The blog of author Dennis Cooper

Galerie Dennis Cooper presents … Works from Mark McCloud’s LSD Blotter Art Collection *

* (rerun)


‘After a two-week-long trial in federal court in Kansas City, Mo., San Francisco artist Mark McCloud — notorious in the annals of psychedelic art for his 25-year-long quest to compile a complete collection of LSD blotter art — was acquitted by a local jury of felony charges of conspiracy to distribute LSD. A guilty verdict could have carried a penalty of life in prison. Federal drug authorities spent millions in their effort to nail McCloud, 47, conducting phone taps, monitoring his mail and conducting surveillance from neighboring apartments before the SWAT-style raid by an FBI-DEA task force in early 2000. Police seized his collection of almost 400 framed LSD blotters, which range from a print of Peter Rabbit from the early 1970s to a recent example from Europe showing two lesbian aliens. Authorities also seized 33,000 sheets of McCloud’s own blotter art printed on rag paper. None of the material had any traces of the drug.

‘During the trial, assistant U.S. attorney Mike Oliver argued that McCloud used his role as an artist to distribute LSD through the country. McCloud’s attorney, Doron Weinberg of San Francisco, contended that McCloud wasn’t responsible for the use of his prints by others as a vehicle for illegal drugs. The case was tried in Kansas City because blotter paper linked to McCloud and impregnated with LSD was seized in a 1999 raid there. Among McCloud’s defense witnesses were New York art critic Carlo McCormick, who told the court that McCloud’s work is part of an American folk-art tradition. McCloud’s blotter art has been exhibited at Psychedelic Solution in New York and at the San Francisco Art Institute.’ — Artnet









from VICE


So Mark, you collect tabs of acid as artwork. Why?
Mark McCloud: This happened because I have an interest from my childhood in small, well-made things. When I was growing up in Argentina they put out these little books and the one I remember most clearly was called “Weaponry of the Second World War.” You would buy a stick of gum and inside would be all these little images to collect. We tried filling the books with them to entertain ourselves.

How old were you when you arrived in California?
Well, I was raised in Buenos Aires until I was 12 and then sent to a boarding school in Claremont. Two weeks after I got here, Frank Zappa’s Freak Out came out, just to place the time [meaning it was 1966]. So I became an American eighth grader reading The Doors of Perception and doing pot, then mescaline when that came on.

And how old were you when you discovered acid?
I was 13. It was in Santa Barbara at a very nice hotel on the beach. Me and a friend had our own cabin and we ordered some cubes from the Brotherhood of Eternal Love, which was Owsley [Stanley’s] outlet. The experience was very full-bodied even though I was nervous, and I just liked acid for its humility and educational effects. I was blind, but then I could see.

When did you start collecting it?
Oh, that was when the first imagery came out. See, when acid first came out it was just drops on paper. This was in 1968, and it was the first commercially available acid. It came out of New York City, and it was done by this great underground chemist called Ghost-may he rest in peace-and they were called five-by-twenties. They were five drops by 20 on a little card that was the same size as autochrome film, and it came out wrapped in Kodak packaging.

And when did the first illustrated tabs appear?
In the 70s. There’s a whole vignette of imagery that appears throughout that era, and it’s usually on sheets of paper the same size as an LP so they could ship it dressed as a record. The first sheets would have a single image that would be divided up into the tabs, usually in a single color. They quickly became individual pictures, though, with great detail.

And how did you come to start framing them?
Well that’s another question about my rebirth. See, I was a very difficult 17-year-old. Hendrix had just died, so I took 300 mikes of orangesSunshine, and basically the fabric I existed on changed. I vibrated myself out of this world and into a different thing, and that’s when I really started collecting. At first I was keeping them in the freezer, which was a problem because I kept eating them, but then the Albert Hofmann acid came out, and then I thought, Fuck, I’m framing this. That’s when I realized, Hey, if I try to swallow this I’ll choke on the frame.

So how did a guy with a freezer full of acid become an acid historian?
Well I was on the board of the San Francisco Art Institute, and to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Summer of Love I proposed that we do a show on the San Francisco acid guys. So we set up a big art show, and I exhibited the whole collection. And 1987 was still loose enough to have a huge acid party with everyone afterwards.





Sorcerer’s Apprentice

From: ´MarkMcClure (Sat Jun 10 18:39:11 2006)
Probably the best known blotter of all time. Allegedly dosed with Sandoz. Originally issued circa 1977. The ultimate psychedelic artifact.




From: Manager (Tue Feb 15 03:53:24 2005)
A four-way hit that was originally issued circa 1977. These pre-perfed beauties may be the first sigil on blotter. Magical!




From: Clown (Thu Jul 14 22:02:40 2005)
this photographic print depicts 1000 hits that were originally issued circa 2008.




