Art on Drugs

It’s no secret that, for some artists, drugs are a part of their creative process. WSN picked the brains of a handful of artists at NYU where this was the case:


“When I’m faded, I think less about what I need to make and I just do what instinct or intuition would tell me to do naturally. Where I am determines what tone I’ll be shooting. Being from [the Mountain States] taught me how to shoot landscapes, and living in New York taught me how to shoot urban landscapes, so now the two just come together wherever I shoot.”



“Hands down, dropping acid was one of the best things I’ve ever done for my art. I’m a very visual person, so that experience really helped me understand colors in a new way. I felt like, all of a sudden, I was free from thinking about what colors are supposed to go together, and I was able to look at color with a sense of clarity. Acid also helped me understand other people and my relationships to them. I tripped with people I really cared about, and my work since has been trying capture the beauty and energy that acid helped me see in them.”



“After dropping acid, I re-discovered my love for watercolors. It was my first time working with the medium in a while, as I often sketch in pen or pencil. However, picking up the brush again was easy. During the trip, I had a different understanding of the relationships between colors. Instead of having to think about what colors to use in a piece, I could easily blend the tones that felt like they belonged together. I felt as if I could see the colors I wanted on a larger scale, and I could feel the temperature of the tones that I worked with.”


“Gallery-hopping whilst dazed is an experience in itself. On my particular field trip to a cluster of galleries dotting the streets of Dumbo, my intuition of complete concentration was hazed yet the sensation of perceiving the vivid colors and textures of the works was intensified. In a warped, inexplicable way, shapes seemed to sharpen into high-definition and hover into space as 3-D objects. The colors and lines blended together into an immense puddle of hues and seemed to embrace me from every wall in all directions. An experience truly uncanny yet equally fascinating, I felt utterly immersed physically and psychologically in this visual, sensational experience.”

A version of this article appeared in the Monday, Oct. 17 print edition. Email Grace Halio at [email protected]