An artist from the '50s had a really hard time drawing faces high on LSD

An artist from the '50s had a really hard time drawing faces high on LSD

VicesJuly 27, 2018 By Brian Frederick

You may or may not have known, but research and unsanctioned experiments done with illicit drugs have been going on for a long, long time.

And nothing was more intriguing to people back in the day than LSD, then a revolutionary new molecule that seemed to open doors of the mind which lead to new avenues of understanding a fleeting consciousness. The CIA had a ton of fun with it, too, dosing unsuspecting subjects and recording it in controversial trials such as Project MKUltra and others. Rogue scientists were also heavily in the game — one in particular where over 100 artists were asked to draw someone (believed to be Dr. Oscar Janiger, a pioneering LSD researcher) as acid kicked in and grew stronger. 

The results of which are pubicly available to "oooh" and "ahhh" over at your convenience.

20 Minutes After First Dose

"Condition normal ... no effect from the drug yet," the anonymous artist explains.
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85 Minutes After First Dose (And 20 Minutes After a Second Dose is Given)

"I can see you clearly ... so clearly. This ... you ... it's all ...I'm having a little trouble controlling this pencil. It seems to want to keep going."
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2 Hours and 30 Minutes

Outlines seem normal, but very vivid — everything is changing color. My hand must follow the bold sweep of the lines. I feel as if my conciousness is situated in the part of my body that's now active — my hand, my elbow ... my tongue."
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2 Hours 32 Minutes

"I'm trying another drawing. The outlines of the model are normal, but now those of my drawings are not. The outline of my hand is going weird, too. It's not a very good drawing, is it? I give ... I'll try again."
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2 Hours 35 Minutes

I'll do a drawing in one flourish ... without stopping ... one line, no break!
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2 Hours 45 Minutes

"I am ... everything is ... changed ... they're calling ... your face ... interwoven ... who is ..."
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4 Hours 25 Minutes 

This will be the best drawing, like the first one, only better. If I'm not careful, I'll lose control of my movements, but I won't, because I know. I know."
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5 Hours 45 Minutes

"I think it's starting to wear off. This pencil is mighty hard to hold."
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8 Hours

"I have nothing to say about this last drawing. It is bad and uninteresting. I want to go home now."

[originally published December 27, 2017]