In a crowded marketplace, and especially during uncertain economic times, how can artists stand out from the pack? It helps to be a child prodigy or a former model or a convicted serial murderer, of course, but it’s not like you can just wake up in the morning and become any of these things. Welsh artist Lee Hadwin, however, has been lucky enough to distinguish himself by doing something the rest of us do every day: he’s been making a name for himself as the artist who paints in his sleep.

We’ve already discussed one artist who uses sleep as a basis for her art here on Hyperallergic this week. But Lee Hadwin’s art is very different (and not just because it looks like the work of an eighth grader who’s spent a lot of time doodling in their Trapper Keeper): he actually creates his work in his sleep, supposedly with no recollection of these particular kind of nocturnal emissions when he wakes up. Hadwin has been featured on several news outlets over the past couple of years (usually during slow news cycle, like this one!), but a new BBC report this week is giving Hadwin’s unique ability a renewed focus.

Lee Hadwin, “Vortex” (via

Aside from a claim on Hadwin’s website that the Edinburgh Sleep Clinic described his work as “unique”, it was difficult to find any scientific studies that bolstered his claims that his work really is produced without any conscious recollection on his part. A video on Hadwin’s YouTube channel, however, makes an interesting case, even if it does look like an outtake from a “Paranormal Activity” sequel. Take a look and judge for yourself.

YouTube video

John D’Addario is a veteran blogger (since 1996), adjunct professor of arts administration at the University of New Orleans, professional arts educator, photographer and man of the world. You can visit...