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Idle Science

Man Becomes Artist When He Sleeps 130

Posted by samzenpus
from the talented-dreamer dept.
During the day 37-year-old Lee Hadwin is a nurse with no particular love or talent for art, but when he sleeps it's a different story. Lee has been sleep-drawing since he was 4 and is now quite good. Some of his pieces have sold for six figures. Despite numerous tests, doctors can't explain how he's able to draw and paint while he's not conscious, or even what stage of sleep he's in while he works. From the article: "Still, the North Wales native doesn't want to make art his career. He never studied art, and is lousy at drawing when awake. 'Art has never interested me at all,' says Hadwin, as quoted by the BBC. But just in case, he now prepares by leaving a sketchpad, brushes, and other art supplies in his bedroom."

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Man Becomes Artist When He Sleeps

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  • The video is blocked.
    I am in Norway.
    Somebody post a mirror please.

    • by unity100 (970058)
      http://www.your-freedom.net/ [your-freedom.net]
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      The video is blocked.
      I am in Norway.
      Somebody post a mirror please.

      I don't know if it's the exact same video (I'm in Norway as well), but this is apparently the same guy [youtube.com]. If it's legit it's pretty amazing.

      • The video is of an interview with BBC. They show a clip from the youtube video, but in the interview he explains more about his 'condition', and how he copes with it. He mentions that he donates money earned from his drawings for missing person charity.

        Some of the drawings shown are amazing, but I'd imagine the ones they didn't show are equivalent to the doodles most people make in boring classes/meetings.
        • This video [youtube.com] shows around fifteen of his drawings, and is IMO much more interesting than the interview itself. There was no depth to it--it was basically him saying, "Yeah, this happens. I let people study me and they're not sure what's going on." The art he's putting out varies, but as you say the high-quality stuff is pretty amazing.

    • I'm in the US and it says the movie was removed for content violations.
    • by Soldats (1282896)
      More like SNOREway!

      Sorry I couldn't resist. I have been this way ever since I saw that animation years ago.

      Please don't hurt me........
  • ..And a fantastic painter named Ardois-Bonnot hangs a blasphemous Dream Landscape in the Paris spring salon of 1926. And so numerous are the recorded troubles in insane asylums that only a miracle can have stopped the medical fraternity from noting strange parallelisms and drawing mystified conclusions. A weird bunch of cuttings, all told; and I can at this date scarcely envisage the callous rationalism with which I set them aside...
  • by magarity (164372) on Friday September 02, 2011 @01:01PM (#37288184)

    WTF - I'd have a great time pursuing my fun time hobbies all day if I could "work" while asleep at night and pull down six figures.

  • Skeptical (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Dyinobal (1427207) on Friday September 02, 2011 @01:03PM (#37288218)
    I'm pretty skeptical, it says he's been doing this since he was four and has some funny stories of such but do we have any actual proof that this is true? Are we sure he's not an artist with a gimmick to get his stuff sold? He wouldn't be the first.
    • by Alyred (667815)
      I was thinking the same thing here. Would be pretty easy to "fake" that he's a terrible artist when awake, then pretend to be asleep and draw occasionally.

      Perhaps we're just too cynical.
      • by Jmc23 (2353706)
        and his examples of poor artwork while awake aren't very credible. He has a smooth stroke, good even pressure, well spacedscribbles, andgood circular action. His sleep drawings aren't very high qualy so I'd probably go with faking it because nobody in their right mind would pay 6 figures for those without the claim that they were done while asleep.
    • Yeah, there is a quote in the article "Doctors at the Edinburgh Sleep Center can't even determine what stage of sleep Hadwin is in when his creative impulses kick in." Is this just a tricky way of saying "Doctors at the Edinburgh Sleep Center didn't actually see anything matching the claim?" The dude could be faking.
    • by Bob-taro (996889)

      I'm pretty skeptical, it says he's been doing this since he was four and has some funny stories of such but do we have any actual proof that this is true? Are we sure he's not an artist with a gimmick to get his stuff sold? He wouldn't be the first.

      It certainly could be fake, but I don't think the claim is so outrageous. Sleepwalking is a pretty well studied phenomenon. Being able to do something while sleepwalking that you can't do while awake is not something I've heard of before, I'll admit. But sleepwalkers don't always "see" what's really there, do they? Maybe when you're drawing, that's an advantage. Maybe he's just "tracing" something his brain already sees on the canvas.

