Heroin Is the Most Dangerous Way to Increase Your Creativity

The thing about heroin is that you can’t say anything good about it—at least not in public. That’s what gangly Brit pop singer Damon Albarn discovered when, in a recent interview, he admitted that his experience on the H-train was “incredibly creative” and “very agreeable.” This caused a mild media furor, with various publications crying foul, and commenters completely flabbergasted by how he could think using heroin is anything but the worst thing that could ever happen to a human being ever in the history of horrible things. It’s the same sort of public discomfort that arises when discussing supervised injection sites or doctors being able to prescribe heroin to help addicts lead a somewhat normal life. Heroin = bad, right? For the most part, I see where this comes from—a heroin addiction is a terrible thing. Heroin is an all-consuming drug that can destroy your life, and the lives of people around you.

But my reaction to Albarn’s surprisingly candid admission was more curiosity than shock and outrage. Can heroin really make people creative?

In the echelon of narcotics, heroin has always seemed to me the least creative of drugs. I understand cocaine: You’ve got a ton of ideas—all of which you think are awesome (even though they are not)—and weed makes everything funny. LSD is basically creativity incarnate. But heroin? Based on my admittedly limited knowledge of the drug (i.e., watching Trainspotting and visiting Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside), the only thing I really knew for sure was that heroin addicts often walk around looking super sleepy and itchy. Where’s the artistic genius in that?

I wanted to know more, so I called up Dr. Alain Dagher, neurologist at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital (a.k.a. the Neuro) to find how, if at all, drugs like heroin can help with creativity.

VICE: What can you tell me about the link between drugs and creativity?
Dr. Alain Dagher: There’s a long history of people using drugs for creativity, and different drugs act in different ways. The most obvious example of the way a drug can help creativity is that most of us are, for the most part, inhibited in many ways. Many drugs, especially in small doses, can relieve that inhibition. The best example being alcohol. Low doses of certain drugs like alcohol can cause just enough disinhibition that you can become, in a way, more creative.

What about heroin specifically?
There’s another way drugs can make you more creative, which is going beyond disinhibition. That is, making conceptual links in your brain between things that you may not normally link. So, to a certain extent, this relates to madness—there are many artists whose creativity is almost like madness, but not quite. In conditions like schizophrenia, you have thoughts that are jumbled together that don’t necessarily belong together—you have tangential thinking, and thoughts go in bizarre directions, which might be helpful with coming up with bizarre ideas. Part of creativity is being original. So drugs like cocaine, and perhaps heroin, have that ability to make you have original thoughts.


Interesting short article.

Contemporary choreography. Digging it. Passionate and beautiful.

@matttatsbway #nextlevel #digicult

@matttatsbway #digicult

Fantastic, interwebs. <3


Everyone’s Tweeting Photos of Police Brutality Thanks to the NYPD’s Failed Hashtag 

Twitter is a cool website where you can type any old thing into a box and senpecid it out into the ether for the entire internet to read. Some people use it to joke around, some people use it to be like, “HEY INJUSTICE IS HAPPENING, WHOA #GETINVOLVED” and some people use it in order to roleplay as characters from Sonic the Hedgehog. It’s a lot of fun, especially if you like heated arguments with total strangers. 

Large institutions like corporations and government agencies use Twitter too, usually pretty badly. “Hey, we’re a pizza company, send us pictures of you eating our pizza and hashtag them #pizzapics” is an example of a typical lousy tweet from one of these accounts. Generally institutions try to drum up something vague called “social engagement”—basically they want to get people tweeting good stuff about them so other people see those tweets and, I guess, come to think good thoughts about the institution who started the engagement campaign. The New York Police Department was probably thinking they could do one of those social engagement thingies when they launched the hashtag #MyNYPD with this tweet:

What the person running the Twitter account probably failed to realize is that most people’s interactions with the cops fall into a few categories:

1. You are talking to them to get help after you or someone you knew was robbed, beaten, murdered, or sexually assaulted.

2. You are getting arrested. 

3. You are getting beaten by the police.


#photography #thriftstore #kentucky

yes. she is mine. 💘 #photography #artpractice


New WHYs page up today!

Chapter Start // Latest Page

My friend Virginia’s project. Follow her!

Re-blogging this…. super stoked about seeing this kind of visual art coming from Indiana University!  

Although, I must comment on the deconstructed image of the female. I find it to be psychologically upsetting.  For the female form to be represented in this fashion is nothing new. However, this image disturbs me beyond normal.  It’s a highly objectified representation of the female body, but its also chopped up, severed, dismembered, deconstructed and butchered beyond the norm.  It somewhat reminds me of Duchamps’ Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2 in the way that motion and temporality are depicted.

However, the photographic nature of this image resonates as being more “real”.  The medium’s inherent qualities and historical uses compel viewers to construct meaningful associations of photographic representations, symbolically, as analogs to “the world” that objectively and passively record a moment in space and time.  Thus, this image reads as “real” upon a first glance.  The aerial point of perspective forces us into a position of “looking down” on this mutilated female form.  The (seemingly) male form that is represented on either side adds an additional symbolic representation that suggests male dominance, as he is still on his feet, in power, with all the control.  

This image haunts me, as a sense of rape and murder smacks against my own experiences of what it means to live life on earth embodied in the vulnerable female form.  

I don’t have a final thought or conclusion here…. I don’t really like this image.  However, art should be judged and experienced using a sophisticated range of aesthetic criteria and understandings that transcend immediate, surface-level subjective preferences (I like it, I don’t like it, etc…).  Regardless of how unsettled this image makes me feel and in light of my honestly negative and uncomfortable response to it, I find it to be relatively successful, overall.  It disrupted my daily visual experience enough to provoke this writing, enough for me to re-blog this post…. So, the artist is doing something to cut through the fabric of the ordinary.  

I’d be curious to know his intentions and how the artist himself constructs meaning through this work.  I will admit… knowing this image was developed/created by a male causes me to feel even more unsettled.  Why not maim and desecrate the male figure?  Doing this to the female form is definitely nothing new.  Low hanging fruit, if you will. 



Daniel Alexander Smith is currently a MFA Fellow at Indiana University.  This is some of his current work exploring flatness, abstraction, and sensuality.

Self portrait taken on iPhone 5 using a timer app and two rocks to support my phone. 

#photography #kentucky #ohioriver #carrollcounty #carrollton #fishing #sunset

Peeps donuts. My mom cannot even handle it. She just… cannot.


I’ll eat her for breakfast.  Not. 

I’ll eat her for Easter dinner, instead of a communion wafer. She’s gluten free and I’m watching my carbohydrate intake. 

artists’ hands