From: Bunny (Tue Aug 12 15:56:33 2006)
This print depicts 44 hits that were originally issued circa 1976. One of the very first full color print, perfed pieces. This issue was cutting edge in its time.



OM Symbol

From: pimpdaz (Tue Oct 26 15:56:33 2004)
remember these very well, loved the stripey paper. we used to get these on a regular basis, the talk was they were supposedly double dipped etc. good trips though

From: gabbachris666 (Wed Nov 2 14:49:35 2005)

These were great in their day but they started to get weaker and more scummy. I remember hearing the double dip thing as well. They were lush though. The colours you saw were unique among acids I have taken. I wish the people would make some more.

From: sunnyaura (Thu Dec 1 16:35:05 2005)
Yeah , wish the chemist would treat us all again but sadly if he is as wise financially as chemically s/he will be long gone. i kept these for ages, wouldn’t sell one even for £25.One of the cleanest nicest trips ever..



Bicycle Ride 2000

From: stc (Sat Jun 18 05:22:53 2005)
i have take one of this and i had blaste my mind for many many hours!!!

From: pano (Thu Jul 28 11:44:49 2005)
They are very strong. about 500 mig!!! isn’t it???
good stuff but not very clean.
They are as strong as Fat Freedy or Tomato soup.
i had a full picture (25 blotters) in 2000

From: ´pauchislooo (Sat Jun 10 18:39:11 2006)
my best trip was one of this one, and the things i saw that day change my life completely, everyone should try them some time, uwuwuuwuwu i guarantee a lot of fun and smiles and trip for al least 12 hours.




From: monk (Fri Jul 21 22:35:39 2006)
well, i´m gonna try one of this tonight, lets see what happens!



Buddah Head

From: order? (Wed Mar 30 08:41:38 2005)
can someone help get those?robabra@hotmail.com

From: snitziel (Mon Jun 26 20:55:15 2006)
very strong had dinner with girl freinds family on it they just thought i was a happy person



Angelica from Rugrats

From: oz (Mon Sep 5 09:27:50 2005)
these were the worst trips i ever took. felt like adulterated, low quality. on really thin paper. not very strong. i didn’t get very high, but my jaw was still clenching.




From: Jason Emberson (Tue Feb 15 03:53:24 2005)
Simular to the fractles

From: HOLY SHIT! (Sat Dec 3 16:25:43 2005)
Alright so i ate 3 of these a few months ago and DAMN!!! I only got 20 so i didn’t have to many to save. I strongly suggest everyone go out and try a few of these…



Alien Twins

From: nick (Sun May 4 15:16:49 2003)
this is a 900 or 1000 sheet, had about 14 of these that partly makes up one Twin moderate 75 mcg year 1990

From: nick (Mon May 5 03:00:19 2003)
thick card paper



Red Rooster

From: AstreaL (Sat Jul 23 06:09:14 2005)
This was not so good acid !! It was very light, you should take up to 1 and even then, you ‘dnt be happy … 🙁




From: Jason Emberson (Tue Feb 15 03:56:16 2005)
don’t know. however this most definetly came from the makers of pink elephants and alice through the looking glass.




From: as i.d (Wed Jan 19 13:16:44 2005)
my first one.. belgium 1991..
great to see them again here !!

From: Jason Emberson (Tue Feb 15 03:58:09 2005)
Disturbingly interesting.

From: Aaron F (Fri Apr 28 10:55:40 2006)
There were loadz of these floatin around a sleepy dorset(u.k)village in early 90’s–blindin visuals, *&^^ing amazing…ppppick up a pppenguin!!

From: Swede (Sat May 6 08:49:50 2006)
Yea, we had some of them in Sweden around 95, and they were good ones, not that good as the Miraculix or Hoffmans that where here the same time, but better then the Buddhas, and alot of others.



Happy People

From: oz (Mon Sep 5 09:31:28 2005)
these were pretty good. very dependable. medium-strength. i did have one terrible trip on them though, but that was my fault, not the acid’s.

From: Magic Mad Hatter (Thu Jan 19 14:02:11 2006)
Those were my first hits in 1996!! I would say they were around 50 mics. Not that strong, but very clean und nice.

From: Panoramix… (Fri Jan 20 17:50:32 2006)
Had them in 1996 & again in 1998… Not bad… I’d say abt 100 mics…



Dragon (red)

From: tom noxx (Tue Nov 29 07:54:02 2005)
les meilleurs que j’ai connu avec les dragons verts.Oulalalahh , pousse toi de devant, man, ceux là ils déménagent.

From: Stagueve (Sun Mar 19 23:30:28 2006)
Jsuis d’accord rouge ou vert, une bonne claque en perspective !!! C’était du bon matos ;p

From: Digital Citizen (Wed Jun 21 09:09:21 2006)
Monkey Temple-Kathmandu-full-power-Momentous.




