SCI-ART LAB

Science, Art, Litt, Science based Art & Science Communication

No, never, is my answer!

But some people do this. This form of art is called Psychedelic art. Read on to know more about it.



Psychedelic art is any kind of visual art inspired by psychedelic experiences induced by drugs such as LSD, mescaline, and psylosybin. The word "psychedelic" means "mind manifesting". By that definition all artistic efforts to depict the inner world of the psyche may be considered "psychedelic". In common parlance "Psychedelic Art" refers above all to the art movement of the 1960's counter culture. Psychedelic visual arts were a counterpart to psychedelic rock music. Concert posters, album covers, lightshows, murals, comic books, underground newspapers and more reflected not only the kaleidoscopically swirling patterns of LSD hallucinations, but also revolutionary political, social and spiritual sentiments inspired by insights derived from these psychedelic states of consciousness.


 Features of this type of art

  • Fantastic, metaphysical and surrealistic subject matter
  • Kaleidoscopic, fractal patterns
  • Bright and/or highly contrasting colors
  • Extreme depth of detail or stylization of detail. Also so called Horror style.
  • Morphing of objects and/or themes and sometimes collage
  • Phosphenes, spirals, concentric circles, diffreaction patterns, and other entopicmotifs
  • Repetition of motifs
  • Innovative typography and hand-lettering, including warping and transposition of positive and negative spaces

  Psychedelic Art is informed by the notion that altered states of consciousness produced by psychedelic drugs are a source of artistic inspiration. The psychedelic art movement is similar to the surrealist movement in that it prescribes a mechanism for obtaining inspiration. Whereas the mechanism for surrealism is the observance of dreams, a psychedelic artist turns to drug induced hallucinations. Both movements have strong ties to important developments in science. Whereas the surrealist was fascinated by Freud's theory of the unconscious, the psychedelic artist has been literally "turned on" by  LSD.

The early examples of "Psychedelic Art" are literary rather than visual, although there are some examples in the Surrealist art movement.


Albert Hofmann and his colleagues at Sandoz Laboratories were convinced immediately after its discovery in 1943 of the power and promise of LSD. For two decades following its discovery LSD was marketed by Sandoz as an important drug for psychological and neurological research. Hofmann saw the drug's potential for poets and artists as well, and took great interest in the German poet, Ernst Junger's psychedelic experiments.

Early artistic experimentation with LSD was conducted in a clinical context by Los Angeles based psychiatrist Oscar Janiger. Janiger asked a group of 50 different artists to each do a painting from life of a subject of the artist's choosing. They were subsequently asked to do the same painting while under the influence of LSD. The two paintings were compared by Janiger and also the artist. The artists almost unanimously reported LSD to be an enhancement to their creativity.

Ultimately it seems that psychedelics would be most warmly embraced by the American counterculture. 

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