      • by mmortal03 (607958)

        I'm pretty skeptical, as well, but I will say that in the past I've occasionally dreamed some of the most creative story lines one could come up with; very eventful, in-depth stuff that there's no way I'd have been able to come up with while awake. Similar to this guy's claims that he can't do it while he's awake, in my case I don't read fiction that often, I'm not a very artistically expressive person, and I've never been very good at anything like creative writing or any other sort of narrative writing. S

    • > 'm pretty skeptical, it says he's been doing this since he was four and has some funny stories of such but do we have any actual proof that this is true?

      Um, you DO know about Delta, Theta, Alpha, and Beta brain waves right?

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brain_waves#Comparison_table [wikipedia.org]
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trance#Brainwaves_and_brain_rhythms [wikipedia.org]
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rapid_eye_movement_sleep [wikipedia.org]

      --
      Censorship is idiotic 20th century thinking

    • I'm pretty skeptical, it says he's been doing this since he was four and has some funny stories of such but do we have any actual proof that this is true? Are we sure he's not an artist with a gimmick to get his stuff sold? He wouldn't be the first.

      If you watch the video you'll notice everything about him screams hipster art snob douche roll.
      While he's awake.

      Yup - dude is faking.

  • For those who can't view the video, use www.vivalaproxy.com, fast and easy.
  • Hmmm... (Score:5, Funny)

    by bob5972 (693297) on Friday September 02, 2011 @01:11PM (#37288346)
    Sounds sketchy...
  • http://www.hulu.com/watch/14755/the-dick-van-dyke-show-i-am-my-brothers-keeper [hulu.com] springs to mind, not to mention a fair number of other sitcoms and cartoons.

    (Hulu, sorry for those outside the US).

  • by localman (111171) on Friday September 02, 2011 @01:14PM (#37288390) Homepage

    Reminds me of the excellent art book "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain" - which talks about how we have to turn off some of the analytical features of our mind to become better artists. For example, when you look at a wheel and try to draw it, you don't want to think "wheel" and start drawing what your mind knows of a wheel: depending on the angle it may be oval instead of circle, shadows and other objects may obscure the circular shape. Instead you want to draw what your eyes see "raw", whether those shapes and shades make sense or not.

    The book goes a lot further down this path, but it is fascinating to think that our brains can have power that is hindered by other parts of the brain. This guy seems to support that. I imagine there's significant talents and skills we have within us that simply don't know how to access.

    • Yes, there's a lot of evidence that there are parts of your brain that won't really work while another part of your brain is working. Also, I've recently read a theory behind sleep-walking and sleep-talking that basically claims that parts of your brain can sleep independent of one another, so when there are enough parts of your brain to walk and talk that are "awake" while your higher consciousness sleeps, you might sleepwalk.

      This doesn't seem impossible to me.

      • I've experienced something like this. I thought I was awake and was indeed walking around, but my sense of history (what had been going on recently) and location (where I was) where set by a dream I was having. Due to the circumstances of a dream I was having, I thought I was in a different room and, when I tried to exit, couldn't find the door. I began to panic (since the door "should have been" right where I was) and called out for help. Once the light was turned on, I woke up entirely and realized wh

      • Well, it's a well documented phenomenon in birds and aquatic mammals. They're actually able to let half their brain sleep [straightdope.com] at a time, while the other half remains alert to look for predators and handle other important functions.

        • Dolphins swim in a circle clockwise while one side of their brain sleeps and then counterclockwise while the other half sleeps.

    • by Genrou (600910)

      Reminds me of the excellent art book "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain" - which talks about how we have to turn off some of the analytical features of our mind to become better artists.

      I have this book. When I was trying to learn to draw, I used to read it every day. The author describes a kind of a "zen state of mind", where you lose your ability to think rationally and even talk. I spent a lot of time trying to achieve this state of mind. Never could. There are parts of this book that makes sense: the way you described, for example, that what we know about the world affects how we interpret what we see. But that magical state where you turn into a fantastic drawer, like the pictures sho

    • by Nyder (754090)

      Reminds me of the excellent art book "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain" - which talks about how we have to turn off some of the analytical features of our mind to become better artists. For example, when you look at a wheel and try to draw it, you don't want to think "wheel" and start drawing what your mind knows of a wheel: depending on the angle it may be oval instead of circle, shadows and other objects may obscure the circular shape. Instead you want to draw what your eyes see "raw", whether those shapes and shades make sense or not.

