the original brainchild?

one of the ongoing themes in this project was to try and find other references or versions of the brainchild concept within art and culture. all the versions i came across have been tagged ‘relatives’ and can be found here [link]

well, a couple of days ago somebody left a comment on the blog shedding further light on a previous find and providing new information. this is a screenshot of the comment…


you saw who wrote that, right? alex grey.

and not just any randomer called alex grey – but this alex grey!

let me start by saying:

HOLY SHITBALLS!! alex grey just commented on my blog!

fanboy moment over, lets now have a look at this piece he refers to…

Alex_Grey-Skullfetus skull fetus – alex grey – 1979 [link]

i had previously referenced his 2002 painting ‘interbeing’ [link], which is clearly the exact same concept. however, this B&W drawing made 23 years previously. i find it fascinating that artists have reoccurring themes in their work over such large spans of time.

so this now stands as the earliest version of the brainchild concept i know of, wherein a foetus is present in the place of a brain.

on a personal note, it is rather exciting to think that such a renowned artist has read my research (and seen the work I created as a result) enough to make such a relevant comment. genuinely inspiring!

ultrasound brainbaby

my search continues for evidence relating to this brainchild phenomena…

here we have another example of a medical-esque photo manipulation.

the artist is called morgan smail, the original can be found here [link]

no pretence is made by the artist to pass this off as a real x-ray, it is clearly a piece of concept art. indeed, the text in the image ‘idea pregnancy‘ succinctly suggests the birth of an idea: a brainchild.

the reason i call it a photo manipulation, is because it is a composite of two images – the head is an x-ray, and the foetus is an ultrasound scan. to pass for real, both the head and the foetus would have to be ‘imaged’ by the same technology.

i’ve previously posted two other medically referenced images [link].

and while i dont know the intent of these pieces, if they had intended to pass themselves off as real, they both fall down by making similar mistakes. allow me to repost them and explain what i mean..

the above image belongs to brainchild studio [link], it shows a bisected head. however, the foetus and it’s umbilical attachment are not bisected. additionally, the scale of the two objects are way off – even if that was a child’s head, a foetus in such an early stage of development would never be that large. these factors indicate that the image is a composite photo manipulation.

[photo credit  unknown]

this time the foetus is a feasible size within the skull. however the image of the child’s skull is taken by x-ray but the foetus is from a photograph. granted it has been manipulated quite well to look like part of the image, but this too is a composite of two images.

the reason i have been looking closer at these medically-influenced images is because i have just received the forensic examiner’s report which was carried out on rachel’s head. included in the report are not one, but TWO x-rays of the exhibit!

believe me, the report makes for fascinating reading and the x-rays are spectacular – but i am terribly frustrated to say, i have not yet received permission to make the contents public.

as soon as i do, you folk will be the first to know!


babies on the brain

even though this project is nearing completion, i am still on the lookout for other children of the brain. these are my latest finds…

the painting by by Tommy Lee Wendtner is titled ‘Clown Fetus’ and it dates back to 2007. check out some of his other work here [link]

this next image is by a spanish cartoonist called Chumy Chumez, and was printed in his book ‘Una Biografia’ [1974].

however, i struggle to call this the earliest brainchild i have found, simply because it doesn’t match the concept i have been working with all that well. certainly, there is a foetus inside the gentleman’s head – but the shape of the head itself is distorted, and the foetus is not contained purely within the brain cavity. it’s close enough to merit inclusion in the blog – but not enough that i’ll call it a brainchild.

this last one is an image i have posted before – it is the illustrated cover from a book of poetry entitled skinless soulless, by robert james keeping [link]. although i dont know who the artist is..

however, it seems the internet has got its hands on the artwork, and made it into an animated gif. [go on, click it!]


ben’s brainchild

i found another brainchild!

this is by an artist called ben heine, who has a project entitled, ‘pencil vs. camera‘. in this, he replaces sections of a real image with a pencil sketch – which either replicates the scene or adds a new element.  [link]

this is what he has to say about the image below:

There is a baby in everyone of us. I actually wanted to draw the little child inside her head, but I finally decided to make it become the flower of an imaginary plant, still connected to the precious woman. Dedicated to Marta.

the original image is on ben’s flickr [link]


even more brainbabies

in my previous post, i told you about trevor brown’s blog [link] which showed other brainchildren. a few people had commented on his post and suggested similar looking concepts. these are their links…

first up we have a headache inducing logo for the record label malaise music. described as ‘baby skull within a skull‘ [link]

suggestion is then made of catherine burris [link], who i have already highlighted in an earlier post. at that time i had voiced my surprise at not having found any work by alex grey which featured this concept – it seems i just hadn’t looked hard enough!

this piece is called interbeing [link]

alex grey seems to inspire and influence a great deal of the imagery used by the band, tool. and it was a piece of artwork for tool’s album 10,000 days which was the first thing i ever linked when looking for similarities. so i’m really not surprised to see their name come up again.

at 6.00 you will see a brainchild, and around 6.30, you will see imagery almost identical to the alex grey painting above.

