Monday, December 15, 2008

Drawing on Drugs

The following is a gallery of drawings (and stories) created under the influence of something other than direct creative impulse. Initiated by an early reading of The Doors of Perception, Aldous Huxley’s book-length essay on his experiences with drug-enhanced creativity, I’ve always taken note of such encounters with the overtly-stimulated mind, episodes of ultra-consciousness that seem to compress both time and space, to varying degree, offering the faculties of my brain an ageless retreat, moments out of step with their place in history, realities where clouds race across the sky and clock hands are stuck eternally between the seconds.

Hash (Hashish), early winter, 1996

This sketchbook page of obsessively compulsive, many-eyed mousetrap physiologies was crafted while occupying the visitor’s couch in the mixing room of Stu Hallerman’s Avast! Recording Studios, an appearance that had me monitoring the creation of the initial batch of singles from Seattle’s cartoon-powered kings of “pussy rock”,
The Action Suits, the star vehicle for Peter “Hate” Bagge, Eric “Slime” Reynolds, and Andy “Salad” Schmidt, now members of Can You Imagine?, Fox Hollow, and Hank Adams, respectively. Its serpentine, perpetually-budding trajectory is simply a charged amplification of my normal Byzantine thought patterns.

Magic Mushrooms (Psilocybian), summer, 1995

This madly-animated series of scrawls was the result of a leap into “Wonderland” with a few good friends, a house-bound adventure that began with me caressing an old Aretha Franklin LP on the porch and ended with me hopelessly lost in a downward spiral of paranoia. Between those extremes, I found myself in the basement, sitting before a tape recorder, explaining the metaphysical mysteries of the present tense, while frantically scribbling these fiendishly-eyed faces, creations that appeared to be winking and leering back at me as I drew them.

Acid (Lysergic acid diethylamide), winter, 1982

This ludicrously carnal doodle was applied to the margin of an art school notebook, more a reflection of my sheer boredom with the lecture on art history than a result of my first taste of the notorious psychedelic. Nevertheless, I must credit that Mickey Mouse blotter with what is certainly one of the very best things I will ever draw, even if the rest of the experience is a complete blank, ending how and where I can never remember, a situation I’m quite sure the Die Brucke impressionists would readily relate to.

Pot (Cannibas sativa), spring, 1977

This sophomoric and judiciously overwrought piece of fantasy writing, along with its primal-colored pencil illustration, were both a page of an issue of Firefox, the world’s weirdest hero, one of my many teenage creations, a stable of derivative characters that peopled the DJ Comics Group. It was fashioned at the tail end of my very first introduction to the universally-popular recreational and medicinal psychoactive, a baptismal journey that began on the waterbed of a custom van owned by a real-life hippie. Between that fairly cool start, and the rather lame werewolf conclusion, the experience entailed my twelve year-old self wandering the neighborhood aimlessly, until I found myself suddenly having to empty my bowels, which I did by squatting on the green of a country club golf course. A hole in one, by any other definition.

Diet Pepsi (caffeine, aspartame), early summer, 1973

This example of endearingly violent childhood literature was created soon after my very first pizza party, an affair that offered each child present a bucket-sized container of the sugarless cola. This low-calorie charge was accompanied by the crack! and pow! theatrics of an old, black and white Captain Marvel serial, the two stimulants combining to form a work of gruesome gothic grandeur that clearly puts Edgar Allen Poe to shame, to say nothing of the accompanying illustration, which surely gives Joan Miro a run for his non-conventional money. Or perhaps it’s Cathy Guisewite.