Psychedelic Art: a mixture of Art Nouveau and 70s art

Psychedelic Art: a mixture of Art Nouveau and 70s art. Bright and lots of colors.
Over the years and as a consequence of all the cultural events that have happened, new artistic styles have emerged and created and this is precisely what we want to speak about in this new article. Specifically, we will discover Psychedelic Art, what is its origin, and above all, who are the greatest exponents of this art movement.

What is Psychedelic Art?

Psychedelic art is considered to be that artistic or visual representation that is inspired by psychedelic experiences and hallucinations. The term psychedelic means the manifestation of the mind or soul and this is what is intended to be achieved through art.

It is considered that when a person creates psychedelic art, they are in a psychic state under the influence of a hallucinogen. This causes the individual to have a perception of aspects of the mind that are usually hidden. In this way, the psychedelic experience is the process that is generated when the person is influenced by drugs or any other stimulant substance that alters consciousness and causes sensations similar to sleep, psychosis, and ecstasy.

It is important to note that psychedelic art can be observed in many other artistic disciplines such as literature or even music, such as psychedelic rock.

Origin and how it arose

It is important to highlight that psychedelic art is associated with the use and consumption of hallucinogenic drugs and this art arose in the 60s as a consequence of the hippie movement, and its counterculture.

This was a moment that marked a stage and a way of life since drug use was widespread and therefore, the unconscious was stimulated and released through drugs such as LSD. In this way, this era was characterized by individual expression through drugs with the aim of causing an alteration of the senses and thus expressing the depths of each one.

The use of drugs and other substances was key to this movement since what it wanted was to capture through their artistic works a world where consciousness had no limits, a world which the mind without any type of stimulant was not able to reach. In this way, they considered that the use of drugs allowed them to grasp unattainable states.

Characteristics of Psychedelic Art

As we have mentioned, the consumption of LSD is directly related to psychedelic art and this drug has direct effects on the central nervous system. It is also important to note that the effects caused by this drug can vary depending on the amount, environment, and mood.

Next, we want to comment on how the consumption of LSD is reflected and the characteristics that it causes in psychedelic art:

Bright colors

One of the main characteristics of psychedelic painting is the use of strident colors and above all, the abundance of colors. The combination of colors in a harmonious but also contrasted way stands out above all since psychedelia is based on an exalted and revolutionary state.


In the designs of the works, geometric forms predominate, which are usually built through series or patterns that are repeated, spirals or even forms that expand. In addition, it is important to note that it is a world with its own laws, free and fantastic, so there is a recurring transformation of patterns and objects.


As a consequence of all the repetitive shapes and structures, a high depth of detail can be perceived in the works.

Who are the greatest exponents of Psychedelic Art?

Next and after having commented on the main characteristics of psychedelic art, we consider it necessary to also highlight the greatest exponents of psychedelic art.

André Masson

André Masson has become one of the most prominent artists of this type of art. This French artist openly recognized that he worked and created his works under the influence of drugs.

Michael Garfield

The next artist we want to highlight is Michael Garfield, who is considered to be one of the most prominent great painters of psychedelic art. Through his work, the artist reflects the experiences he has gone through previously. In addition, it is important to note that the artist himself considers that through his works he also intends to transmit what the music contains, just as Kandinsky did.

Alex Gray

Another artist we want to mention is Alex Gray as he stands out for his interest in metaphysics and spiritual contemplation. He studied at the Columbus College of Art and Design and despite this, his works are characterized by including very fluid and relaxed compositions, almost improvised. Through his work, he sought balance and to express the harmony between mind, body, and spirit.

Victor Moscoso

Victor Moscoso is a Spanish artist, who has become well known in the 60s and 70s for his psychedelic rock posters, advertisements, and underground comix in San Francisco. Moscoso is a poster artist, famous for using photographs and collages for his works.

Pop Art and psychedelic art

Pop Art is an artistic movement of the twentieth century that emerged as a response against the artistic current of the time, specifically, Artistic Expressionism. This movement was identified with the most elitist part of society, and Pop Art was considered a counter-response because it referred to popular culture. As a consequence, it became one of the most important artistic movements of the 20th century.

Within the development of Pop Art, one of the artistic currents that we want to discuss in this article is Op-Art. This is a contemporary style that merges Pop Art and psychedelic art.

Op-Art is based on the optical effect to create movement and associate the forms to a state of deep relaxation. Unlike the characteristics mentioned above, Op-Art is characterized by using geometric shapes and not so much by representing flexible forms. Even so, these two artistic styles have in common the fact that, through the works, it is intended to achieve a visual effect with attractive compositions that play and visually deceive the viewer.

It is important to emphasize that in both styles the message is intended to be communicated through optical sensations and perceptions. In this way and in spite of being geometric forms, a sensation of movement was created by simulating the effect of dizziness caused by drug consumption.

One of the great representatives of this art is Vasarely, who was one of the first artists to realize how important was color and light and how the combination of these elements could create movement.

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