Kushstone Gallery




Psychedelic Art


No art on earth made by human hands compares to psychedelic imagery made by the human brain

The importance of the opening of the timeless, cross-cultural mental world of fantastic imagery that psychedelics releases, is still essentially lost to Art History


The Art World passed up the psychedelic art movement at the time it was happening coinciding with the Counterculture generation of the '60's and '70's because of the illegal drug association with psychedelic art. The psychedelic art movement was never given the public exposure that Pop Art received. Later, "Visionary" art was accepted into galleries, having cleaned up the psychedelic stigma, but psychedelic art was and still is a unique phenomenon in the world of art. Psychedelic art reflected real visions seen in altered states of consciousness. Psychedelic art connected modern Western Civilization art with art and designs seen in thousands of ancient Oriental religious paintings and sculptures as well as Pre-Colombian New World art motifs. The connection is deep in the subconscious of the human mind.


The Hidden Art World of Psychedelic Imagery


Psychedelic visions are incredibly powerful. As an artist with a passable knowledge of art produced around the world, I can honestly say psychedelic visions put all human made art works to shame. The visions are tremendously complex and detailed, they are in constant motion, constantly changing, and they are in 3-D. Only computer generated art can hold a candle to the infinitely detailed complexity and endless variety of psychedelic visions. My Ariel Salome painting below represents only a brief glimpse, a still from of a psychedelic vision that was in constant motion. Psychedelic imagery is precise, there are no fuzzy lines, it is is amazing how the human brain can produce these fantastically complex images without the slightest error in animation of hard-edged forms. To me, comparing my painting to the actual imagery I saw behind my eyes is like comparing an early 1860's Matthew Brady Civil War black and white photograph with the latest super-cinemascope movie, the imagery is that beyond my or anyone's current ability to reproduce it. The movie Avatar in 3-D has some imagery, the dragon fighting scenes in 3-D, that comes the closest to reproducing the complexity and color variations seen in psychedelic visions I have had.


The Krell Machine


In the old 1956 Sc-Fi movie Forbidden Planet there was a machine said to be left over from a previous ancient civilization, the Krell, which could transform mental thoughts into holographic entities for display and for the movie's dramatic plot, into actual manifestations, a progression that eventually released the "ID" in these people's minds and produced physical monsters that did the Krell people in. Art in the future may be done with some sort of Krell machine that can transfer psychic visions seen only in the mind of the artist into visual images projected onto holographic screens so that others can marvel at the amazing art the human brain is capable of producing all by itself under psychedelic enhancement and "without human hands". For millennia only a few visionary prone people were able to see these images. With a Krell machine everyone can see them. Because I've seen literally thousands of these amazing psychedelic images as they often accompany my nightly cannabis intoxication, I long ago lost my zeal for trying to paint them. I just cannot compete with what I've seen behind my eyes. No artist can but it really will take something like the Krell Machine for most others to see and understand the art works that exist in museums and galleries are only scratching the surface of what the human mind can produce. See more about this in the Krell Project page.

I've lost quite a few paintings through the years. Family can be deadly to artists and writers as can weather. My grandmother threw out all my childhood pictures when I went off to college. Three pictures were stolen from a theatre lobby showing. Others suffered mildew rot while we lived in the dampness of Oregon. Still others just "disappeared" over the 55+ years or so that I've been producing art . But I can't say I've ever been prolific in artwork production. I'm waiting for that Krell Machine where my real talent for being a prolific psychedelic visionary could bring the world sight of that still mostly hidden but vastly superior visual world of mental art imagery. While I can draw and paint realistically I don't really enjoy it. What I do enjoy is being able to "dance" with line form and colors, to create a visual dance using abstract art and yes, cartoons. I naturally gravitated to cartooning as I do possess a sense of humor, warped though it may be.