      The book goes a lot further down this path, but it is fascinating to think that our brains can have power that is hindered by other parts of the brain. This guy seems to support that. I imagine there's significant talents and skills we have within us that simply don't know how to access.

      I learned to drive stick in my dreams. I kid you not. Let's set the wayback machine to when I was 16 (mid 80's, save the new wave), taking drivers ed, but i had just moved out of my parents place (ya, at 16, they were crazy, no place for a kid to grow up at), anyways, that left me with only sticks to practice on. Well, 'cept my aunt (who i was staying at) didn't want me driver her big ass boat, and my sister would stress the fuck out on me trying to drive her vw.

      So, pop in a dream,where i am driving

  • Smells like a hoax to generate interest in otherwise unremarkable artwork to me.

  • by Cerium (948827) on Friday September 02, 2011 @01:22PM (#37288504) Homepage

    Looks like he finally got his dream job!

    Hahahahaha! Ahh... sorry.

  • How do they know he's asleep?
  • Them's what done it.
  • I think this is a sign that Cthulhu is coming. maybe the Mayans were right about 2012.

  • He is not the only guy I know who sleeps at work....

    --
    Jokes aside, wouldn't it be great to be able to do useful stuff while asleep? Oohhh, how much sleep could be had....

  • Have a look at the BBC article (with video, including a selection of artwork) http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-14706864 [bbc.co.uk]
  • by Luyseyal (3154)

    Let's just hope he doesn't try to paint the future!

    -l

    /Heroes
    //Season 1 FTW

  • I am a sleep physician and highly complex behaviors are commonly seen in NREM parasomnias (i.e. sleep walking). The idea in the article about "doctors are mystified" and "don't know what sleep stage this is occuring" seems highly suspect. With common place polysomnogram testing, sleep staging can be easily captured. I do believe that he may be having complex NREM parasomnias, but highly doubt that this is any sort of medical mystery, and does lend some credence that this is a "gimmick" for this artist.
  • That Art Is Dead.
    • Rex mortuus est, vivat rex.

      Art loses much in its transition into a digital mass media, but it has never been more popular. To take Keats [bartleby.com] loosely then the Internet itself may be considered an enormous collective work of art.

  • At least he's productive -- http://www.yourlawyer.com/articles/read/14344 [yourlawyer.com]

    I remember a movie about an alien spaceship that is forced to land in a small town and gets the populous to repair it in their sleep. They were all very productive, much more than in their day jobs. One person couldn't be used because he had a metal plate in his head. Anyone remember the name of it?
  • Despite numerous tests, doctors can't explain how he's able to draw and paint while he's not conscious, or even what stage of sleep he's in while he works.

    Perhaps he is in fact drawing while awake and we are all a dream he experiences when he is asleep.

    (Queue eerie music and scary flying door.)

  • Is he enjoying the benefits of sleep as well, although he remains productive during the sleep period? Presumably he doesn't spend the entire time drawing, but how restful is his sleep exactly, and how long does he feel he needs to sleep to remain productive during the day?
  • Substitute "blackout" for "sleeping" and "fighting" for "painting" and he and I are totally in the same shoes.

  • The only thing I do in my sleep usually wakes up my wife and leaves the sheets a mess.

  • That's funny. I become a Fartiste when I sleeps.

  • I saw this episode of Heroes, where the psychic painter transfers his dream state painting skills to the other guy.......hey ...wait a minute....!

  • This sounds familiar [wikipedia.org]. Let's just hope he doesn't fall asleep and paint the world ending.
  • I would be less skeptical if he was also an artist while awake, or at least HAD BEEN at some time in his life. If he has never had any interest in art and doesn't study it, how did he develop the techniques of perspective and shading? Innate skill? Sounds like bullshit.
  • I suppose people can be great artists if they find the correct "brain connection" for it. I feel that I can visualize marvelous drawings inside my head but translating it to a piece of paper is another story.
  • "Despite numerous tests, doctors can't explain ... even what stage of sleep he's in while he works."

    This rings all sorts of alarm bells.

    • My first thought too; how hard would it be to take him to a sleep lab for a couple of nights and see exactly what happens?

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