Psychedelic art is a visual art movement that emerged in the 1960s as a part of the countercultural movement. It is characterized by vibrant colors, bold patterns, and abstract imagery that aims to evoke a state of altered consciousness. This style of art is inspired by the experiences of individuals who have taken psychedelic drugs such as LSD, psilocybin mushrooms, and mescaline, and it seeks to capture the vivid and surreal visions they have encountered while under the influence of these substances.
Earliest depictions of use of psychedelic substances
The origins of psychedelic art are difficult to trace, as the use of psychoactive substances and the creation of visionary art has likely been a part of human culture since prehistoric times.
The "Mushroom Man" of Algiers is a well-known example of prehistoric rock art depicting the use of psychoactive substances. The figure, which was carved into a rock face in Algiers, Algeria, is thought to date back to the prehistoric period and depicts a human-like figure with an exaggerated phallus and a mushroom growing from its head. This image is believed to symbolize the use of psychoactive mushrooms in religious or spiritual rituals, and is one of the earliest known examples of this kind of representation in the art of North Africa. The "Mushroom Man" is considered an important artifact in the study of prehistoric religion and the use of psychoactive substances in human culture, and continues to be a subject of research and interest for historians, archaeologists, and anthropologists.
The modern age of psychedelic art
The origins of psychedelic art can be traced back to the late 1950s and early 1960s, when a growing number of artists and musicians began experimenting with psychedelic drugs. This was a time of cultural upheaval, and artists were looking for new ways to express the changing values and attitudes of their generation. They found inspiration in the vivid hallucinations and altered states of consciousness they experienced while on psychedelics, and they sought to capture this experience in their art.
One of the earliest and most famous examples of psychedelic art is the cover of the 1967 album "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" by The Beatles. This iconic album cover was designed by Peter Blake and features a collage of famous figures from the past and present, all dressed in colorful, absurd costumes and surrounded by a kaleidoscope of patterns and images. The cover perfectly captures the spirit of the psychedelic movement and has become one of the most famous and recognizable pieces of art in the world.
Another important figure in the development of psychedelic art was San Francisco-based artist Rick Griffin. Griffin was a part of the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood in San Francisco, which was at the center of the countercultural movement of the 1960s. He was one of the first artists to incorporate psychedelic imagery into his work, and his bold and colorful designs can be seen on many posters and album covers from this period.
Psychedelic influence on animations
Psychedelic art also had a significant impact on the world of animation. During the 1960s and 1970s, a number of animated films were produced that incorporated psychedelic themes and imagery. One of the most famous examples of this is the film "Yellow Submarine," which was released by The Beatles in 1968. This film features a series of surreal and fantastical landscapes, populated by absurd and colorful characters, and is widely considered to be one of the greatest examples of psychedelic animation.
Today, psychedelic art continues to be a popular and influential style, and its influence can be seen in a wide range of contemporary art forms, from graphic design to fine art. Despite the fact that the psychedelic movement of the 1960s has long since passed, the legacy of this art form continues to live on, inspiring new generations of artists and capturing the imagination of audiences around the world.
US Artist Alex Grey is one of the well known contemporary artists who openly admits his work with psychedelic and integration of his experiences in his artworks
Psychedelic art is a unique and fascinating style of visual art that emerged during a time of cultural change and experimentation. Its vivid colors, bold patterns, and abstract imagery are inspired by the experiences of individuals who have taken psychedelics, and it seeks to capture the vivid and surreal visions they have encountered while under the influence of these substances. Today, psychedelic art continues to be a popular and influential style, and its legacy continues to inspire new generations of artists and audiences alike.
Android Jones, “union”, 2012, digital art
Androis Jones makes no secret about his use of psychedelics and his inspiration from trips in realms of psychoactive substances. The artist about this artwork: “A commisioned portrait of two of the greatest lovers I have ever known. This image was started as a live painting at thier wedding ceremony.”
We will continue to display renowned psychedelic artists on a regular basis in this blog. So stay tuned and keep coming back for more :)
Your BMF Crew