From: Canopus-49 (Mon Dec 19 16:07:42 2005)
Reaaaaaalllyyyyy psytrancer!!! Within a board like this we gonna through the interdimensional walls!!!




From: Ringer\’s Friend (Sun Nov 20 05:13:45 2005)
Purple with gold ink. HELL yeah this was some good stuff. Clean, visual, prolly upwards of 150 mics? Saw a lot of it in the early 90s



LSD Commemorative postage stamps

From: penis dancers (Tue May 16 22:32:28 2006)
yo dude … we are tight like a fat kid in spandex



Palm Trees

From: Soma (Sat Feb 12 05:47:24 2005)
Manufactured in Houston, TX between 1991-1993. Actually called Blue Hawaiian, and it also came in green sheets. Lab busted, 3 Vietnamese guys found with 5 million hits. $2 hit, $5 for 3, sheets $90 and books were $650



Flower Stamp

From: vcw (Wed Mar 15 13:02:31 2006)
ate plenty of these about 100mcg



Fat Freddy’s Cat

From: Jason Emberson (Tue Feb 15 04:25:54 2005)
strong strong strong stuff.

From: pano (Thu Jul 28 11:38:12 2005)
this blotters are very strong. Not so clean. i took that in 2000. A friend took 2 blotters in 2 hours at a festival and wanted to pay some beers with marijuana. Then he lost his keys and all his things

From: Panoramix… (Thu Sep 1 09:22:56 2005)
Good stuff from Belgium…

From: oz (Mon Sep 5 09:41:30 2005)
yep, very strong, but good quality, i thought. that was back in 1997-1999. don’t know about since then. the paper was really thick.



Superman, Smiley Faces

From: nick (Sun May 4 15:19:41 2003)
these smilies were popular in 1989 rave culture had a few

From: riX (Thu Jul 14 22:02:40 2005)
Yep, known as “super smilies”.
Am*dam ZOO 1985.

From: gabbachris666 (Wed Nov 2 14:38:37 2005)
Yes, They are “super smileys” They were not very strong





























p.s. Hey. So sad that Halloween is technically over, although it actually lasts through the weekend here aka haunted attraction central aka in LA. Perhaps some LSD would be just the cure for your tragic loss? Just a thought?


  1. Haha, I do remember this one.

    For various reasons, my planned Halloween horror movie bash limped along at best. But since I watch a lot of horror movies anyway (and grumble about their shortcomings), I will soldier on for another few weeks at least.

    Hope you and Zac had an enjoyable and productive LA jaunt, with relatively little smoke (except from your cigarettes, of course).


  2. Speaking of LSD, Joe Dante’s long-a-borning “The Man With Kaleidoscope Eyes” about Roger Corman dropping acid (that Jack Nicholson gave him) in preparation to make “The Trip” is finally about to go into production. Joe says the experience changed Roger forever.

  3. Thank you, D.C., for this most impressive assemblage of blotter art. I saw the Psychedelic Solution show during my NYC residency, an event where visitors’ reactions and facial expressions were of equivalent interest (and then some) to the sheets on display. One visitor, Peter Max, described the exhibit as resembling a show of neolithic cooking implements — an analogy certainly not lost on those very quiet gallery viewers whose eyes misted over when presented with certain vintage graphics. I hadn’t seen the Syd Barrett sheet previous to this and I still wonder who, when handed a tab of the sardonic clown head, would willingly ingest it? Brilliant stuff, even by the lofty standard you’ve long ago set.

  4. As AMERICAN DHARMA opened in New York today, I learned that Errol Morris and his son Hamilton are collaborating on a project about Timothy Leary. If Morris had been able to make a documentary on Leary while he was still alive, that would be amazing.

  5. I met Leary several times as he was a pal of my beloved mentor Richard Rouilard. As Errol Morris has no sense of humor whatsoever I seriously doubt he can “get” what Leary was about.

    It’s Luchino Visconti’s Birthday

  6. Hi Dennis, What a coincidence running into you at LF! As I mentioned then, I’d love to include your writing in this upcoming LACMA publication on ventriloquism. When can we talk about this? Looking forward. Thank you.

  7. It was a girl from LA who first turned me on, haha. Imagine that. Blotter was more popular at college than in hs it seems. Tons of gels in hs. Blotter and liquid at college mostly. Don’t recall any particularly great blotter art. Of course you had to have the sheets or a big piece of them to enjoy the art. 10 strip interpretation is a difficult art. Like Cattle was featured on Milkboys a day or two ago.

    • Anyone know how many mics/ug the black geltabs from the late 1990s were? They were in the Northeastern USA, extremely strong-think out of body experiences and not being able to function/move, and were some of the strongest LSD that myself and many other people I know have ever taken.

      Like Keaton wrote above, gels were common in HS, and in college blotter-usually with Alex Grey’s artwork, or just blank white blotter paper, was much more common.

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