Co.Design

OCD Allows Ed Loftus To Spend 5 Months On Just One Of These Drawings

Loftus has struggled with OCD his entire life, but his affliction becomes luminous through the power of art.

At first glimpse, Ed Loftus’s art works look like offbeat photo collages. You’ve got a shiny pile of trash bags superimposed on a deep-space sky, a living room with the image of someone in a chair snipped out, and a skeleton marching inexplicably across a moody Ansel Adams mountainscape. He gives us vaguely sentimental, surreal worlds. Here is what’s crazy: They’re actually graphite drawings.

Loftus spends up to five months on a single drawing, starting from the top of a sheet of paper then painstakingly working his way down to the bottom so he doesn’t smudge. He works off of old family photographs, borrowed images, and photos he has taken, and draws about eight hours a day. In the past three years, he has completed just 10 pieces.

Obsessive? Actually, yeah. The 38-year-old Oakland artist has dealt with obsessive compulsive disorder since childhood. The upside is that it has enabled him to slog through each drawing, where the rest of us would throw our pencils across the room after 15 minutes. As he tells Bay Citizen, "That’s what’s nice about the drawing. It’s the single-minded goal and the physical contact. You’re mentally immersed in it, and it’s a repetitive practice so it’s therapeutic."

A new series of drawings is on view at the Gregory Lind Gallery in San Francisco. Better hurry to see it: The exhibit closes January 21, and if Loftus’s current output is any indication, it’ll be another three years before he has more work to show.

[Images courtesy of Gregory Lind Gallery]

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2 Comments

  • Janet Singer

    Amazing.....as an advocate for OCD awareness I find this article very interesting., especially the fact that Loftus finds his immersion in his art to be therapeutic.

  • Pete

    Wow - it's hard to believe that these are all pencil drawings. Untitled 2010 (skeleton and mountain scene) is utterly photographic, if surreal. It's only 9" x 10" too - such amazing detail.