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Psychedelic Art of the '60s

Kashmira Lad
Psychedelic art has been shrouded in controversy since the time of its inception. Here is a look at some details associated with this art form and the role it played specifically in the 1960s.
Only a true artist would know the importance of art and how it can be a great form of self-expression.
In all forms of art, be it music, paintings, or dance, one can witness the changing trends that have occurred since ancient times. Each of these trends are unique in their own way. While some are subtle, others tend to be rebellious.
The 1960s was one such period that witnessed many trends from the hippy culture to people who would love to rebel and be seen and heard. Psychedelic art was one such trend that raised quite a few eyebrows!

Background of Psychedelic Art

The term psychedelic can be defined as 'Pertaining to or characterized by hallucinations, distortions of perception and awareness, and sometimes psychotic-like behavior'.
The distinctive characteristic of psychedelic art is the beautiful, colorful images that have a surreal feel to it. Such paintings were influenced by hallucinatory drugs such as LSD, Psilocybin and Mescaline. Surrealistic drawings, brightly colored abstract patterns, detailing, and morphing using curvilinear calligraphy are used to depict various scenes.

Psychedelic Art in the 1960s

The 1960s' saw the beginning of the psychedelic movement, which included not only paintings, but also music, fashion, literature, and philosophy. There were many poster artists who used this style of art to create posters for rock groups, to visually display the feeling of getting high.
The basics of psychedelic art - the contrasting colors, illegible hand drawings, and strong optical illusions. This movement soon became a part of the counterculture of the 1960s.
This counterculture was all about people that defied the traditional norms of the society. Psychedelia soon became a common feature in the youth of this period. This term was used to describe not only the art, but also music and fashion. One can also see this term being associated with the hippy culture of the 1960s.
This art soon was used for murals, as designs for album covers, etc. These fantasy forms gained popularity by the end of the 1960s. Advertisers caught on to this movement and used the basics of psychedelic art to promote their products. These bright colors and swirling forms were considered appropriate for packaging various products.

Prominent Psychedelic Designers

Wes Wilson was one of the most famous psychedelic artists of the time. His work is symbolic of the peace movement and the 60s. He is prominently known for creating a psychedelic font which made the letters look like they are swirling or melting.
Another great artist called Victor Moscoso, used the concept of vibrating colors for his psychedelic artwork. The effect was achieved by taking colors from opposite sides of the color wheel and using them in equal brightness and intensity.
Several artists such as Bridget Riley used geometrical shapes to create optical illusions. Such designs widely used grids and patterns of curves and objects that were decreasing in size for maximum effect.
Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol used this kind of art to glamorize common objects, making art more meaningful to the common man, and making art a subject of interest for everybody and not just the elite.
Today, psychedelic art is witnessing many changes. Specific software has made it possible to experiment in this direction. Psychedelic designs are used as album covers for trance music.There are many outlets that cater to specific group of consumers who love to wear T-shirts with such prints.
Graphic designers use this as a basis to create beautiful 2 and 3-dimensional forms without the use of drugs. Psychedelic art has created a niche for itself amongst admirers of various styles of art. Well, it surely goes without saying, this art has its own beauty, which transports one to a fantasy land.