Not surprisingly enough this movement has its roots in the hallucinations and psychotic behaviour associated with the youth and hippie subculture and drugs of the time.  Typically consisting of swirls on intense colour and curvilinear calligraphy that twisted and melted into shapes..

tumblr_m8tho4qhjj1r68b0fo1_1280The style was inspired by the baby boomer generation after the Second World War who questioned America’s materialism and conservative outlook, and the youth movement sought to create a society free from discrimination.  Sexual freedom, non-conformity, civil rights, the popular anti-Vietnam war groups, all contributed to this feeling of release.  Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Janis Joplin and many others became superstars overnight.   It is truly a unique art form which therefore found a lot of expression in band posters.

ba8cfd270972844c338c58b34c209991Wes Wilson was one of the leaders in this field, developing a psychedelic font which made the letters look as though they were melting or moving.  Victor Moscoso was a formally trained graphic designer who then used vibrating colours to give the impression of moving pictures.  This was achieved by taking strong colours from opposite ends of the spectrum and juxtaposing them.

Taking this a step further developed into op and pop art, where art emphasised the kitsch elements as a protest against the seriousness surrounding it.  Although popular because of the ease to understand it, many critics saw it as vulgar.  One of the most famous artists of the day was Andy Warhol and his silkscreens, erasing the barrier between popular and high culture.

Today fractal generating software gives an accurate depiction of these hallucinatory patterns.  Much to the dismay of the counter culturists this style was adopted by the very same corporations they rebelled against.



Psychedelic Art Movement . 2016. Psychedelic Art Movement . [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 01 February 2016].

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