The word ' psychedelic' is an English term coined from the Greek words for "soul," ( psyche ), and "manifest," ( delos ).
Historical background: Early artistic experimentation with LSD was conducted in a clinical context by Los Angeles based psychiatrist OSCAR JANIGER.
Psychiatrist Oscar Janiger’s experimentation with LSD to a group of 50 different artists, asking them to do a painting of the artist's choosing
and then subsequently asked them to do the same painting while under the influence of LSD.
INFLUENTIAL PERSON: ALBERT HOFMANN – discovered LSD (LYSERGIC ACID DIETHYLAMIDE)
“ As I lay in a dazed condition with my eyes closed, (I experienced daylight as disagreeably bright) there surged upon me an uninterrupted stream of fantastic images of extraordinary plasticity and vividness, accompanied by an intense kaleidoscope-like play of colors. “
The Psychedelic era refers to the time of social, musical and artistic change influenced by psychedelic drugs, generally described as occurring during early 1960s to the mid 1970s. Psychedelic drug use encouraged unity, the breaking down of boundaries, the heightening of political awareness, empathy with others, and the questioning of authority.
May 24-September 16, 2007 exhibition: Summer of Love - Art of the Psychedelic Era (Whitney Museum - New York)
Fantastic, metaphysical and surrealistic subject matter
kaleidoscope, fractal, or paisley patterns
Bright and/or highly contrasting colors
Extreme depth of detail or stylization of detail. Also so called Horror vacui style.
Morphing of objects and/or themes and sometimes collage
Phosphenes, spirals, concentric circles, diffraction patterns, and other entoptic motifs
Repetition of motifs
Innovative typography and hand-lettering, including warping and transposition of positive and negative spaces
Oil on canvas
water-based printed ink
Abdul Mati Klarwein
and some IT artists
Semiotic Iconic contextual Title: Annunciation Artist: Abdul Mati Klarwein Date: 1961 Size: 22" x 15" Location: Ernst Fuchs Museum in Vienna Elements: * Value of color is not so dark nor bright * diagonal lines * horror vacui style Subject: Annunciation of Jesus’ birth to Mary by Archangel Gabriel Description: Depiction of a tattooed female angel coming to a sexy Black Virgin Mary with a dove in her lap alongside with dense hallucinogenic characters Features: Complex panoramas of bizarre imagery, rich with intricate detail carried at extreme levels. Source: Religion Meaning: *Personal message *Visual celebration of life on earth in all its richness and diversity: Music, scent, sex and sensuality, colour, taste, texture, the eroticism of flowers, the sensuality of stone, the natural beauty of landscapes and of all the fruits of nature. Purpose: To challenge our assumptions on everything from religion and sexuality to the perceiver and the perceived. Function: Painting used by Santana as record album cover art for Abraxas.
detail showing Wodaabe Charm Dancers with Mati's head in the foreground
Semiotic Iconic contextual · Title: Flying Eyeball · Artist: Rick Griffin · Size: 4 1/2" x 7 1/16" - Price: $400 - Location: Avalon Ballroom and Winterland in San Francisco - Signature location: lower right corner Elements: * Strong intensity of the color, bright colors associated with positive energy and heightened emotions. * Red Hue * Sharply curved or twisted lines that convey turmoil, chaos, and even violence. Subject: Flying Eyeball Type: Objective Description: winged eyeball with reptilian limbs encircled in a ring of fire Features: The highlighted lettering, vivid color, and complicated imagery reflect Griffin's attention to precise details Meaning: It is Rick's vision of the all-seeing eye of God the father, the Old Testament "jealous and angry God" before whom Rick felt we are all wanting, all guilty, all unworthy sinners doomed to burn forever on a lake of fire. Rick saw this flaming eye in the sky that he believed saw everything and forgave nothing, this eye bearing the "memento mori" skull in its terrifying claw, and he sought something to intermediate between him and that awful eye. Purpose: Warning us about what he believed was our fate if we did not accept Jesus as our personal savior as he had. Function: psychedelic poster art for rock singer Jimi Hendrix (ecstatic songs)
Semiotic Iconic Contextual Title: Astral Body Asleep Artist: Abdul Mati Klarwein Medium: Oil on canvas Location: Aleph Sanctuary. Now, in Ernst Fuchs Museum in Vienna Elements: The curves of a line convey energy. Soft, shallow curves recall the curves of the human body and often have a pleasing, sensual quality and a softening effect on the composition. Repeated lines create rhythm Combination of warm and cool colors Subject: Soul’s Journey Description: Complex panoramas of bizarre imagery, reinforced with patterns of intense colors (often juxtaposing high-chroma colors with their compliments for the added intensity produced by optical effect), rich with intricate detail carried at extreme levels. Meaning: Ecstatic, mystical or out-of body experience, wherein the spiritual traveller leaves the physical body and travels in his/her subtle body (or dreambody or astral body) into ‘higher’ realms".
Semiotic Iconic contextual Title: Psychedelic Temple Artist: Allen Atwell Medium: Casein on Plaster Location: Room in a New York apartment Elements: Bright colors associated with positive energy and heightened emotions. Horror vacui style Warm colors Curved lines Description: An apocalyptic inner landscape painted on the walls, ceiling and adjoining spaces of a room in a New York apartment. Meaning: Expression of Atwell’s distancing work from the kind of psychedelic aesthetics praised by the authors as almost completely devoid of the most severe affliction of humankind, namely, the neurotic, the ugly and the debased (common) that permeates so many artistic expressions of our time. Purpose: To do away with the negativity of abstract expressionism and other avant-garde movements.
Semiotic Iconic contextual Title: All Things are One Thing Artist: Isaac Abrams Date: 1966 Medium: Oil on Canvas Size: 40” x 40” Location: Summer of Love Exhibit at Tate Liverpool Elements: curved lines repeated lines and shapes asymmetrical composition light colors Description: Dreamlike cosmology and saturated color schemes recurrent juxtapositions of eidetic images – mental images that appear to be in a real physical space Meaning: Abrams thoroughly embedded his work in the heightened sensory awareness and harmonious sensation of creative satisfaction induced by hallucinogens Purpose: To enable a sense of fusion between art, mind and body and, by extension, reveal the essential unity of all things (Associated with his political and cultural ambitions)
Title: It is Written Artist: KGH of SF Despite being inscribed into the landscape, the answer to the dilema remained obscure.