I was the staff cartoonist for our high school paper and remember one of my cartoons being censored for disrespecting Columbus Day. I had Columbus and the Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria all sailing off the edge of the world, cascading down the precipice that awaited them. In my brief student days at U.C. Berkeley I managed to join the cartoon staff of The Pelican, U.C. Berkeley's humor magazine. In high school I was predicted to work for MAD magazine and in my early youthful search for employment I actually did trot around to Disney Studios and some other big cartoon studios only to find out it was pretty much in-house hiring and not much turnover. Besides, I disliked doing consecutive cartoon panels, always more into cartoons as abstract art, why would you want a Picasso painting as a series of cartoon characters? Because it would be neat, cool, to see. Still, cartoon series was not for me. From early admiration for Salvador Dali and his incredible detailed paintings I saw for myself at an open museum art show featuring a Dali work that close up you could see his pencil sketching mistakes under the glitz of imagery. From surrealism to DADA, a mixture of MAD magazine and loony-tunes who would suspect a dedicated social change activist and even a religious visionary and prophecy bearer was hiding in me? God does have a sense of humor, a warped one but what the hey..

Below are some of my earliest cartoon characters that I eventually wanted to see made as plush toys* like "Fwows". I was around 13 when I invented Fwows as a whole series of characters. There's another character from about that time: the Pocket Thesaurus. I loved dinosaurs as a kid decades before they became popular through the Jurassic Park movies. It was a difficult choice for my college major; it wouldn't be art but a decision between paleontology and anthropology with anthropology winning out - - until I dropped out of Berkeley and a career in science and then dropped out of a promising career in art to save the world.


 Earliest Cartoons



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                           Fwow (1958)                                                                                                         Pocket Thesaurus (1958)


* Also see Divine Design Toys


Missing are my early paintings done as a teenager which my grandmother, bless her heart, took from her garage where I was storing them and threw them out with the trash while I was away at college. Sometimes families can be disastrous to creative people's works.


Psychedelic influence


Here are some of my earliest proto-psychedelic cartoons from around 1961-'62 that started to show influence of psychedelic substances on my cartoon style. Obviously, according to my conservative father and his Evangelical kin, I had fallen into anti-social behavior due to my going to that Commie U.C. Berkeley and dropping out to become one of those wretched Peace beatniks, no, I was too late for them and I was too early for Hippies. But regardless, I am stamped with the social turmoil that our generation faced with the unjust Vietnam War and its protest, plus that which we created ourselves, discovering and spreading psychedelic drug culture throughout America and turning American values upside down but quite briefly it turned out. America only returned from the Vietnam War debacle sicker than before. The Counterculture failed. It couldn't do it, could not bring the social revolution in that we knew America needed so badly but that's another long story in my other life as a social change organizer...perhaps I should have stuck to art...anyway, some early days of psychedelic cartoons.






        Dawn Crucified (circa 1961-62)


Below are later examples of my psychedelic cartoon drawing and painting art style; with a few representational pieces included. From drawings above I graduated to paintings aiming for a gallery show. It never happened as I dropped out of the art world after being radicalized by resisting the Vietnam War and channeling my creative energy into social change organizing.


Peyote Wheel


In 1965 while attending Los Angeles City College in a Theatre Arts class where we had to give a presentation on some topic that really interested us, I created and presented a "Peyote Wheel". Attempting to duplicate psychedelic visions I created this mechanical wheel device with light projection capacity that featured rotating discs on which I had painted simple designs in repetition. The discs were to move at different speeds and different directions which in turn made the projected psychedelic imagery on the discs intersect in interesting ways. Fellow classmate and presenter was Tally Coppola, my friend at the time who was to go on to become known as Talia Shire of the Rocky movie series and of course, her famous brother, Francis Ford Coppola, the director of the Godfather series. Years later I tried to get Francis to help me do a documentary film about the Paxcalibur Story but he wasn't interested. I did produce a screenplay, well, half a screenplay thus far, WORD, which is linked below.


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A slide of my Phoenix picture is all that's left of my Leggo Trilogy series. I had all three Leggo pictures stolen, taken right off the walls from the Cinema Theatre in Hollywood where my 3 minute animation film, "Vu", was shown there as part of an experimental film makers series in 1966.  


