Acid Art History

Blotter Art is a term that refers to the artwork that liquid LSD is dropped onto. The artwork is printed onto “blotter” paper and then perforated into tiny squares or “hits,” which can be torn apart into easy to manage quantities. In the 1960s, when LSD was legal, it was distributed in large pills, sometimes called “barrels” because of their shape. It was also sold on anything from sugar cubes to animal crackers. Dealers began to want their “batch” of LSD to be recognizable from the others, so they began to invent ways to trademark their acid. The chemists would make the pills a certain shape or color as to set them apart from others, especially if they were packaging particularly potent dosages. This also served as a form of a validation of authenticity, proving that the dealers were not selling fake LSD. As a bonus, the dealers would get a kick out of the buzz created by their “brand” of acid.

Sometime after LSD became illegal, mandatory minimum sentencing was set into place. These laws placed mandatory sentences on drug offenders based on the weight of the substances with which they were caught. Therefore a drug dealer busted with one dose of acid on a sugar cube that weighed 1 gram would get the same sentence as a dealer caught with 1 gram of LSD crystal, which would represent about 10,000 doses of LSD! It didn’t take a genius to figure out that a new, lightweight, medium for distributing LSD was needed. In comes Blotter Art: In the 1960’s

Blotter Acid began to make an appearance on the streets as far back as 1967 in the UK and in USA a little later. Shortly after, iconic images began to make their way onto the Blotter Paper, which allowed dealers to put their own logo on the acid they were selling. The logo could have been professionally printed or have been a rubber stamp of some freaky image. Not only did this serve to identify a brand of acid, but by using Blotter Paper, which weighed far less than other mediums, it kept drug dealers who got busted from getting as much mandatory time.

Mark McCloud from San Francisco was busted twice for collecting blotter art and was thankfully acquitted both times. Mark easily has the largest collection of street blotters in the world and it’s a wonderful thing to behold. Today, Blotter Art is finally a highly collectable form of artwork. It transcended the underground drug market long ago and is available to art lovers worldwide. It’s not illegal, it’s ART! Celebrating the days gone by when we were younger and our minds were still blooming. We no longer have to use an illegal substance to take a “trip,” even if it is down memory lane.