Drugs and experimentation: neither are new in the art world. But one artist could be seen to be more dedicated to the cause than others.

Bryan Lewis Saunders undertook a self-titled "experiment" to create a different self-portrait every day under the influence of different drugs.

Saunders claims to have started drawing at the age of one, and started having drawing classes at the age of four. From 1995 the artist undertook the challenge of drawing a self-portrait every single day, something which caused his "teachers, friends and family serious concerns because [he] refused to draw anything other than [himself]."

bryan lewis saunders Saunders' self-portrait under the influence of marijuana


But how did Saunders move from a normal daily practice to one so dominated by drugs? He tells HuffPost UK about a neighbour in his "crazy apartment building" who changed the path of his art and life.

"When I first moved in, a neighbour had showed me a big fat monster book encyclopedia of pills and said, 'See this book?' Rapping on it with his greasy knuckles. 'You can get anything in this book, in this building!'"

SEE ALSO: 10 Disturbing Self-Portraits


So Saunders took him up on his claim. The pictures below probably serve to tell the rest of the story, although not unsurprisingly the artist "became lethargic and suffered mild brain damage" within weeks.

Despite the experiment beginning in 2001, it took 10 years for the results to start getting attention - something Saunders found a challenge.

bryan lewis saundersSelf-portrait under the influence of dilaudid


"When [the paintings] first got picked up, it was excruciatingly distressing and morbidly terrifying. I got quite a few hate mails. They either wanted me to suicide myself, or they themselves wanted the honour of putting me down like an animal."

However, some people have been positive about Saunders' portraits, appreciating their eccentricity and artistic merits.

"I can't thank [these] people enough. I've gotten several exhibition offers, lots of people want to buy the exact same picture, and just two days ago I got my first "love mail" ever and I didn't even know there was such a thing! How cool is that?"

The video below is one made by Saunders which shows some of the 3000 portraits he's created over the last 17 years.


These days, as well as drawing a portrait every day, Saunders is pursuing other ventures, including stand up comedy and music, appearing as vocalist with musicians ASVA and Philippe Petit.

What do you make of the drug self-portraits?

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  • Ativan / Haloperidol (doseage unknown in hospital)

    IMAGE: <a href="http://bryanlewissaunders.org/drugs/" target="_hplink">Bryan Lewis Saunders</a>

  • 10mg Zyprexa (after 2 weeks in hospital)

    IMAGE: <a href="http://bryanlewissaunders.org/drugs/" target="_hplink">Bryan Lewis Saunders</a>

  • 50mg Zoloft (after 2 weeks)

    IMAGE: <a href="http://bryanlewissaunders.org/drugs/" target="_hplink">Bryan Lewis Saunders</a>

  • 2mg Xanax

    IMAGE: <a href="http://bryanlewissaunders.org/drugs/" target="_hplink">Bryan Lewis Saunders</a>

  • Valium IV, (Albuterol, Saline & Oxygen mixture)

    IMAGE: <a href="http://bryanlewissaunders.org/drugs/" target="_hplink">Bryan Lewis Saunders</a>

  • Valium I.V. (doseage unknown in hospital)

    IMAGE: <a href="http://bryanlewissaunders.org/drugs/" target="_hplink">Bryan Lewis Saunders</a>

  • 20mg Valium

    IMAGE: <a href="http://bryanlewissaunders.org/drugs/" target="_hplink">Bryan Lewis Saunders</a>

  • 100mg Trazadone

    IMAGE: <a href="http://bryanlewissaunders.org/drugs/" target="_hplink">Bryan Lewis Saunders</a>

  • 100mg Seroquel

    IMAGE: <a href="http://bryanlewissaunders.org/drugs/" target="_hplink">Bryan Lewis Saunders</a>

  • Salvia Divinorum (right before but mostly right after)

    IMAGE: <a href="http://bryanlewissaunders.org/drugs/" target="_hplink">Bryan Lewis Saunders</a>

  • Ritilin (doseage unknown-snorted)

    IMAGE: <a href="http://bryanlewissaunders.org/drugs/" target="_hplink">Bryan Lewis Saunders</a>

  • 4mg Risperdol

    IMAGE: <a href="http://bryanlewissaunders.org/drugs/" target="_hplink">Bryan Lewis Saunders</a>

  • Marijuana Resin

    IMAGE: <a href="http://bryanlewissaunders.org/drugs/" target="_hplink">Bryan Lewis Saunders</a>

  • 1 Glass of Pruno

    IMAGE: <a href="http://bryanlewissaunders.org/drugs/" target="_hplink">Bryan Lewis Saunders</a>

  • 2 Pot Brownies

    IMAGE: <a href="http://bryanlewissaunders.org/drugs/" target="_hplink">Bryan Lewis Saunders</a>

  • 7.5mg Percocet

    IMAGE: <a href="http://bryanlewissaunders.org/drugs/" target="_hplink">Bryan Lewis Saunders</a>

  • PCP

    IMAGE: <a href="http://bryanlewissaunders.org/drugs/" target="_hplink">Bryan Lewis Saunders</a>

  • Nitrous Oxide / Valium I.V. (doseage unknown in hospital)

    IMAGE: <a href="http://bryanlewissaunders.org/drugs/" target="_hplink">Bryan Lewis Saunders</a>

