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Migraine Art Migraine Art
MIGRAINE CLASSIFICATION   MIGRAINE HEADACHE   MIGRAINE AURA   MIGRAINE ART    
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Author: Klaus Podoll 18. May 2005
Edited by: Klaus Podoll

Migraine Art

Illustration of visual migraine aura from a participant in the National Migraine Art competition. © 2007 Migraine Action Association and Boehringer Ingelheim

The Migraine Art Concept

Although its roots may be traced back to 19th century neurology, it was not until the inspiring example of an art teacher's pictorial representations of her migraine attacks, that the Migraine Art concept was developed by Derek Robinson in the 1970s to serve as the basis of four National Migraine Art Competitions and similar contests held in the UK and the United States, the results of which were presented to the public in a number of exhibitions and publications in both the lay and medical press. [more]

Podoll & Robinson, Migraine Art - The Migraine Experience from Within, 2008. © 2008 North Atlantic Books

A book on 'Migraine Art - The Migraine Experience from Within', by Klaus Podoll and Derek Robinson, has been released by North Atlantic Books on February 24, 2009 (see here).

Wendy M. Painter, Migraine (16" x 66"), 1993. © 1993 Wendy M. Painter

Migraine and Visual Arts

Migraine experiences have served as a major source of artistic inspiration in both past and contemporary painters, sculptors, film-makers and other visual artists. A virtual gallery of migraine-inspired art includes pieces from famous women and men like Hildegard of Bingen, Giorgio de Chirico, Salvador Dali, Yayoi Kusama, Marina Abramovic, Sarah Raphael, to name just a few, as well as the work from many less well known (but by no means less interesting) artists - and maybe soon your's too? [more]

Do you wish to contribute with your migraine-inspired artwork to this Migraine Art website? Please contact Dr Klaus Podoll to discuss the submission of one or more pieces of your migraine-related artwork, highlighting the aspects of the migraine experiences represented in your artwork.

Jess, migraine, journée au ralenti, collage, 2001. © 2001 Jess (see here)

Migraine and Literature

This section does not only provide literary descriptions of migraine experiences from past and contemporary poets, story writers or novelists, but also offers examples of migraine-related narratives from Usenet Newsgroups, electronic diaries ("blogs") and other sources encountered in the Internet, including the self-observations of scientists such as Marvin Minsky, Oliver Sacks and others. Your contributions are welcome, too! Comments on these selected texts address the issues of metaphors of migraine, migraine and creativeness, and migraine aura and spiritual experience. [more]

Do you wish to contribute with your migraine-inspired artwork to this Migraine Art website? Please contact Dr Klaus Podoll to discuss the submission of one or more pieces of your migraine-related literary work.

Alwa Glebe/Lennart Lessmann, music video "Will-o'-the-wisps" (in German, "Irrlichter"), 2005 [more]

Migraine and Music

Finally, it is known that some famous musicians have suffered from migraines − from classical composer Gustav Mahler, over King of Rock'n'Roll Elvis Presley, and Jeff Tweedy, singer/songwriter from the alternative country band Wilco, to Alwa Glebe, the German "dark chanteuse", to mention just a few. Did the composers' and performers' migraines influence their art? [more]

Do you wish to contribute with your migraine-inspired artwork to this Migraine Art website? Please contact Dr Klaus Podoll to discuss the submission of one or more pieces of your migraine-related music, highlighting the aspects of the migraine experiences represented in your composition.

hosognatodivivere, Migraine art, 2008 (see here). For comments on the video, see Rena Sherwood's blog entry Migraine Art and REM (here) and Emanuela Zerbinatti's blog entry on Arte emicranica (here).

James Cottrill, Headache and Migraine art, 2008 (see here).

A Usenet Newsgroups Discussion on Migraine Art

"Anyone studying links between artists suffering migraine visual effects and their artistic creations?"

(Ronald Alpiar, Newsgroups: alt.support.headaches.migraines, Subject: Migraine and the Visual Arts, January 19, 2004)

"Not that I'm aware of. Sort of a morbid curiosity...."

(Erik, Newsgroups: alt.support.headaches.migraines, Subject: Migraine and the Visual Arts, January 19, 2004)

"The National Headache Foundation sponsors an annual prize for migraine art...The medieval mystic Hildegard of Bingen was a migraineuse and migraine haloes and diagonals show up in her visionary art."

(Dennis, Newsgroups: alt.support.headaches.migraines, Subject: Migraine and the Visual Arts, January 21, 2004)

"Wow once again I fall short: I am an artist, but I am not very 'driven'. I have joked that I must not have enough pain or trauma in my life to produce amazing work. Maybe the migraines are supposed to be boosting my creativity? Doesn't work though, I don't wanna paint when I hurt."

(WKC, Newsgroups: alt.support.headaches.migraines, Subject: Migraine and the Visual Arts, January 21, 2004)

References

Bömelburg H. Malen als Muse. Die Zeit 31.01.2008 [PDF] (see here)
Haan J, Ferrari MD. Mahler's migraine. Cephalalgia 2000; 20: 254.
Podoll K. Alwa Glebe's imitatio Nietzsche: On elective affinities between migraine-inspired artists. In: Rose FC (ed) The Neurology of Music. Academic Press, London 2008 (in press)
Podoll K, Robinson D. Migraine Art - The Migraine Experience from Within. North Atlantic Books, Berkeley, California 2009.
Schönberger B. Die Aura - Wenn Migräne Bilder malt. Stern Gesund leben Nr. 3/2008, S. 40-43.
Schrötter R. Wie Krankheiten die Kunst verändern. Neue Wege der Pathografie. Deutschlandradio Kultur, 08.08.2007.
Tweedy J. Shaking It Off. The New York Times, March 5, 2008.
Werner H. Malen mit Migräne. Die Welt, 23.02.2008, S. 27 [PDF] (see also here)

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NEW BOOK: Klaus Podoll & Derek Robinson, Migraine Art - The Migraine Experience from Within