Art After A Brain Hemorrhage

Photo: Alyson Blanchard/Barcroft Media This is the art of Tommy McHugh - a former builder and youth offender who can't stop painting si...


This is the art of Tommy McHugh - a former builder and youth offender who can't stop painting since he emerged from a coma.

He fell into a coma for a week after two blood vessels burst in the back of his head. Ever since then, he has not been able to stop writing poetry, painting the interior of his home, sculpting and carving.

He spends up to 18 hours every day decorating his walls, ceilings, and even the floor of his home. For a man who spent part of his youth in young offender institutions, it is a startling transformation.

Despite his thousands of creations Mr McHugh, of Birkenhead, Merseyside, refuses to think of himself as the next Damien Hirst.


"I'm not an artist. I'm just letting the creativity flow out of me. I was a jack of all trades before. I could fix broken guttering or rewire a plug socket, but I had never painted or written poetry."


In an effort to share the thrill of his new lease of life, Mr McHugh is opening a gallery in Birkenhead for amateur artists suffering from illnesses to exhibit their work.


Doctors believe the sudden artistic drive is the result of damage to his brain.
Changes to his temporal lobes - responsible for understanding meaning - could be what has changed him from a jack of all trades handyman into a passionate artist.

Dr Alice Flaherty, a Harvard neurologist who studied Mr McHugh, described the brain haemorrhage that struck him down in 2001 as 'a crack that let the light in'.

She added:


"His friends didn't know what to make of this new person who often spoke in rhyme, who loved kittens, who wanted to know what life means.
'Tommy has excited neuroscientists because of the hypothesis that the way his brain changed might be a clue to where creative drive comes from in the brain."













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