Compare Pop Art to Psychedelic Art




                             Roy Litchenstein: "M-Maybe" 1965                                 Stephen A Lewis: "Too Big for Words" 1965


Litchenstein's "M-Maybe" sold for $95.4 million at Christie's auction in 2015. Which cartoon painting exhibits something New in cartoon artwork and which exploits a gimmick, like all Pop Art works do? Yet it is the Pop Artists who got and still get all the big bucks while Psychedelic Art still languishes and suffers from the obsession of gallery owners and art museum curators to milk Pop Art for every dollar they can possibly extract for decades now even though Pop Art was always derivative, always a commercialization of the old DADA movement's pioneering common commercial objects as art. Roy Litchenstein's cartoon paintings are especially offensive because Roy was a plagiarist and while he made millions off his work, the cartoonists whose cartoons he plagiarized without attribution got zero. Lately, one museum is trying to sell Andy Warhol as a secret Catholic saint? I'm sorry but the Art World does suck and it was these awful "art people" in galleries and museums who I couldn't stand, the ones who directed the public away from real innovation in art and towards super-hyping artistic banality.



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      Samurai Fast Action (1965)                                                                                    'Maximillian' (1967)


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                                                           Leggo-painting #4 (1968)


Crucifixion (1968)

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    (poor photo image shows painting composed of the words of the late '60's folksinger Phil Oakes' song "Changes")


The Ariel Lome painting (1975)


In the year 1999 this painting fell when a large screw on which it was hung had worked loose over the years. The upper right hand quadrant was damaged. A fairly substantial hole was punched through the Formica-board on which this acrylic painting was painted. Not knowing a thing about painting restoration and too poor to even consider hiring an expert I didn't know what to do as it was impossible for me to reproduce the original parts of the painting where there was now a jagged hole. I thought of dividing the painting up into quadrants and excluding the damaged one but that was too drastic.

What to do.. I've never gone back and repaired or changed a painting and also I've also moved on in my painting style preferring to do texture paintings now over hard-edged flat ones. Well, "It's meant to be", I said to myself and proceeded to begin a new phase of this painting's life by filling in the damaged area with semi-amorphous texture images. When it was finished it was no longer the "Ariel Lome" painting of 1975 but the "Ariel Salome" painting of the year 2000.




Native America seems to be in my blood and shows up in my art and my activist work. I've spent decades in what's called "Indian Country" by activists working with tribal peoples. When I traveled to the Holy Land I found that the land there and also in Europe where I had a 12 hour lay over in Germany, too "foreign" to me, definitely not my homeland. I am an American and think about things from an American point of view.


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The Whale (1976)



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                                        Martin Luther King poster (1986)                                                Redwood Lily (1989)   



Returning to Art in 2022


It's somewhat ironic that after a hiatus of decades from making new paintings I return to psychedelic art work determine to follow one of the first techniques I explored, texture paintings, that I was doing as a young artist in the 1960's alongside of my usual hard-edged psychedelic cartoon style. I made texture paintings out of sawdust and cereals mixed with house paints, spray paints, and varnish. Incredible results sometimes happened with the varnishes chemically interacting violently with the cheap spray paints, colors underneath would burst through cracks and craters, it was great. Unfortunately, I've lost all that early work. It didn't survive my tumultuous early years before settling down to marriage in 1965. But it was in these experimental days where I and my psychedelic artist friend of many years, Roger De Shon, saw that there was a definite psychedelic art divide happening between hard-edged psychedelic art and soft-edged psychedelic art.


Hard-edged and Soft-edged Psychedelic Art


Coming from a cartoonist background I naturally painted in the hard-edged style as seen in most of my pictures posted here in the Kushstone Gallery but the texture pictures I did early on circa 1962-65 were all soft-edged. Then I returned to hard-edged once again in 1993 with the painting shown below only to be dissatisfied with the forms I had created so I bathed the whole hard-edged painting in paint remover and started adding paint blobs here and there and then spray painting the whole thing with the results seen below.


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      Phantom Wanderers (1993)


Hard-edged psychedelic art is where the artist more or less dictates the forms the viewers sees while in soft-edged psychedelic art, the viewer's psychedelically enhanced brain forms the images the viewer sees. I like the viewer formed soft-edged psychedelic paintings better now because they're far more conducive to visual variations that each person sees, no two alike. Btw,

I'm Back!


