Life through the Lysergic Lens


An awed golden-skinned woman in space, with a red galaxy for hair, holds aloft another galaxy in her hand, which falls away into dust.


This is my oldest psychedelic work, and naturally that makes it the most concrete. I hadn’t yet developed my smudging-heavy style, but still wanted to communicate a sense of naturalist awe, even if this one is more cosmic rather than just personal in scope.

The techniques I used for making this were based in more standard painting, without the trippier flair I put into my later work. The woman was painted from reference, though in painting her I altered her expression to be more curious and awe-struck, with the hand and arm being from separate references. I think the hand is my own (I do that a lot), but I can’t remember!

The left-most galaxy came half from reference—I think M64, the so-called “Black Eye Galaxy”—and half from my imagination, as I wanted it to flow in a fluidic shape out of the side of her face, as though the core serves as her ear, and to have a closely connected companion. The smaller “galaxy” I concepted as a forming solar system, hence its cloudier construction and more heavenly colors. The first indications of my smudging style show up there, too, though they’re fairly subtle and centered on creating the impression that the solar system is flowing out of her control.