PSYCHEDELIC MASTERPIECES. Since quarantine began creative projects are the new norm. Found some dusty old paints and dried out pens and made something beautiful while away the hours inside. In this unprecedented moment, with fewer distractions, we tend to find ourselves. Discovering your creative side, or fuelling it if you already were in tune with it, is one of the few bright sides that quarantine has offered.

Taking psychedelics can be very attractive to artists. Many artists cite psychedelics as a source of inspiration. As we recommended in our article ‘How to Trip Alone’, having the tools of art while tripping can add an extra flavor to your creative journey.

If your creative juices have been flowing since quarantine, tripping, or otherwise, we have compiled a list of classic artworks that possess a psychedelic influence. You may have seen these in real life at a gallery, reproduced in prints, or be new to them. Hopefully, they will inspire you in some future creativity, or birth some glorious images. Here are our Top Psychedelic Masterpieces!

This 1931 painting by Dali, is an iconic example of the Surrealist art movement. The Surrealists aimed to explore the imagination by unlocking the unconscious mind. Using strange and dreamlike imagery, they changed the face of art history. In ‘The Persistence of Memory’ we see pocket watches gently melting in a desert landscape. Many view the work as an exploration of time and space, the

“collapse of our notions of a fixed cosmic order”– (Dawn Ades)

— not so far off tripping ponder! Dali himself, however, an eccentric till the end, cited a Camembert cheese melting in the sun as his inspiration for the celebrated painting.

Kusama’s infinity mirror installations are trippy and immersive. None more so than this work from 2016, in which an infinite number of luminous, polka-dotted pumpkins swallow up the visitor. Becoming part of the artwork, everything and nothingness are felt at once, rather like a pumpkin-based ego death.

Hieronymous Bosch- The Garden of Earthly Delights (between 1490- 1510)

 The Garden of Earthly Delights is a triptych (3 panels) oil painting that features some whacky imagery. The first panel, on the left, shows a man and woman, presumably Adam and Eve being joined by a God/Christ-like figure. This is not notable for classical art. But their surroundings are noticeably bizarre. From a hole in the ground, strange creatures crawl out, unicorn drinks from a pool. The second, the central panel, is a fanciful orgy of naked humans frolicking with giant fruit, birds, and fish. New things are always noticed, in the seething mass of animals, vegetables, and minerals. The same goes for the third panel, on the right. However, this is a bad trip. A city in ruins, a man-eating bird, warped creatures, huge knife-wielding ears, and a pale giant with a body like a smashed egg. Little is known of Bosch himself, so his intentions remain mysterious. Historians are split as to whether this painting was to be a warning or celebratory… Either way, few artworks can be this psychedelic, even over 500 years later.

Sylvie Fleury- Mushrooms (2008)

Fleury is a Swiss artist, known for blending Pop Art and Minimalist influences. However, It is of course her work Mushrooms that stands out! These oversized metallic mushrooms look as though they have been painted with nail varnish, but actually, have been coated in glossy car paint. A comment on consumerist culture, as well as traditional gender roles, with relations to psychedelic drugs. The wonderland feeling can be experienced.

Frida Kahlo- What the Water Gave Me (1938)

Kahlo of course needs no introduction. Her heavy-browed face and traditional Mexican attire are catchy than her vast catalog of paintings. Behind the pop-culture icon was a captivating and tragic artist. This work, ‘What the Water Gave Me’ is likely an autobiography of sorts. Visible is Kahlo’s feet and submerged legs. Events from her life, both real and metaphorical play about her toes. Although featuring principally unhappy imagery, this painting shows a moment of musing and self-discovery. Kahlo’s life plays without hindrance. Those meditative moments are easily experienced. Likely psychedelics, it can help us see ourselves objectively. Perhaps you have spent some time during the lockdown in thoughts… why not paint what you saw?


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