Alex Grey‘s CoSM: Journal of Visionary Culture volume 4 which was dedicated to Albert Hofmann’s 100th birthday, the Swiss chemist who discovered LSD 50 years ago. In the following excerpt from the CoSM journal, Alex explains his motivation for creating this tribute painting to Albert Hofmann.
‘In my portrait of Dr. Hofmann, the eye of transcendental spirit in the upper left hand corner of the painting releases spiralic streams of primordial rainbow spheres of potential, one of which becomes a compassionate alchemical angel, whose tears drip down to anoint or ‘create’ the LSD molecule that the doctor holds in his hands. LSD opens a visionary gateway to the heart, as shown by the spiral of fractally infinitizing eyes resembling the stripey eye-spheres of the molecule, swirling into the center of the chest. On St. Albert’s shoulder blade is a portrait of Paracelsus, the Alchemist of Basel, 500 years ago, who is credited with founding modern Chemistry, yet his alchemical goal was to discover the Philosopher’s Stone. Alchemy was the art and science of the transmutation of the elements, like turning lead into gold and the identification of the soul of the alchemist with the chemical transformations as a metaphor of their journey ti enlightenment. Modern Chemistry took the psyche and mystery out of the material weighed and measured world, reducing the world to a heap of atoms. LSD brought psyche back, front and center to the chemical material world. That is partly why I believe that LSD is the Philosopher’s Stone, the discovery of which, also in the town of Basel, is the result of an alchemical process put in motion by the great Paracelsus. In the portrait, I painted a lot of LSD personalities and symbolism in the aura of Dr. Hofmann. Some of these people were Dr Hofmann’s friends, like Aldous Huxley, Gordon Wasson, Maria Sabina and Richard Evans Schultes. Each of these people had a special connection to psychedelics. Huxley wrote fearlessly about the psychedelic experience in The Doors of Perception and Heaven and Hell, which also talks about Visionary states and works of art.’