It’s no secret that Vincent Van Gogh had a tumultuous life. Now regarded as one of the most influential and recognisable impressionist painters in history, he died at age 37 from a self-inflicted gunshot wound after suffering years of severe depression, anxiety, and frequent bouts of mental illness. For Van Gogh, the colour yellow was a symbol of happiness, and because of this, he used to eat yellow paint as he desperately thought it would get the happiness inside him. Many people decided he was mad for doing such a thing — because the paint was toxic — and it was blindly obvious to observers that eating paint could not possibly have any direct correlation to one’s happiness.
If you were so unhappy that even the maddest ideas could possibly work to bring you peace of mind and fleeting relief — such as painting the walls of your internal organs yellow — then of course you are going to do it.
It’s really no different to falling in love or taking drugs; yes there’s a very tangible risk of getting your heart broken, or overdosing, but people still do it every day because for them – there’s always that chance it will make things better, that it will numb the pain… even for a little while.
Everybody has their own yellow paint.