top of page

Psychoanalysis and the art of "not thinking"

Surfing and procrastinating on the magical world of the Internet, we are met with a very unusual declaration: "My paintings are inspired by my interest in psychoanalysis." Wow! We stop scrolling and close the rest of the tabs in the browser, to focus on this discovery. The declaration comes from American artist Reuven Wallack.

How would you define your artistic technique?

Post-Expressionism (I would classify my oil paintings this way). Presently, I really have no idea what term would apply to my drawings. Started with only colored pencil for my drawings. Now also use markers, highlighters, pens, paint pens to make my drawings. One should know that my only technique I use is “not to think” for the most part. Perhaps only when I draw items such as a glass, shoes, flowers… I think during the purposeful drawing phase. But other than this, I don’t think. To achieve this state of mind I use talk radio (Howard Stern), music, silence, nicotine gum, caffeine…alternate between these things until I achieve “nonthinking”ness.



Tell us a bit about yourself. Who is Reuven Wallack? Where did you grow up, what were your childhood dreams, etc?

Reuven Wallack is a neurotic, in its most general sense of the word.  Everyday I do art, art marketing and 1 and 1/2 hours a day performing self-psychoanalysis in nature trails in the forest. My parents got divorced when I was two. So I split time bewteen South Florida and Boston, Massachusettes growing up.


My childhood dreams were to make a lot of money through being an investment banker (as modelled after Alex P. Keaton, Michael J. Fox’s character in the 80’s T.V. show “Family Times.”)

How and when was your first approach to the art world?

I first approached the world of art as a way to self-soothe myself from the mental torture I developed around the age of 20 in college.  Without using art in this way, I would probably have been dead.  I suffered all day, unless I was at the easel or when I ate.

Both my interest in art and Freudian psycho-analysis developed around the same time in college, when I developed severe mental illness as a bad case of OCD (subtype: Intrusive thoughts, Pure ‘O’ meaning just thoughts no obsessive behaviors)

I still clearly remember that these two interests forged together in my first attempts at art.  On a piece of wood, I would quickly with acrylic paint the wood.  Then I would search the wood for unconcious imagery.  Seeing if any of the images from the deeper parts of my mind could be exposed or seen in the painting.

We've read that when you started, your paintings were inspired by your interest in psychoanalysis. Could you tell us a bit more about this?

My present work is greatly inspired by psychoanalysis. As stated above, I don’t want to think when I do my work.   I want the unconscious to come out. I am fully intrigued by man’s unconscious and getting access to it.  I belong to the local Psychoanalytic Society and have a Master’s Degree in non-clinical Theoretical Psychoanalysis.  In fact, it is my ‘non-thinking' drawings that have most received applause more than all my other work.  There could be various reasons for this and I could only speculate why.  

What comes next for you?

Right now I don’t have a studio.  That’s the impetus and why I’m doing these drawings.  I can’t wait till I have a formal studio again and see what happens.  Initially, I guess that I will continue in the same fashion how I do the drawings at that point in time when I get the studio.  This is why I have already loaded up on oil paintsticks. If I have similar techniques as I do now when I get my studio space, then the oil paintsticks would be a mainstay.

bottom of page