alex grey’s interbeing dates back to 2002, but as more and more of these images rear their heads, i find it hard to believe that this will be the earliest version of the concept to be found…



more brainbabies

i hadn’t been having much luck finding other artistic interpretations of the brainchild using search engines. however, it crossed my mind that i could upload my own drawing into the google image search …maybe it would bring up other similar images?

it didn’t bring up anything new, but it did show me a few weblinks of sites that were hosting a copy of my image which i didn’t know about. the most interesting of which was one particular post on the baby art blog, belonging to the artist trevor brown [link].

the post starts by discussing this image of his own…

although i’m not sure whether this is an original painting, or simply a montage of pre-existing material from a reference book. irrespective – the similarity of concept is striking, no?

as the post goes on, he explains that he looked for other similar uses of the concept himself and – amongst several others – he across my image. he even goes so far as to quote my blog, where i state that i haven’t been able to find this concept anywhere else.

however, what trevor brown fails to do is actually credit any of the artists whose work that he has reposted. i have a lot of respect for his work [link], indeed i have admired it for some years. but i must admit to being very disappointed by an established artist not bothering to credit or link where appropriate.

anyway, these are some of the images that were posted..

[above] i can’t find any information about this image – google image searches, only link to the blog post already mentioned. the americanised date [10 april 2011] does precede my own sketch.

[above] i cant find the original source for the x-ray image either. google image search certainly brings up the skull x-ray, but as to who added the foetus i have no clue!

brainchild concepts [above] is by an artist called dan monroe. the image itself is featured on the cover of his book, called, ‘brainchild’, which is available on lulu [link]

brainchild studio [above] appears to be for a some kind of creative studio – although the site, has little more than placeholder information on it, but nonetheless, here it is [link]

and lastly we have good ol’ marilyn manson with an autopsy video for the song  ‘god eat god‘. enjoy!



WARNING: may i take a moment to warn anyone of a sensitive disposition (or those who are eating!) that it may be better to avoid this post….

i wondered what medical science would have to say about this brainchild concept, and this is what my research showed up…

TERATOMA: from classical greek, meaning ‘monstrous tumour‘.

simply put, a teratoma is an encapsulated tumour which contains tissue or organ components. these tissues may be quite different from the surrounding tissues, and have been known to contain hair, teeth, bone, and on rare occasions more complex organs such as eyes or limbs.

there are 2 rare forms of this condition:

fetus in fetu and fetiform teratoma.

in these cases, the cyst contains tissue components which resemble a malformed foetus. both may contain partial/complete organ systems, even major body parts such as torso or limbs. however, fetus in fetu differs in that it has an apparent spine and bilateral symmetry.

the popular medical interpretation of fetus in fetu is as a congenital complication, whereupon one foetus begins growing within it’s twin. however, without the appropriate in utero conditions, a fetus in fetu cannot develop to physical maturity. there are reported cases of mature teratome which contain partially developed organ systems, cranial bones, and a rudimentary beating heart.

a fetus in fetu can be considered alive only in a very limited sense, as it’s blood supply for tissue and organs are provided directly by it’s host. additionally, all cases of fetus in fetu present critical defects, such as no functional brain, heart, lungs, gastrointestinal tract, or urinary tract.

fascinating stuff. no?

well here’s a little more…

in 2008, a 3day old baby [sam esquibel] received brain surgery to remove a tumour which was picked by an MRI scan. but when the surgeon operated, this is what he found…

the surgeon removed a foot, a partially formed hand, a thigh and a second, but partially-formed foot. read the story here [link].  for dramatic purposes, please let me restate this fact:

these bodyparts were removed from the brain of a newborn baby! 


ADDITIONAL NOTE  [17 march 2012]

as far as i am aware, all of the above information is factually correct. there are other posts on this blog that discuss a foetus growing within a person’s brain – but they relate to a university project i am currently undertaking.

so, if you arrived at this blog looking for answers to genuine medical questions relating to cysts, then you’d probably be better looking for further information elsewhere, as i’m all out of facts for you.

however, maybe it was a morbid fascination with the human body that brought you here… perhaps the idea that a cyst could grow within the human body, which contained hairs and teeth? or maybe you were curious about a congenital disorder which results in one twin’s foetus being absorbed into the body of another? if it was something like this, then you may enjoy more of this blog.

i am telling the fictitious tale of a sideshow exhibit from the late 1800s – known as Rachel & Baby Rosie.

in this carnival attraction, the decapitated head of a girl named Rachel was on display in a glass case. however, not only was she decapitated, but the top of her skull had been sawn off.

normally, inspection of the inner cranium would reveal a brain, but not in her case. oh no, inside this poor girl’s head was a foetus; a true brainchild!

the unborn child turned out to be a girl, and she was given the name, Rosie.

the rest of this blog discusses my efforts to organise a small exhibition using this carnival attraction as a central artefact. i look into the history of the macabre artefact, and also investigate other accounts of this brainchild phenomena.

let me restate: the head mentioned in this addendum is an item i have constructed myself. the backstory of this head is a fictional story. the exhibition i am putting on is part of a graded module within my degree course.