Just turned 79 today, February 11th, 2023 and I'm back as an Artist after decades of social, environmental, and spiritual change writing and project organizing. I am currently exploring new possibilities of my old soft-edged epoxy resin embedded painting technique to create a three dimensional effect to my new Soft-edged psychedelic painting style. See the picture below:



The new technique requires a studio where I can ventilate the fumes which is my next hurdle after finding affordable housing. Oh well, after I sell my hard-edged psychedelic masterpiece, the Ariel Salome painting, for gazillions of dollars I'll be able to make my own Kushstone Castle with a real Studio, (I've only had one in my life and used it to create my Ariel Lome > Salome painting), and live happily ever after. And finally escape the Curse of the Landlords, that ancient plague on humanity ever since private property was invented by the Devil. Speaking of which, let me introduce:


Roger De Shon


My life-long friend and fellow master psychedelic artist who has produced some of the most amazing pictures and one fantastic metal sculpture to be found in the whole Psychedelic Art Movement. Here are some of Roger's works, a series of Roger's psychedelic Durėr style pen & ink drawings like this one below:



Roger De Shon




This piece fascinates me because Roger has managed to capture the type of behind-the-eyes psychedelic visions I frequently have with cannabis intoxication. I see these rows of almost letters but not really that run like moving type faces across the screen of my interior vision. Roger's metal sculpture is unique, never seen anything quite like it as he has reproduced a type of psychedelic hallucination I've seen many a time but have yet to see it outside my own mind or Roger's piece above.


Psychedelic Snobs


Although a full veteran of the psychedelic '60's, I and most of my friends were not what you'd call heavily into these drugs as happened with less educated but far more prevalent "far out" hippies. Because we had a chemist student among our group we became guinea pigs for his mescaline, psilocybin, and other psychedelics but we didn't crash and burn on any of it although I found out the hard way I could only tolerate low doses of LSD. This was early days in '62-'65. Because I am a natural visionary person, an artist at age seven able to draw realistic birds and trees, flowers, people's faces, while other kids were making lollypop trees and stick figures, when I first took peyote it propelled my brain into a fantastic visual world, one with incredibly precise imagery constantly in motion, in 3-D and in those early days mostly like ancient Indian architecture of dancing gods and goddesses by the hundreds dancing within cubicles and all dancing differently yet the whole image was completely synchronized.


Each Psychedelic drug produces its signature imagery


It's funny but each different hallucinogen has its own imagery "candle power" and speed of animation as well as types of images. Cannabis imagery is the weakest in light intensity, it is dark mostly although it has the same capacity for astonishing detail. Any type of image is able to come up. Cannabis imagery speed is the fastest one oddly enough, peyote the slowest. LSD the very brightest of them all and at "regular" 200 micrograms it loosened up a horror show of sensory overload in me. I could not see straight as there was so much hallucinatory imagery overlaying everything I could only shut my eyes to the confused imagery but it was the same thing behind my eyes. Low doses were ok, but all in all eight, maybe ten psychedelic trips in ten or fifteen years? The other experimental drugs were just one time events for each and neither alcohol or downers have ever been agreeable to me, alcohol taste reminds me of ether and I find it weird people actually like the stuff. No nicotine, no coffee, I'm a light-weight in drug ingestion, except I am a long-term (62 years now) of cannabis and most definitely feel cannabis intoxication enhances everything sensory and aids in spiritual consciousness--for me. Everyone's different so I don't demand others follow my example although because it is a comparatively light drug usage schedule, I think most Americans could do worse and do do worse.



Another one of my lost paintings circa 1968, this one "Steve carrying a large parrot (according to Roger), actually a bag of groceries into my futuristic domicile with a psychedelic sky above.



Spiritually inspired visions


The two spiritual visions, the Ship of Light and the Vision of Christ Josephine, were actually in motion when I saw them so it was not technically possible for me to paint them. Actually, I don't have the technical skill to do them justice even as stopped motion pictures. So they remain verbal pictures until perhaps some day they can be made into digital animation motion pictures.


Paxcalibur, Sword of Peace


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Paxcalibur on the bank of the Jordan River



The Ship of Light


The Ship of Light is a painting in motion of a ship in the shape of Noah's Ark except that it's sides are not made of gopher wood but gemstones set in twelve rows following the order of gemstones in found in Rev 21:19,20 for the description of the foundation stones of New Jerusalem.

The Ship of Light has two masts which are tall trees like redwoods, one symbolizing the Tree of Knowledge and the other, the Tree of Life. The trees are the Ship's masts and sails. At the helm of the Ship of Light's twelve spoke wheel stand Christ Jesus and Christ Josephine with arms around each other as they steer the Ship of Light down from the sky into a sheltered cove where thousands of people await its arrival.



