Psilocybin and Art
January 29, 2021
Hi Allyson, 

I have been making a living as an artist for 20 years now. I have my own gallery and mostly sell landscapes of the island in Maine where I live or commissioned portraits. I love the figure and feel that's my strongest work.  I want to do something different. I am at a loss as to how to use psychedelics and art. When you paint, are you taking them at the time or do you wait and record visions after. Do you or Alex ever do psychedelic workshops? I admire you both and love your work.

Ask Allyson Image
Art by Alex Grey
Dear Allison,

Psychedelics, including psilocybin, are still illegal in the state of New York. We once had a group experience in Bali where psilocybin was sold legally. We have shared the sacrament in countries where ayahuasca is legal or tolerated without interference. 

When engaging in sacrament, we keep a journal handy for note taking and sketching. In general, we do not find the full immersion into the psychedelic state to be conducive to art making. Low doses of ayahuasca have sometimes allowed us to close our eyes, check colors and patterns and then open our eyes to work. Within the psychedelic experience, for the most part, I personally sense the separation, like a meniscus wall, between the experience of ultimate unity and the rational mind decisions and mechanical control needed to craft cohesive material evidence of that inner world. Although we’ve had an interesting drawing occur on the tale end of a journey, we mostly do what we can to bring back the visions with cannabis or on the natch.

If Alex & I are journeying, lying on the bed, not talking or touching, floating in the zone of the vast vista, witnessing the fountains and drains of multi-colored light energy — and I say softly, “How you doing?”, I can see the symbols of the words I am saying, penetrating a meniscus, like letter shaped droplets, breaking waves in the invisible liquid wall between us. If I stay silent and tune into Alex, I can see and feel the same visions that, upon returning, he claims to have seen and felt. Psilocybin legalization and decriminalization is occurring in some places in this world and many will benefit and be so grateful as psychedelic use in a safe setting and sacred context becomes more widely accepted. 

Thanks for your question and congratulations on your success as an artist on an island of Maine. Sounds exquisite.


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