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Psychedelic Art

History - Psychedelic Art

In San Francisco during the Psychedelic sixties, ca 1965 thru 1972, Blaise Domino produced a body of work consisting of very detailed pen and ink drawings. From one of these images, “Soul Print,” he designed a black and white textile from which he fashioned overstuffed pillows, wall hangings, a jumpsuit, pants and a jacket. With the fabric being printed in Los Angeles and the clothes manufactured in San Francisco, he was ready to launch into the world of fashion. With prototypes in hand, he took eager orders from the hippest boutiques, Carnaby Street, Zanadu and others, ranging from Haight Street and Polk Street to North Beach.

Concomitantly, he was displaying two drawings at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in a program called The Rental Gallery, in which business people could rent art that was sanctioned by the museum and display it in their offices. The proceeds went to the artist.

With his acceptance by the museum, he felt encouraged to present his entire collection of pen and ink drawings to secure his own show. Young, dumb and arrogant as they come, he failed to understand that the museum didn’t grant private shows to unknown artists, no matter how good the were. Instead, “his show” was given to Peter Max, who was already famous.

He expressed his disappointment by stopping all fine art endeavors. Before leaving town for Aspen, however, he held his own show in a three story Victorian Hippy House that he painted all white to look like a presentable gallery. There was a carriage house in the backyard where live music played. It was a fun event and he actually sold some drawings.

In Aspen, he started using his artistic ability to make a living by designing resort maps showing ski runs and buildings. This evolved into Official Hawai’I State Transportation maps and eventually into Historical Cartography.

In 2004, Blaise went back to his first love and unfinished works from the sixties. His old hippy dance freak friend, renowned San Francisco defense attorney J Tony Serra, sponsored an art show in his offices on Broadway in North Beach. It was a very cool event with great live music, food, refreshments and some very hip people.

Creative Process

"Going back to the original drawings from forty years ago was an adventure a long time in the making. How would I add color? The images were scanned and digitized, then were enlarged and silk-screened onto Masonite or giclee printed on canvas. These canvases were then painted with acrylic and fluorescent paint. The addition of color adds a kind of corporeal quality. While negative and positive space, both convex and concave, read as before, people often see certain sexual elements, which I did not put in there consciously."

When vieweing these works for the first time, one might ask if the artist was stoned on LSD while making the drawings, but Blaise is quick to add that he was not.

“When tripping, I couldn’t do anything, I could only be. The creative impetus was the result of the Psychedelic Experience, not something that I did during. I may have smoked pot while drawing but it was irrelevant since in the act of doing the work, I was already in an altered state of ecstasy."

Amother comment often voiced is that he must have gone crazy, crafting so much intensely detailed work. His reply is that “I would have gone crazy had I not done the work.” Blaise goes on to explain about the role of Psychedelic drugs in the creative process. Apparently, the expanded consciousness experience released a new, more subtle insert:

“When I was born for the first time, it was into a three dimensional world in which rocks were hard and the illusion of solidity was perceived to be reality. Then I was reborn into the realm of expanded consciousness through taking mind expanding drugs, not unlike those employed by spiritual seekers of most cultures throughout human history. Suddenly, rocks were no longer hard but rather energy transforming itself from moment to moment. It suddenly became clear that wat Albert Schweitzer referred to as ‘a reverence for life’ was the perception that all of existence is living interconnectedness in the here and now.”

“Similarly, my drawings unconsciously came into being in an ongoing organic visual process mimetic of the recreating manifest world itself. The same shapes, movements and geometric designs that exist in nature can be found in these drawings.”

Blaise further expands on this idea. “Reoccurring patterns in my art as well as in the organic execution in which they were fashioned suggest a similarity found in physics. As fractal logarithm software makes an image more realistic by influencing pixilation, the desire to recreate universal markings that turn mistakes into organized structures, indicates order in a seemingly chaotic world.”

“As physic Werner Heidelberg theorizes, paraphrasing ‘what we study, we change,’ here we find in reverse. It is hoped that when viewing this work, a kind of remembering, a recognition of the subtle elements takes place. In this way, the viewer is acted upon in a moment of self-awareness and asks the question… am I the perceiver or the perceived?”

Theoretical Thought

“I have no message other than to express my unconscious connection with the deeper levels of being.” Blaise defines his Psychedelic Experience through art as “Perceptual Art” and describes it as “Moments of Becoming.” These two ideas are interwoven in the following way.

“I call this work ‘Perceptual Art’ because unlike Conceptual Art, which consciously seeks to reinterpret the world, here an unconscious process occurs. Simultaneously, the subject and the process represent a kind of unconscious perceiving.”

“It is not so much that these drawings are representations of vibrational hallucinations, but rather an expression of from where they originated.”

He describes these expressions as ‘Moments of Becoming’ in the following ways: “Again, it is a question of subject as process.”

Upon closer inspection, there appears to be signs and symbols, perhaps a kind of Cellular Rosetta Store. There is a universal arcane language seen here in repetitive designs that can be found in ancient cultures form the Americas and Middle East to Asia, ranging from the Mayans and Egyptians to Eskimos and Tibetans.

Blaise elaborates, “There are certain patterns that lend themselves to repetition. They act as designs, motifs, and also, contain ideas.”

“I have no message other than to express my unconscious connection with the deeper levels of being. Perhaps my viewers will recognize the joy, energy and love that went into these ‘Moments of Becoming.’”

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