How I transform my psychedelic trips into visionary art.
As a visionary artist my aim is to create artwork that transcends the physical world and opens up a visual doorway into states of awareness and connection that remind us of our divine nature. My mission towards communicating such experiences originated from my first encounter with psychedelics back in 2014. Since that night I wanted to find a way to share the beauty I experienced and art presented itself as a means to do this.
I will now outline the 8 keys in my creative process of digesting psychedelic experiences and transforming them into visionary art. The process of extracting ideas and artwork from such experiences is not always easy and it is with the below steps that I have built a method that works for me and my practice.
HOW TO CREATE VISIONARY ART
1. PREPARING SET & SETTING
The very first step in my process is making sure it is an appropriate time to take the leap into the unknown and explore myself on a deeper level through the use of psychedelic substances. This is not my only means of introspection however I have found it to be a direct path to untangling the mind and seeing truth for what it is, without imposing my views or beliefs on it. Psychedelics for me are the reset button for the mind and a reintroduction to spirit.
Despite what my choice of trip may be I always question my current state of mind and life experience. I never use psychedelics as a way of sorting my problems out; I believe that work must be done outside of these experiences. I do believe tripping has the potential of moving through blockages both mentally and spiritually, however any of these I find in day to day life is where I personally deal with them.
Psychedelic set and setting in a nutshell is evaluating your present mindset (SET) and making sure you have a suitable environment (SETTING) to ensure you have everything in place to improve your chances of having an uplifting experience and connect with the divine beyond the vail. Step one for me is preparing myself mentally and physically for what I am about to see and experience. I like to be in my studio or immersed in nature when exploring these experiences and usually have some kind of relaxing/ambient music playing that aids in guiding my trips in a calm and pleasant way.
Ask yourself is this the right time for me to be doing this? Do I have a suitable place that is somewhat familiar and will ensure I am safe when disorientation sets in? Am I ready to truly see?
2. THE PSYCHEDELIC EXPERIENCE
Once I have decided I am ready to dive in and have made my choice of substance and method it is now time to welcome the weird and wonderful. I always have a certain level of anxiety leading into trips but I feel this only confirms my respect for it. It's perfectly normal to feel a little uneasy about the fact your world is about to be pulled from under your feet. Nevertheless I remember the divine that lies within and the healing I feel when I undergo this process of exploration.
Depending on the speed of the effects to come, I will always take time out to set an intention for my trip. Mediating beforehand is something I frequently do to ensure I am checking in with myself before the visuals start to take full effect. Moving into a trip I almost always recall a statement from a lecture of the late Terence McKenna where he says "Here I am, I trusted you enough to do this. Please don't hurt me". You can listen to this snippet of his Terence's where he talks about this in his lecture here, This statement resonates with me because I look at psychedelics as almost the highest order of self discipline and development. The discipline relates to courage associated with stepping back into an unfamiliar reality and development in what is to follow from seeing so deeply.
When waiting for a trip to kick in I will affirm I am here and invested in doing the work needed to better myself and expand spiritually. If I feel tension building I remind myself that no amount of struggle will help me through what is to come and only surrender will set me free of fear. During my trip my intention is to feel and experience and open my heart up to the love and healing I know is present within this space. Generally speaking leading into the experience and as it tapers off is where I will focus on creating artwork. I feel at the peak of the trip it can be hard to do anything other than just be present and let go of control. This stage is where the art starts to rise to the surface as I try and express what I am seeing or feeling during my trip. See point three for how I do this.
3. SKETCHING IDEAS & CONCEPTS
Primarily the artwork I create is digital however I find that technology while tripping can be somewhat challenging to navigate at times. It is for this reason I choose the traditional method of pen and paper. I find that when I am in my flow-state of creating a pen unlike a pencil, means I don't need to stop to sharpen it to continue.
When composing sketches I try and let the experience present itself as it is rather than trying to make the artwork into something specific. My aim is to let the art channel through me with little or as least effort as possible. In a way I am watching myself create art. I have no intention and therefore am seeing what I draw for the very first time. What has worked for me is allowing the psychedelic flare of the experience to present itself and then studying my work after to see what reoccurring patterns or styles I can identify. It is with these patterns that I then integrate into my final concepts sketches. The truth is a lot of what I draw when tripping is not the greatest art but I know that I am expressing a state of awareness that I feel needs to be communicated.
I look at my sketch book and use my skills as an artist to refine my sketches into works of art that resemble what I have experienced. Anything that I feel has played a significant part in my trip I will include in the final sketch. This means despite my ability to recall exactly what a specific place, object, being or emotion looked or felt like I will included it in to tell a truer story.
