes is a good adrenaline rush.” (0:42)

Alan, referring to ex-lover Jessica, “If she stops taking drugs...” (0:45)

Alan’s lover Francisca: “He told me that I might not want to be his friend because he has schizophrenia...” (0:47)

Gallery owner Bill, referring to customers, “They go, ‘Wow is he crazy?’” (0:59)

Alan: “Most people walking around call me schizophrenic... just never been diagnosed.” (0:59)

Bill: “I can think back to Basquiat and those days, and okay even though I’m no Andy Warhol...” (1:00)

Bill: “... I’m not a social psychologist...” (1:04)

Oliver: “I think often times when people are mentally ill that they shoot themselves in the foot...” (1:04)

Nancy, referring to Alan: “He looks paranoid, and he probably has a right to be.” (1:08)

Oliver: “He’s not quite as... crazy... as he was.” (1:09)