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Blotter: The Untold Story of an Acid Medium

Blotter: The Untold Story of an Acid Medium

Current price: $32.95
Publication Date: April 2nd, 2024
The MIT Press
Available for Preorder


A richly illustrated exploration of the history, art, and design of printed LSD blotter tabs.

Blotter is the first comprehensive written account of the history, art, and design of LSD blotter paper, the iconic drug delivery device that will perhaps forever be linked to underground psychedelic culture and contemporary street art. 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 blotter paper’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. The book closes with a unique discussion of the market for “vanity blotter”—more recent perforated papers produced as collectible art objects never meant to be dipped in LSD. While vanity blotters are intimately related to the underground blotters of the LSD trade, they effectively open up their own visual world. As the ultimate document of this ephemeral artform, Blotter represents an exceptional contribution to the scholarship of art and psychedelics that will entertain older readers with lysergic nostalgia and younger readers with its image-driven journey through a colorful and scandalous corner of psychedelic lore.

About the Author

Erik Davis is a scholar, award-winning journalist, and speaker whose writing has ranged from rock criticism to media studies to creative explorations of esoteric mysticism. He is the author of, among other books, High Weirdness: Drugs, Esoterica, and Visionary Experience in the Seventies (MIT Press/Strange Attractor Press).