psychedelic vs visionary art

Thursday, June 13, 2013

My favorite artwork is the stuff that I just don't understand. 
The pieces that I could stare at for hours, days, weeks, etc. and the message wouldn't get any clearer, because the subjects of these pieces are things which do not exist in real life.
Quality psychedelic art, or art which has been inspired by psychoactive substances, is very hard to find these days. 
I'm not talking about the colorful kaleidoscope trash that pops up if you type "trippy" into the google search bar... No no...
But rather the products of those artistically adept substance-lovers who have truly blown the walls of constraint clean off their brains and lived to regale us visually with the tale.
Psychedelic art is sort of the burnout cousin of visionary art... art which is inspired by an artist's inner vision. These works, while they are still surreal depictions of a skewed or intangible reality, typically have no drug-related precedents.
More often, visionary art is the result of mental illness or altered states of consciousness. Its just as enigmatic and beautiful but in different ways. 
I stayed up waaaay too late on the computer last night finding this stuff. I'm telling you. Its hard. But I'm here, 3rd cup of tea clutched shakily in hand, and I've compiled my favorite works from four of the most talented psychedelic/visionary artists that I could find. 

Leif Podhajsky

I was first introduced to this incredible psychedelic graphic designer through my friend Aubrey's blog, and I really just couldn't neglect to include him in this list. Leif's work "explores themes of connectedness, love, fear, magic, the relevance of nature and the psychedelic or altered experience." He does a lot of designing for musicians and even did the Innerspeaker album cover for Tame Impala, which is one of my favorite bands right now. He also did work on the "Cirrus" by Bonobo single, which is so insane I had to throw it on here.


Adolf Wolfli 

Wolfli was 100% visionary. In fact, most of his artwork was done while he was institutionalized with schizophrenia, and he claimed that his pieces detailed "voyages" that he experienced until he was 8 years old. So much beauty here.

Luigi Serafini 

This guy is probably my favorite psychedelic artist. All of these pictures are taken from his famous book, Codex Seraphinianus, which I really really love for several reasons... First of all, the nature of the drawings this book contains and the way that it is laid out bears a direct resemblance to the observational notebooks of early explorers and scientists. Except this stuff is totally imaginary. Most of these creatures remind me of Pokemon. The pages are detailed with scripts of a made up, untranslatable language. The book is compiled in a logical structure, but it is totally illogical. Its like Serafini traveled to a parallel universe and is documenting his findings... and who knows, maybe he did. Regardless, I'm completely obsessed and I will continue to try and decode these crazy hieroglyphics and make some sense of this insensible dream world.


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