The Vision of Christ Josephine


In the vision Josephine is walking determinedly but with a smiling face as she marches through a fierce blizzard snow in a bright moonlit night. She is in buckskins and wears quivers of corn and grains and holds sunflowers in her left hand. In her right hand she holds the reins attached to a large white buffalo as she leads him through the blizzard. No snow covers her--it is as if an invisible bubble surrounds her as she marches through the blizzard.

Over her shoulder a full moon shines through the storm. And behind her as she guides the buffalo the snow disappears leaving an ever-widening swath of growing green grass, flowers, fruit trees, and animals and birds of all kinds. In the distance behind her and the buffalo the dawn is beginning with the sun just beginning to rise above the horizon in a cloudless sky.


Other religious imagery


The Rainbow Bible


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The Biomystical Cross

The woman's symbol turned upside down


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The Biomystical Cross foreshadowed both Paxcalibur and my finding the ankh symbolism in the New Testament


The 11:11 Cross: The Full Moon in the center of the Cross 

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Seen through my screened window Easter evening 1998.


The screen diffracted the moon's image into a perfect cross which has symbolic meaning in my religious visions--the moon symbolizing the forgotten Goddess or Female aspect of the Holy One of Heaven and Earth. Also see my painting "Crucifixion" in the Kushstone Gallery pages where I subconsciously (before my religious awakening in 1979) put an image of a woman on the stylized flying bird cross facing the inset of Jesus. Upon seeing Tibetan blue moonstones for sale at a garage sale not long ago, I visualize one of these blue moonstones at the center of the 11:11 Cross.

9-11 happened three years later.


Flying Heart Owl: The Sufi Flying Heart plus the Biomystical Cross

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Some earlier works


Clara (circa 1961)

Actually still have this little gem. Well, what can I say..it's Clara. Read for yourself and wonder how a mind that wrote that also writes social change programs and even gospels? Well, they do say God works in mysterious ways but, come on, all seriousness aside as another Steve once said, this is how you save the world? On the other hand, maybe it's good God has a sense of humor this time around, warped though it appears to be. That old Bible God certainly seemed devoid of it.


Texture Paintings: (circa 1965-67)

They're all gone, a half dozen or so early texture paintings where I experimented mixing together house paints, varnishes, cereals like cheerios, corn meal, and the wondrous effects of one type of cheap spray paint Sears used to make but no longer. Amazing things happened when I mixed these ingredients together as texture paintings. But in one jealous temper tantrum this foolish artist destroyed all these early texture works. Now, returning to art, I am doing texture painting again only this time coupling it with psychedelic imagery.


Animation film: "Vu" (1967)

A three minute experimental animation film using the negative of a rather amateurish student movie, spaghetti monster original exposed film stock that I painted over and then spray-painted, coated and sealed, where applied overlays created rainbow snow-like dots on the screen that to the viewer's eye automatically synchronized with the Beatles tune Tomorrow Never Knows that I used as a score for the film. "Vu" was shown twice in the Cinema Theatre in Hollywood as part of an experimental student film series.


Music: The New Cool School (1967)

A proto-punk rock singing and instrumental duet with my friend Roger on clarinet and me on piano and neither one of us knowing how to play our instruments worth beans. Unexpectedly and miraculously we clicked in synch with each other and it sounded so good hearing our recording that we got the tape played on Peter Bergman's Fire Sign Theatre on KPFA public radio in 1967. Unfortunately, that tape among several others were stolen many years later so unless Peter Bergman has a recording of it it's lost to history.



Not really a dedicated poet, sorta like my art work in that way which suffered deprivation because of my social change activism overriding artistic creation; still I did produce a few poems early on.


On-going art projects



Screenplay based on my Futurescope concept of using word counts as a means of predicting future events. In the movie a young grad student inventing a future predicting system using word counting. Then Google came along providing a word counting service but Google never understood the potential of such a system. I still want to finish and do WORD someday when I'm rich and famous after I've saved the world.


Kushstone Review

With a layout and editorial mindset like the old Psychedelic Review, Roger and I plan a periodical devoted to psychedelics and psychedelic art. We will do this some day we've been telling ourselves now for years and Kushstone Review still hasn't a single article.











Kushstone Review