Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Psychedelic prints and their inspiration
Several years ago i did a number of paintings for my own enjoyment, with very colorful, psychedelic themes, inspired (as usual) by thoughts of psychedelic horror movies, strange early 70s conspiracy/occult books, album covers, and other things that I find visually interesting.
But I was so attached to them that I kept them, even though I wanted to share these with like-minded folks who like the same sort of things. It finally occurred to me though, that I could offer them as prints -- 8 x 10, since they were at least that large themselves, but I've finally started on this project.
The above painting, "Paisley Priestess" is probably an idealized image of how I see myself! She has long hair, a bright orange paisley dress, and is amidst a background of secondary colors (green, purple, and her own orange) swirling with strange globules and snake or tentacle-textured webbing. I threw in a few magic sigils which represent the planet Venus. The planetary symbols are a nod to the alchemical surrealism of the film "The Holy Mountain" though the idea of a psychedelic knife-wielding woman probably comes a bit more from the cheesy movie "Mantis in Lace."
"Keeper of the Moon Pool" is inspired by the same sources, with moon sigils this time, and a fire-winged, star-eyed goddess swirling her divination pool in deep outer space. I was thinking in particular of a book called "The Moon Pool" (A. Merritt) for the title of this, though the imagery is just a subconscious meandering on my part. I hadn't seen this particular cover (below) for that book when I painted this but there are a few thematic similarities. Psychedelic outer space horror, though, is something that I could pretty much swim around in on a full-time, permanent basis.
"Earth Welcomes You" is a painting that I previously sold, but I was inspired by thoughts of UFO/Conspiracy books like the ones published by Adventures Unlimited Press, and the strange "educational" films of the Unarius Academy of Science such as this one. My goal was just to create a colorful image that captured a collection of unrelated occult, New Age religion, UFO and hippie ideas, in such a way that it might actually accurately represent someone's theory, somewhere, of mysterious doings being afoot. There are some Tarot and Qabalistic references, a UFO alien obviously, some mysterious little people (a gnome), and various astrological and Masonic references. I'm sure it all ties together somehow. I also had thoughts of one of my favorite hippie cult bands, Ya Ho Wha 13, while I was painting this -- i think I was listening to them while I did, actually. One of the things that all of these different worlds have in common though are the use of striking images -- eyes, pyramids, wings, alchemical or astrological symbols, and lots and lots of color.
I also have several dream images that I've kept in my personal collection that are meant simply to be exercises in color and creativity. This piece, "The Key to Dreams," is just a visual representation of inspiration -- that feeling that you've unlocked a whole realm of things that are going to overwhelm and excite you. the main figure is blank and featureless, open to possibility. I did quite a lot of paintings with a "blank" character that represents both the artist and the viewer, who are just along for the ride in a colorful or alien landscape.
This painting I've always just referred to, psychedelically enough, as "Trip Lord" in my own notes, but I gave it a proper title now that it's available as a print, "Adrift in the Primary Sea." I was thinking of someone sitting back and listening to, oh, I don't know, let's say Hawkwind, and feeling carried away by groovy sounds.
Finally as a postscript, I have made prints of my "Poe Toaster" painting that I blogged about previously, slightly adjusted for aspect ratio in a print form.
I have a few more paintings from my personal collection or which I have previously sold, that I'm going to add to my print offerings in time, but it's just nice to be able to share them and tell the story of how they came to be.