What is the LSD blotter art?
Oh yes, LSD. Some of the greatest psychedelic artwork has been created on this drug, and I’d admit that some of my best work was turned out as well while experiencing it’s mind blowing, creative enhancing effects. But it’s been a quite a while since I’ve taken it. Sadly I was arrested for possession of it once leaving a concert years ago, and had to go through some legal stuff that made passing a drug test mandatory. That’s a story for another time, it was quite a while ago and I’ve grown to the point in my artistic ability where I don’t need it, but none the less, here is a little history on LSD blotter art.
It’s been almost 50 years since LSD blotter art has come into existence. There is even an LSD blotter art museum which I discuss later. LSD blotter art is the art form that was created for the paper that the drug, Lysergic Acid Diethylamide abbreviated as LSD, was put on. This later turned into a way of preserving the rich history of psychedelic art culture through way of blotter art. Presently, the blotter art is constantly flourishing in the collector’s market as a costly collectible but with no LSD involved in the process, which is comparatively way different than how it was some 50 years ago (especially if you try taking it. )
The Early Days of LSD Blotter Art:
The Swiss scientist, Albert Hofmann was the first person to learn the psychedelic effects of LSD. This drug was at that time synonymous with the beatnik generation of the USA and the world. LSD was distributed in the liquid form most of the times but it was also distributed as capsules, pills and sometimes dropped onto sugar cubes. During the 50s and early 60s, the distribution and intake of LSD was legal all across the world but on October 6 1966, it was termed illegal in California. Soon after, other countries across the world also joined the league and made LSD illegal.
After it was made illegal by the US government, it started being manufactured as well as distributed through underground channels which still made it possible for the people to get hold of it. The popular way devised for distributing LSD was termed as ‘Blotter’.
This process involved soaking the blotting paper with the liquid solution of the drug and then perforating the paper for individual doses to be torn apart easily. Then this paper was decorated with a symbolic picture which gradually started becoming more and more creative with amazing designs. This art was then termed as the ‘Blotter Art’.
However, the first iconic artist to realize the potential of blotting paper art and identified it as a creative art form was Mark McCloud. Mark McCloud was a former art professor and a San Francisco based artist. Today he has the largest collection of blotter art which includes around 400 framed prints and countless unframed sheets.
How Mark Mcloud Got Into The World Of LSD Blotter Art?
During the initial days of blotter art, it was only available on sheets with LSD on it. During these days, it was almost impossible to get hold of the legal blotting sheets i.e. sheets devoid of LSD. But as he started meeting the dealers personally, he gained their trust and easily started getting the un-dipped sheets with creative blotting art.
Later he started producing his own blotting art and formed a whole collection of legal blogging art. However, he was still prosecuted by law 2 times for dealing in something that has been connected with an illegal drug in the past, but fortunately got acquitted. His house in San Francisco has been turned into a museum called ‘The Institute of Illegal Images’ displaying his entire blotting art collection.
The Advent of Vanity Blotting Art
After a meeting with Mark McCloud, Thomas Lyttle was so inspired that he started a collection of blotting art sans LSD. To make his collection all the more magnificent, he approached people close to psychedelic culture and convinced them to sign the limited edition of blotting art prints.
Then they were framed, exhibited and hence, sold. This marked the advent of ‘Vanity Blotter Art’. This is a term used to describe the art form produced solely for the sake of producing collectibles. Some of these art pieces have been sold for thousands of dollars.
I think you can see that LSD blotter art is a cornerstone of psychedelic art history. Please check out some of the links I’ve created in this text to see many samples of this art form.