The cover art this week is called “MK ULTRA” by Texas born artist, Eric Breish. Project MKUltra, also called the CIA mind control program, is the code name given to a program of experiments on human subjects that were designed and undertaken by the United States Central Intelligence Agency—and which were, at times, illegal. Experiments on humans were intended to identify and develop drugs and procedures to be used in interrogations in order to weaken the individual and force confessions through mind control. The project was organized through the Office of Scientific Intelligence of the CIA and coordinated with the U.S. Army Biological Warfare Laboratories.
The operation was officially sanctioned in 1953, was reduced in scope in 1964, further curtailed in 1967, and recorded to be halted in 1973. MKUltra used numerous methods to manipulate people’s mental states and alter brain functions, including the surreptitious administration of drugs, especially LSD. Amid legal issues involving informed consent, there were also many volunteers, most notably Ken Kesey, author of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest who volunteered for MKUltra experiments involving LSD and other psychedelic drugs at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Menlo Park while he was a student at nearby Stanford University. Kesey’s experiences while under the influence of LSD inspired him to promote the drug outside the context of the MKUltra experiments, which influenced the early development of hippie culture.
Born in Houston, TX in 1979, Eric Breish spent his childhood in various cities in Texas and Oklahoma. Upon graduating high school, Breish joined the Marine Corps at age 18 and moved to San Diego, CA. in 1998.
After being honorably discharged and a decorated Sergeant in 2001, he attended Full Sail University in Florida where he earned an A.S. Degree in Recording Arts, a B.S. Degree in Entertainment Business and graduated Salutatorian in 2005. He returned back to San Diego in 2005 where he worked for a company that designed clothing for action sports companies such as Hurley and Billabong. It was these formative years that planted the creative seed and would ultimately grow into an interest in visual arts.
In 2007, Eric moved back to Houston, TX where everything would change. While visiting Houston’s arts district, Eric came across a gallery called New Gallery. It’s here that he first saw the work of internationally known artist Andreas Nottebohm. Immediately he was fixated with metal art. A meeting soon took place between Eric and Andreas and a strong friendship developed. In 2008, Eric started studying under Andreas and has been ever since. It was this mentorship that pushed Eric to find his own voice artistically while carrying on the tradition of this very unique style of metal art.
Although Eric doesn’t currently have a formal degree in art, he believes the lack of formal education has allowed him to create a style that is not only unique and powerful, but one that can’t be learned inside of a classroom. It’s his mentorship and dedicated studio hours that have allowed him create an impact in the South Texas art scene. Eric has shown in group and solo exhibitions in South Texas and his work resides in private, public and corporate collections throughout the United States.