Art Term

Psychedelic art

Psychedelic art is generally associated with the 1960s and work made by artists under the influence of the mind-expanding drug LSD

There are many earlier examples of artists taking drugs in order to heighten their awareness and enlarge their mental vision, but it was the hallucinatory effects of LSD that had such a powerful effect on artists in the 1960s.

Day-glo and anti-naturalistic in colour, psychedelic art often contained swirling patterns, erotic imagery and hidden messages. The works referenced the changing states of consciousness while under the influence of the drug. Much of the art grew out of the hippy community in San Francisco. Artists Stanley Mouse, Rick Griffin and Alton Kelley were commissioned by the rock promoter Bill Graham to produce posters for the bands The Grateful Dead, Jimi Hendrix and The Big Brother Holding Company.