The History, Art, and Design of LSD Blotter

Tonight, author and scholar Erik Davis presents his latest book, Blotter: the Untold Story of an Acid Medium, the first illustrated history and analysis of LSD blotter art. Davis will be joined by blotter maker Ed Visser and Erwan Le Roux, who will explore the role that Amsterdam played in the underground blotter trade.

Join author and scholar Erik Davis as he presents Blotter: the Untold Story of an Acid Medium, the first comprehensive written account of the history, art, and design of LSD blotter paper. Created in collaboration with Mark McCloud’s Institute of Illegal Images, the world’s largest archive of blotter art, Davis’s boldly illustrated exhibition treats his outsider subject with the serious, art-historical respect it deserves, while also staying true to the sense of play, irreverence, and adventure inherent in psychedelic exploration.

Davis weaves together two main stories: first, the largely unknown history of the blotter medium’s development in the 1960s and its later flowering in the 1970s and 1980s; and second, the story of how San Francisco artist, professor, and “freak” McCloud began collecting blotter and ultimately became embroiled with the LSD trade. After presenting the book, Davis will be joined by Ed Visser, a Dutch former blotter maker, and Erwan Le Roux to discuss the important role that Amsterdam played in the underground blotter trade. They will also discuss the more recent rise of the market for “vanity blotter”— perforated papers produced as collectible art objects never meant to be dipped in LSD. The discussion will be moderated by Patricia Pisters.

About the speakers

Erik Davis is an author and scholar based in San Francisco. His books include High Weirdness: Drugs, Esoterica, and Visionary Experience in the Seventies (2019), and the cult classic TechGnosis: Myth, Magic, and Mysticism in the Age of Information (1998). Davis’s essays on music, technoculture, drugs, and spirituality have appeared in scores of books, magazines, and journals, and his writing has been translated into a dozen languages.

Ed Visser is a former LSD blotter maker. Together with Erwan Le Roux he runs Amsterdam Blotter Classics.

Patricia Pisters is professor of Film and Media Culture at the University of Amsterdam. She is the editor of Deleuze and Guattari and the Psychedelic Revival (2023).

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