A look Inside the Man i c

Manic Memoirs

Non-Fiction - Memoir
381 Pages
Reviewed on 05/23/2021
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Author Biography

Brent is young enough to see the easel he made in Switzerland become an antique. The easel is made of cut wood, cut aluminum, a walking stick, a coffee pot, a bandana to wipe the brushes, and occasionally some duct tape. Feeling called to change the art world, he has not left the easel behind. You can still find him painting in his garage studio, listening to lectures, sermons, and U2. Currently, he works, paints, and writes in Tennessee, with his wife Jenny and their black Golden-Doodle, Heidi.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Foluso Falaye for Readers' Favorite

A Look Inside the Man i c: Manic Memoirs mixes paintings and pictures with a memoir—one that depicts the author's mind as they deal with mental illness. After dropping out of the GA Tech Architecture program, Brent backpacked through Europe for two one-year-long trips while "feeling the 'calling' to be an artist". Brent Weston shares about the sounds he heard and nobody else did, the European trips, experiences in jail, and faith in Christ. The original story, which was written in a screenplay format, got changed when run through the computer. As a result, it was riddled with many inconsistencies that make it seem like the work of another creative mind and could appear as a piece of art—like one of God's many diverse and unique creations.

I loved the paintings: the colors are bold and deep, the details are amazing, and the mind-bending and abstract concepts are simply brilliant! A Look Inside the Man i c: Manic Memoirs includes paintings of cows, people, trees and plants, ingenious designs, and seemingly random patterns and concepts, which, in some parts, follow the story. The book challenges the process of reading: "Words have stray letters, spatial gaps, and actual misspellings." Therefore, readers are advised to read what they can and be patient about understanding the overall gist of the book with the help of the art. The whole experience, though not quite smooth, is unique and artistic, especially with the beautiful paintings and pictures. Brent Weston's book is recommended to lovers of spectacular paintings by talented artists and readers interested in the subjects of mental illness, incarceration, and traveling through Europe.

Romuald Dzemo

A Look Inside the Man i c: Manic Memoirs by Brent Weston is an unusual memoir that takes the reader into the mind of a character with mental illness, exploring his connection with art, his unique way of understanding the world, and artwork that defies conventional norms. Follow this author as he struggles with his brain, connects with friends, finds delight in simple adventures, his experience of jail, and what it all means to him. The book features events that eventually lead to his incarceration, mental hospitals, and his subsequent release.

There is no straightforward, well-defined style in which A Look Inside the Man i c is written. Readers will find handwritten notes, diagrams, paintings, and the etymology of some specific words and meaning words. The artwork and the writing are fruits of an intelligent mind. The author describes his mental illness vividly and allows readers glimpses into how his mind works. For instance, the illness bestows personal meaning when it comes to physical, conceptual, and spiritual realities, especially when his paradigm may be or may not be correct. He sees patterns in numbers, letters, colors, sounds, vibrations, textures, habits, and just about anything.

There are adventures like learning to milk cows and dipping a hand in warm cow dung that had me rooting for the author. Items like a cabinet, or chest, or something of that sort picked up by his friends in a trailer, looking like it belonged to a pirate ship are well documented in this colorful and inspiring book. There are also journal entries, some portrayed in gorgeous paintings. While the author states that his writings and paintings are of mental illness, the reader will be confronted with the work of a creative spirit. Brent Weston is a rare talent and his work will appeal to readers who enjoy writings with strong psychological hints and artists.

Vincent Dublado

Appreciating the significance of the artistic activity of the mentally ill is no longer an exclusive domain of medical experts. Brent Weston shares his collection of visual art infused with a narrative that chronicles the anatomy of his mental illness. The book’s title, A Look Inside the Man i c: Manic Memoirs already stirs questions. Much of his handwritten words are reconfigured with Ocular Character Recognition, and the jumbled characters that you see are the result of the conversion. Nonetheless, it does not make Brent’s work any less serious. This is a work that defies conventional perceptions. It is a memoir essentially divided into two parts: The first part, Travel Alert, contains images from living the great life—the author’s early attempts at climbing the ladder of his artistic endeavors. The second part, Manic Memoirs, tells about his dramatic descent into mental illness.

You may not find this memoir easy to digest, but it is an extraordinary discovery of the power of visual statements from an artist suffering from mental illness. Here we have photographs, smeared pigments, prose, and screenplay combining to describe not only Brent’s changing attitudes but also a reflection of how mental illness makes an impact on art as a whole. A Look Inside the Man i c: Manic Memoirs may not attract a wide audience, but it will likely appeal to a more well-informed set that understands the connection between art and mental disorder. After all, some of the most celebrated artists were known to grapple with their own psychosis and their struggles are evidenced in their art. Brent’s work may not get accolades, but it does have its own aesthetic worth.

Mamta Madhavan

A Look Inside The Man i c: Manic Memoirs by Brent T. Weston is a collection of personal paintings which gives readers glimpses of when and where the author's life took a dramatic turn into mental illness. The memoir is infused with art that paints his story; the story of a young man who dropped out of GA Tech Architecture Program, who backpacked all over Europe for two year-long trips, and who returned to GA Tech. The true story, which is actually in screen format, speaks about the author's incarceration, his time in the mental hospitals, and his introduction to psychotropic medications. The author felt pattern and pattern anomalies acted as a trigger for his mental illness, and he knew art and science could co-exist. The paintings he did while on his tour of Europe are colorful and also speak about his state of mind and his unique way of perceiving the places there.

The memoir is different and avante-garde, and the layout and formatting of the book are unique, Brent T. Weston's words, paintings, hues, textures, opacities, intensities, and musings are all reflective of his state of mind. There is a lot of depth in his art and also in the manner in which he projects his words. Every page in the book is a piece of art, unusual yet aesthetic; and his two-dimensional paintings will leave readers captivated by their profundity and creativity. Each page in the book resembles and feels like a jail. The author's mind is intriguing and that is evident in every single page of this book. I found A Look Inside The Man i c: Manic Memoirs highly creative and fascinating because it breaks free from the usual art and photography books one gets to read and see and is a different way to show the readers glimpses of the author, his life, and his travels.

Christian Sia

A Look Inside the Man i c: Manic Memoirs by Brent Weston is an unusual memoir that documents the author’s mental illness, the circumstances that led to his incarceration, and his experience with mental hospitals. But it is also a cry of victory. The book is written in a unique manner, capturing the mindscapes of the author as well as his artistic and creative gifts. A man who has a gift for photography and painting, the author fills many pages with intriguing and fascinating images — his paintings depicting the way he viewed certain realities, photography, and cryptic messages, some of them handwritten.

This is the story of a mind that sees patterns in almost anything that is real and Brent Weston allows readers to peer into the deep recesses of his mind to understand how his brain functions. It is a work of genius, creative and inspiring, and as the reader turns from page to page, they begin to appreciate the freedom of expression through the artistic endeavor that Brent demonstrates in this work. The episodes from the author’s life, his friendships, and his relationships with others are well-written. A Look Inside the Man i c: Manic Memoirs is captivating; the prose is elegant and the author’s creative style augments the value of the crisp and beautiful writing. You will be forced to pause and contemplate the beauty of the art and to ponder on the symbolism that permeates the writing as well as the complex messages, offered in a style that is seemingly simple, but one that excites the mind and arouses the imagination.