The process of creating sketches happens both in and outside the psychedelic experience
4. INTEGRATION TECHNIQUES
Once the experience has passed it is now time for me to integrate what I have seen and felt through a number of ways I have found that work for me. Voice recordings are a great tool to capture your experience without slowing down the time of translation. I find I can speak openly about my journeys and get a lot out in a short period of time. My ability to recall my trips becomes harder the more time that passes. Sketching again is a method of creating a visual representation of what I witnessed.
Once I have collected voice recordings I will occasionally elaborate on them with a diary I keep. This is to apply more understating to certain topics I might bring up during the recordings.
5. DECIDING WHAT WILL BE EXPRESSED THROUGH ART
At this point I have prepared, experienced and created draft sketches of my journey and would now like to create a final sketch that I will complete with colour, shading, lighting and layer effects. Overtime I have come to realise that I really want to open up the psychedelic space to my viewers and to do this means I need to create work that gives people a certain perspective of what I have seen, felt of subconsciously channeled.
To refine what I would like to create I ask myself questions like...
What moments/visions in my trip would I like to share with the world and how will I communicate them?
Now that I have a draft sketch of what will be the final artwork, is it in alignment with the experience? If not, how can I change or tweak what I have to be a better fit?
I compose art in the most literal way possible to ensure what I include means the most to me and my experiences. For example, take a look at the below image.
The buddha you can see within my artwork Spirit Molecule was given to me by a friend a few weeks prior to my first experience with psychedelics. He said let this serve as a guide for your experience and let it provide a centre for you to return to and be a constant reminder of love. This is an example of how I keep what I represent in my art literal. That statue played a big part in my experience and therefore was added to the final artwork. More examples of this are the world you can see that represents where my trip took place, within my home in Australia. The eye universally used throughout my work stands for the consciousness of the experience and the artwork itself.
My advice when you are trying to communicate something is to keep it simple at first and chances are it will develop as the piece starts to come together. The important part here is the extraction of the artwork, whatever it takes to pull artwork out of what you have experienced is what you should focus your efforts on. Creating visionary art is almost like learning a foreign language, overtime your ability to communicate will improve and so will your accuracy of expression. Stick with it and remember to keep your initial concepts simple and add in the details along the way.
6. CREATING THE VISIONARY ART
Now that I know what I would like to create I get to work within my desired medium. I work with a number of mediums including digital art, VR sculpting and spray paint. For this post I will run with digital art created with Procreate on my iPad. After years of psychically painting, stumbling across digital art has transformed how I compose my work and is my go to for creating visionary art.
Like me, if you are creating digital art it is important to think about what you will be doing with the artwork once it is completed. I like to create physical products and later make them available online through my psychedelic art store. The size of my digital canvas will depend on what the artwork will be later printed on so take the time to have a think of what will work for you.
My digital artworks are generally created using 4 - 6 layers.
Layer 1 - Concept Sketch
Layer 2 - Colour
Layer 3 - Shading
Layer 4 - Lighting
Layer 5 - Background
Layer 6 - Double-vision effect
Art takes time to create and as a result I have invested countless hours into piecing my work together. Nothing comes close to good old fashioned hard work in the studio so when I feel the time is right to compose artwork I waste no time in getting to work. To keep it simple, I import my sketch into procreate, colour over it by creating a layer above it and add a new layer for every added level of detail i.e shading and lighting. Once all my layer details are complete I run through each layer individually to ensure they are clean and free from any blemishes. Once I am happy with the completed artwork I will then create a duplicate file to experiment with background effects and any other additions I would like to add.
Once all of the above process is complete, I now have a finished piece of digital visionary art ready to share.
7. SHARING MY ARTWORK
This stage of the art making process is when I get a chance to give people a glimpse into what I have experienced and how that has transformed into artwork. The sharing of visionary art is what inspires and drives the creative force behind it. Any chance I get to send my art out into the world is an opportunity for people to view a state of awareness beyond reality as we have come to know it.
8. CREATING PHYSICAL ARTWORKS
As I said before digital art is my chosen medium, however I love the idea of bringing my art out from behind a screen, and into physical form. I am fortunate enough to be supported by the artwork I create and this of course relies on creating and selling digital reproductions of artworks.
I print my artworks on a range of items including posters, wall tapestries, stickers, air fresheners, lenticular prints, coffee mugs and much more. If you are interested in viewing available artworks and supporting me and my work please visit my psychedelic art store.
A portion of every sale is donated in aid of psychedelic research.
If you have any other questions about my art making process, please leave me a comment below and I will get back to you as soon as possible.
Thanks for taking the time to read my post.
To further support me and my work please visit my psychedelic art store below.
A portion of every sale is donated in aid psychedelic research.