Home Arts The skeletons in Nick Blinko’s closet

The skeletons in Nick Blinko’s closet

by The Concordian September 27, 2011

Although Nick Blinko is perhaps best known as the enigmatic frontman of the British anarcho-punk/deathrock band Rudimentary Peni, the exhibition Skeleton Scratches allows one to see a different side of his artistry and perhaps a better look at his personality.
Displayed at POP Quarters, Blinko’s collection of 25 intricate drawings are of nothing more than skeletons of all shapes and sizes with distorted proportions and twisted movements. Some are imprisoned in their frame, which is too small to contain their outreaching body while others find their heads have fallen to their feet, which they cradle lamely.
The drawings are immensely detailed, which allow for the skeletons’ expressions to look eerily real.
Each skeleton seems to have its own personality, expressing complex and often contradictory emotions as playfulness is mixed with horror and pain, with confusion and sadness thrown into the mix.
However, these drawings have a dimension behind them which is very revealing of their meaning. Blinko was previously hospitalized for schizoaffective disorder and his drawings were made within the institution during the time he stopped taking his medication.
The prolific creativity of mentally unstable patients is known as “Outsider Art,” but therapeutic drugs, by inducing a sterile stability, robbed Blinko of his creativity. This was more than he could bear.
In this light, the many skeletons seem to represent Blinko’s inner demons that must be exorcised through art pinned to paper and encased in glass rather than suppressed with the help of drugs.
Peering closely at the minute details, it feels as though one could could see into the artist’s soul, as if the viewer was invited to share a portion of his torment. Colin Rhodes, author of Outsider Art: Spontaneous Alternatives, said it all too well: “In order to make art, Blinko risks total psychological exposure.”

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