"Handmade Psychedelia" series by Emma Orlow. Colored stills of lava lamp video projection.
In addition to the writing that I do, I also love making art. Not only do I take portfolio at my school, but I also run my school’s art club… which is kind of more of an independent study where my art teachers and I visit different museums or take on different projects and then discuss and debate. But during the past year, I’ve also been working on a body of work for “Handmade Psychedelia,” an ongoing series that explores the feelings, colors, and politics of psychedelic images, without needing any mind-altering substances to do so. Particularly with this series, I am interested in exploring the intersection between synthetics such as psychedelic drugs and optical images when put in domestic environments such as with gardens or buttons to find the imperfections in a man-made substance. I’ve loved working with this series because it’s pushed me to play more with new mediums. I typically work a lot with ink, markers, and paint, but for this series I experimented with video projections, photography, and even weaving, too. I’ve always been fascinated by 1960’s counter-culture. Aesthetically, I find the 1960’s one of the most appealing decades. I look through life with a kaleidoscopic lens and colors mean the world to me. So, when I look back at clothes, music, and psychedelic imagery of from that time, everything seems to be so saturated and bursting with exclamation points.
People often question my interest in psychedelics, when I, myself, have never indulged in any drug of the sort. However, I find this attitude really small-minded. Sure, I may not know exactly what I feels like to be on acid. But since the idea of hallucinogenics is to access a part of your brain that you wouldn’t be able to normally, with my art I challenge the viewer to rethink this relationship we have with drugs, and translate the idea to art. You'll find a selection of images from the series in this post (or you can check out more on my Flickr.)
Painted flower puzzle by Emma Orlow
"A Lucid Swim" by Emma Orlow. Made with ink, watercolors, and interweaving yarn.
Decapitated Barbie doll & plastic bug sculpture.
Since “Handmade Psychedelia” is completely about the vibes, I made a playlist that mixes new and old psychedelic sounds to complement the series. I suggest listening while you peruse the images, for a full funky effect.
Follow me on Twitter @emmaedition
All artwork on this post was created by Emma Orlow