Texan artist Bill Thomas created a great series of fake self immolation photographs (in the 1990’s), which are documented in an online gallery here (you can click each image for a slightly larger version). Here is his statement.
Thomas, at the age of five, witnessed the famous (but rarely talked about) madman bomber explosion at Poe Elementary School in Houston, Texas - which occurred on September 15th, 1959. He credits the lingering lifelong turmoil caused by the unresolved memory of that event as the inspiration for these screwy, nightmare-y documents. Of course, when it comes to offing himself, Thomas has nothing but style, style, style. And why not?
If you’re going to choose the final solution, why not do it Rube Goldberg-like? Has “suicide as a performance piece” become a lost (undiscovered? under-used?) art form? Ending-it-all while hidden away in some apartment or in the woods just seems so cold. Going out in some sort of elaborate, un-ignorable scheme involving lots of props, planning and stagey-ness is (ironically) less self-centered. Why not allow your death to be that little extra spice that makes life extra nice for everyone else? It’s like hugging the world one last time and saying “Thanks anyway…” before you dump it forever.