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Exploring Creepy Psychedelic Art

Psychedelic art typically refers to art that’s been inspired by the use of hallucinogens, and first came onto the art scene in the 60’s as a part of a counter-culture movement. Usually, these pieces feature a bright, strong color palette, kaleidoscopic swirls, intricate lettering and clear Art Nouveau inspirations. LSD was the common drug used to explore this art movement, but others were used as well. The style peaked between 1966 and 1972, thanks to artists like Rick Griffon, Victor Moscoso and Wes Wilson. Thankfully, the movements are still present and going strong today.

There is plenty of symbolism in psychedelic art that goes hand-in-hand with one another. While at first glance the artwork can be enjoyed for its vibrant colors and shapes, and when you’re admiring or creating it during a trip, a whole new world filled with iconography can open up. Some of these symbols can include concentric circles, paisley zig-zags, swirls and more.

Although beautiful and free-spirited, psychedelic art —like art of any kind— can have a dark side. So, in the spirit of Halloween, we’ve created a list of some of our favorite spooky psychedelic art pieces for you to enjoy. While looking, keep some of these symbols and their meanings in mind:

  • Skulls/skeleton – death and mortality
  • Eye – omniscient, all-seeing
  • Long hair – freedom

Before looking at these pieces, remember that exploring darker and more grotesque art while tripping doesn’t guarantee a bad trip. Here’s what Henrik Dahl had to say on the subject: 

“Psychedelic journeys are potentially therapeutic, even life-changing experiences, but the effects of psychedelics are sometimes too emotionally overwhelming. This situation may lead to a difficult experience (a so-called “bad trip”). In such cases, psychedelic imagery may be perceived as highly unpleasant with many grotesque visions. However, it should be said that positive psychedelic experiences often include at least some dark elements too. Clearly, the presence of the latter does not make the journey any less valuable. On the contrary, getting through dark passages of a trip may prove to be highly transformative and healing. In fact, the psychedelic experience – just like life itself – contains both darkness and light. This duality is an aspect that has been known and acknowledged all along by writers and researchers in psychedelia.”

Here Are 5 Trippy Art Pieces to Explore This Halloween



By: Alex Grey

Artist’s Note: “Indeed, experiencing the transcendence of your physical identification, with the certain knowledge that your essence, your spiritual core, your soul, persists beyond the boundary of bodily death is, without doubt, the most precious gift that psychedelic experiences can provide. This was the gift vouchsafed in the mystery religions of ancient civilizations, where initiates went through an experience of death and rebirth, in which they were provided an experiential preparation for death & a vision of the reality of the spiritual worlds beyond.” —R. Metzner

Jigoku Dayu/Tayu (Hell Courtesan) Tapestry


By: Junko Mizuno

Artist’s Note: “Jigoku Dayu/Tayu (Hell Courtesan) was a beautiful, intelligent courtesan who has been a popular subject for many artists over the last several hundred years. She is usually depicted wearing a kimono with scenes of hell on it and is often surrounded by skeletons. After getting kidnapped and sold to a brothel, she named herself as “Jigoku” (means “Hell”) mocking her misfortunes. She achieved enlightenment through interactions with an unorthodox Zen monk, Ikkyu.” —Junko Mizuno



By: Michelle Avery Kończyk

Artist’s Note: “Like all of my paintings, this is a watercolor painting which means the white is the paper, the black is watercolor, and the fingers are obviously meant to be yours. Yes, they are your fingers reaching out as you get swallowed whole by the depths of all your greatest fears. I hear it’s not too bad though, that there are others in the floating head with you. I think you just echo on forever and ever. There are worse fates, I suppose!” —Michelle Avery Konczyk 

To Our Glorious Future


By: Ben Ashton

Artist’s Note: “‘To Our Glorious Future’ focuses on the Regency era and the birth of the British empire, a period of time that spawned a huge amount of self-congratulatory portraiture which now lines the walls of our museums and institutions. Britain is obsessed with its own history and how influential we used to be; we view our history with rose-tinted glasses, remembering our perceived victories whilst overlooking our various misdemeanors. Nationalism has been stoked recently by representing the past as something we should be moving back to, often painting a distorted picture of a greatness that never was. In my current work I take these confident Regency poses and subvert and disrupt them, taking a ‘strong and stable‘ part of my heritage and making it unsafe and tainted.” —Ben Ashton 

The Greater Reset: Behind the Wall of Sleep

By: Konstantin Bax

Artist’s Note: “…For Mercy has a human heart, Pity a human face, and Love, the human form divine, and Peace the human dress…” —William Blake 

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