9 Portraits on LSD, For Science!

Here’s an interesting remnant from back in the days when it was still kosher to conduct scientific studies with LSD. An artist –whose identity has been lost– was administered two 50-microgram doses of LSD, each separated by a lapse of one hour, and was then asked to draw portraits while under its influence, using the doctor who administered the drugs as model. The gradual progression into a freer and more abstract style, is a tell-tale indication of how the psychedelic is influencing not only the perceptions of the test subject, but also its creative processes.

It is believed these artworks are part of a study conducted by Oscar Janiger, a University of California-Irvine psychiatrist known for his work on LSD, which started in 1954 and continued on for the next seven years.

Einstein once said “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.” Given the incapacity of our world leaders against not only the age-old problems plaguing humanity since the Dawn of Time –e.g. War, Hunger and Poverty– but also new threats like Climate Change, I’d say the answer to their stagnation is pretty obvious…

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  1. LSD
    So what do you think this means? It looks like one artist suddenly became every artist style that has ever existed including the extremes of Dali and Picasso to Spare. Does this mean many of the world’s greatest masters were high on something when they were painting (I’m sure some were)? Or could they control their minds as if they were high. I think if this proves anything, it’s that LSD can lead an already finely tuned artistic brain to a more focused place. It looks like chaos, but I see other worlds.

    I found that I can get into a really deep artistic state after being exposed to certain philosophers and their writings. I was once able to draw birds especially and unusually well as if the birds had been sitting right there in front of me, but they weren’t.

    So in conclusion I think that some artists are able to take their inspiration and convert it into a drug, giving us a euphoric state similar to taking LSD or any drug. When I was in college and exposed to constant knowledge I was a lot different…and a lot happier. I honestly have never taken any drugs.

    1. Dalí
      I think Dalí, when asked whether he ever took any substance to ‘boost’ his creativity, replied “I don’t need any drugs. I AM drugs!”

      He, like most of the Surrealists, were experimenting with other ways to tap into the potential of the human subconscious: Using psychoanalysis and their own dreams as their source of inspiration.

      So, while many great artists never shied away from trying whatever psychoactive substance could be available given their particular period of time –like Absinthe among the Impressionists– I’m sure most of the ‘great’ ones didn’t require any other ‘external’ injection of chemicals to induce what was already inside of them.

      My personal take is this: Psychedelics *could* help a good artist become a great one, but it would *never* help a mediocre artist become a good one 🙂

      But then comes the REALLY interesting question: Are these substances helpful for the creative process because they over-stimulate the mind, or because it QUIETS some parts of the brain –the one which is always so busy interpreting the things we come across in our lives– and dampens part of our ‘inner chatter’, so the artist becomes better attuned to ‘channel’ information coming from outside of him?

      These are the ideas that fascinate me more than UFOs and Bigfoot nowadays. There’s no question in my mind why Art has always been so deeply intertwined with Religion: Because the artistic process in itself is sacred in itself 🙂

      1. Agreed
        [quote=red pill junkie]These are the ideas that fascinate me more than UFOs and Bigfoot nowadays. There’s no question in my mind why Art has always been so deeply intertwined with Religion: Because the artistic process in itself is sacred in itself :)[/quote]

        And well said friend 🙂

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