  • Nitrous Oxide

    IMAGE: <a href="http://bryanlewissaunders.org/drugs/" target="_hplink">Bryan Lewis Saunders</a>

  • 2mg Nicotine Gum (after quitting smoking for 2 months)

    IMAGE: <a href="http://bryanlewissaunders.org/drugs/" target="_hplink">Bryan Lewis Saunders</a>

  • Psilocybin Mushrooms (2 caps onset)

    IMAGE: <a href="http://bryanlewissaunders.org/drugs/" target="_hplink">Bryan Lewis Saunders</a>

  • Morphine IV (doseage unknown)

    IMAGE: <a href="http://bryanlewissaunders.org/drugs/" target="_hplink">Bryan Lewis Saunders</a>

  • G13 Marijuana

    IMAGE: <a href="http://bryanlewissaunders.org/drugs/" target="_hplink">Bryan Lewis Saunders</a>

  • Marijuana (Kine Bud)

    IMAGE: <a href="http://bryanlewissaunders.org/drugs/" target="_hplink">Bryan Lewis Saunders</a>

  • 10mg Loritab

    IMAGE: <a href="http://bryanlewissaunders.org/drugs/" target="_hplink">Bryan Lewis Saunders</a>

  • 3mg Klonopin

    IMAGE: <a href="http://bryanlewissaunders.org/drugs/" target="_hplink">Bryan Lewis Saunders</a>

  • 7.5mg Hydrocodone / 7.5mg Oxycodone / 3mg Xanax

    IMAGE: <a href="http://bryanlewissaunders.org/drugs/" target="_hplink">Bryan Lewis Saunders</a>

  • Huffing Lighter Fluid (during and right after)

    IMAGE: <a href="http://bryanlewissaunders.org/drugs/" target="_hplink">Bryan Lewis Saunders</a>

  • Huffing Gas (during and right after)

    IMAGE: <a href="http://bryanlewissaunders.org/drugs/" target="_hplink">Bryan Lewis Saunders</a>

  • Hash

    IMAGE: <a href="http://bryanlewissaunders.org/drugs/" target="_hplink">Bryan Lewis Saunders</a>

  • 60mg Geodon

    IMAGE: <a href="http://bryanlewissaunders.org/drugs/" target="_hplink">Bryan Lewis Saunders</a>

  • DMT (during and after)

    IMAGE: <a href="http://bryanlewissaunders.org/drugs/" target="_hplink">Bryan Lewis Saunders</a>

  • 1 shot of Dilaudid / 3 shots of Morphine (In the ER with kidney stones)

    IMAGE: <a href="http://bryanlewissaunders.org/drugs/" target="_hplink">Bryan Lewis Saunders</a>

  • 4mg Dilaudid

    IMAGE: <a href="http://bryanlewissaunders.org/drugs/" target="_hplink">Bryan Lewis Saunders</a>

  • 1 "Bump" of Crystalmeth

    IMAGE: <a href="http://bryanlewissaunders.org/drugs/" target="_hplink">Bryan Lewis Saunders</a>

  • 2 bottles of Cough Syrup

    IMAGE: <a href="http://bryanlewissaunders.org/drugs/" target="_hplink">Bryan Lewis Saunders</a>

  • Computer Duster (2 squirts)

    IMAGE: <a href="http://bryanlewissaunders.org/drugs/" target="_hplink">Bryan Lewis Saunders</a>

  • Computer Duster (2 squirts)

    IMAGE: <a href="http://bryanlewissaunders.org/drugs/" target="_hplink">Bryan Lewis Saunders</a>

  • 250mg Cephalexin (painted w/ watercolor pencil, water and cephalexin)

    IMAGE: <a href="http://bryanlewissaunders.org/drugs/" target="_hplink">Bryan Lewis Saunders</a>

  • Butane Honey Oil

    IMAGE: <a href="http://bryanlewissaunders.org/drugs/" target="_hplink">Bryan Lewis Saunders</a>

  • 4 Butalbitals (doseage unknown)

    IMAGE: <a href="http://bryanlewissaunders.org/drugs/" target="_hplink">Bryan Lewis Saunders</a>

  • 15mg Buspar (snorted)

    IMAGE: <a href="http://bryanlewissaunders.org/drugs/" target="_hplink">Bryan Lewis Saunders</a>

  • Bath Salts

    IMAGE: <a href="http://bryanlewissaunders.org/drugs/" target="_hplink">Bryan Lewis Saunders</a>

  • 10mg Ambien

    IMAGE: <a href="http://bryanlewissaunders.org/drugs/" target="_hplink">Bryan Lewis Saunders</a>

  • 10mg Adderall

    IMAGE: <a href="http://bryanlewissaunders.org/drugs/" target="_hplink">Bryan Lewis Saunders</a>

  • 1 sm Glass of "real" Absinth (not the fake crap)

    IMAGE: <a href="http://bryanlewissaunders.org/drugs/" target="_hplink">Bryan Lewis Saunders</a>

  • 90mg Abilify (after 3 months usage 3x maximum dose)

    IMAGE: <a href="http://bryanlewissaunders.org/drugs/" target="_hplink">Bryan Lewis Saunders</a>

  • Abilify / Xanax / Ativan (dosage unknown in hospital)

    IMAGE: <a href="http://bryanlewissaunders.org/drugs/" target="_hplink">Bryan Lewis Saunders</a>