Brain haemorrhage inspires creativity

The Times has an interesting account of a man who experienced a massive surge in creativity after suffering a brain haemorrhage.

Walking into a neat red-brick semi on a housing estate in Birkenhead I am faced with a glittering-eyed tiger. His stare is mercifully benign and his swirling surroundings cover the whole of the inside front door. The room beyond is a cornucopia of shape and colour; every square foot of wall and ceiling a mass of abstract designs, animals and faces. The paintings continue into the kitchen and up the stairs. There are carvings, sculptures, reliefs and smaller pictures propped or hung against larger ones.

This is the home of Tommy McHugh, 57, until six years ago a Liverpool builder, with a rough past as a street fighter, and no apparent artistic inclination. Now he is a man with a passion, full of emotion, driven to create. “My mind is like a volcano exploding with bubbles,” he says in a gentle Scouse accent, “and each bubble contains a million other bubbles, and then another million bubbles of unstoppable creative ideas.” He spends his days ‚Äì and most of his nights ‚Äì painting, sculpting and carving. So what happened six years ago to bring about this transformation? The extraordinary answer is: a brain haemorrhage.

Similar cases have been reported in the medical literature. In one case, the onset of dementia improved the technique of an already established artist and there have been several cases of people who seem to have found previously unused artist talents as their brain disease progresses.

Link to Times article ‘Painting? I can‚Äôt turn it off’.
Link to neurology article on creativity ‘sparked’ by dementia.

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