Perhaps the future of psychedelic
art will be defined
by those artists who have practiced it most purely.
That is to say by those artists who have sought to record the visions
derived from the psychedelic drug experience into works of art.
Even as fashions have changed, and art and culture movements have come and gone
certain artists have steadfastly devoted themselves to psychedelia.
These artists have developed unique and distinct styles
that while containing elements that are obviously "psychedelic",
are clearly artistic expression that transcend simple categorization.
While it is not necessary to use psychedelics to arrive at such a stage of artistic
serious psychedelic artists are demonstrating that there is tangible technique
to obtaining visions,
and that technique is the creative use of psychedelic
Psychedelic Era (1964-1975),
associated with the use of psychedelic drugs such as
LSD, mescaline and psilocybin,
produced psychedelic art which may be enjoyed by both
those who have, and who have not, had a personal psychedelic experience.
Art Nouveau had a profound influence because of its
delight in natural forms, flowing long hair, and stylization.
Psychedelic art gained widespread popularity as the visual component of
psychedelic music by such musicians as Jimi Hendrix, the Grateful Dead, and
through concert posters and album covers by designers including
Wes Wilson, Victor Moscoso, Rick Griffin, Stanley Mouse, and Martin Sharp.
Other popular forms included posters, advertising, and comic book art by artists
such as Robert Williams.
Drug-induced psychedelic experience is not a prerequisite
for being adept at psychedelic art.
M.C. Escher, Mati Klarwein and Salvador Dalí produced art that can
be considered psychedelic, without the use of psychedelics.(?????)
A psychedelic experience is characterized by the perception
of aspects of one's mind previously unknown,
or by the creative exuberance of the mind liberated from its ostensibly ordinary
Psychedelic states are an array of experiences elicited by sensory deprivation
as well as by psychedelic substances.
Such experiences include hallucinations, changes of perception, synesthesia,
altered states of awareness, mystical states, and occasionally states resembling
The term was first coined as a noun in 1957 by psychiatrist Humphry Osmond
as an alternative descriptor for hallucinogenic drugs in the context of psychedelic
The term featured prominently in a now-famous exchange
with Aldous Huxley,
in which the little-used term phanerothyme (derived from roots relating to
"spirit" or "soul") was suggested:
To make this trivial world sublime,
take half a gram of phanerothyme.
To fathom Hell or soar angelic,
just take a pinch of psychedelic.
Timothy Leary, who was largely responsible for the popularization of the term
was a well-known proponent of their use, as was Aldous Huxley.
Both, however, advanced widely different opinions on the broad use of psychedelics
by state and civil society.
Leary promulgated the idea of such substances as a panacea,
while Huxley suggested that only the cultural and intellectual elite should
partake of entheogens systematically.
The use of psychedelic drugs became widespread in the modern West in the mid-1960s.
One of the first uses of the word in the music scene of this time (who also
helped popularize the term)
was in 13th Floor Elevators1966 album The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor
fashion for psychedelic drugs gave its name to the visual style of psychedelia,
a term describing a category of rock music known as psychedelic rock,
visual art, fashion,
and culture that is associated originally with the high 1960s,
hippies, and the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood of San Francisco, California.
Psychedelia generally began in 1966, but truly took off in 1967 with the
Summer of Love.
Although associated with San Francisco, the style soon spread across the
U.S.A., and worldwide.
The counterculture of the 1960s had a strong influence on the popular
culture of the early 1970s,
and is well recognized even by those who are naïve to its psychedelic
It later became linked to a style of electronic dance music commonly known
Modern Usage of the Term -"Psychedelic"....
The impact of psychedelic drugs on western culture
in the 1960s
led to semantic drift in the use of the word "psychedelic",
and it is now frequently applied to describe any brightly patterned or
In objection to this new meaning,
and to the pejorative meanings of other synonyms such as "hallucinogen"
the term "entheogen" was proposed and is seeing increasing use.
However, many consider the term "entheogen" best reserved for
religious and spiritual usage,
such as certain Native American churches do with the peyote sacrament,
and "psychedelic" left to describe those who are using these
drugs for recreation.
At the same time as psychedelic drugs were being used by the counterculture
of the 1960s,
they were also being used in experiments by governments,
who saw them and sensory deprivation as useful agents for mind control;
see MKULTRA for the CIA involvement in the use of psychedelic drugs.