Crazy Art is a film about how art can help you cope with severe psychiatric symptoms. It focuses on the lives of three artists in Santa Barbara, California, exploring how their schizophrenia and their art interact. The main question the film asks is: Can art help you thrive in the face of madness? Or if not thrive, can art help you make it through?
Bookending the film are segments on van Gogh and how his psychiatric symptoms affected his art. Without modern medication and supports, his art could not save him from suicide. The film features two of his works - the Mulberry Tree, and the Irises - at the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, California, and the Getty Center in Los Angeles.
The three artists in Crazy Art seek a balanced life, in contrast to van Gogh, where they use art as part of a series of strategies to stay sane, combat the voices they hear, and stave off the depression they might otherwise feel.
The origins of Trinaty's, Rodger's and Lesley's psychiatric challenges are revealed, while exploring the artists' relationships with family and friends. The role of street drugs is discussed in the genesis of their mental illness.
Art emerges in the film as a powerful species of meditation to tame the savagery of psychosis. The "identity journey" — from Madman to Artist— forms a focus in seeing how recovery can be constructed.