Aesthetic Exploration- Psychedelic Poster Art & the Counter Culture

The 1960’s were a time of change and drastic social movements in the United States. The 60’s led to a sort of rebirth of America, one with more freedom in many aspects. This desire for cultural change led to new developments and techniques in music and art, among many other things. These movements were pro-peace and pro-equality and opened the minds of the American people to ideas like the freedoms to express sexuality, anti-government ideals, and openness to drug usage. Drugs like marijuana and LSD were said to have been a big influencer in opening the minds of the citizens. This freedom and change had a huge impact on the art and design world. Forms of Pop Art and Psychedelic poster art emerged in this time, thanks to artists like Andy Warhol and Wes Wilson. The new forms of expression in the 60’s led to a brand new way of thinking and creating.


Pop Art of the early 1960’s is associated with artists like Andy Warhol. Pop Art moved away from modernism, which favored themes of classic history and morality. Instead Pop Art favored common objects and everyday people. Artists drew inspiration from pop culture and mass media. Hippies in this time did not care about material things and the importance placed upon them. Pop art was a sort of reaction to this way of thinking.

(all art created by Warhol and found on google search)

Psychedelic Art was the most important art of the counterculture, as it came from those who were directly involved and supportive of the counter culture movement; it was not just adopted by them, they created it. Wes Wilson is the leading figure in this movement. He created a style that is now synonymous with the psychedelic and peace movements. His biggest contribution was the creation of the psychedelic font that became the craze and focus of this movement. His style was seen as taking inspiration from the previous popular art movement, Art Nouveau. There were spiral patterns, curved shapes, extreme detail and a focus on typography

(all art created by Wilson and found on google search)



Boyd-Smith, Steve. “The Psychedelic Experience: Rock Posters From The San Francisco Bay Area, 1965-1971.” Journal Of American History 97.1 (2010): 123-127. Academic Search Premier. Web. 4 May 2016.

“Counterculture.” Encyclopedia of Christianity Online (n.d.): n. pag. CounterCulture. Boundless. Web. <>.

“How The Psychedelic 60s Changed Design Forever.” Network9. Network9, 21 Mar. 2013. Web. 04 May 2016.

“Pop Art Movement, Artists and Major Works.” The Art Story. Modern Art Insight Org, n.d. Web. 04 May 2016.

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2 Comments. Leave new

  • Emma Hammerton
    January 29, 2017 8:53 pm

    Hi Alexandra! This is a really creative exploration on the psychedelic movement. Relating the oncoming drug scene to “opening the minds of citizens” rather than directly to the creation of the art was a great and interesting observation of yours. The comments toward both artists and both sub-topics were thoughtfully written. Of all possible psychedelic aesthetic themes, I think you picked a couple of unique and exceptional examples. Some thoughts for improvement would be centering and labeling your photos. It would be great to see more examples next time as well.

  • Gautham Govindarajan
    January 29, 2017 8:52 pm

    It is really interesting to see how one art form can influence the others. I don’t think any art form influenced others like the celebrity culture and pop culture influenced the rise of psychedelic art forms. Andy Warhol’s Marilyn Print you have shown here is a good example of how the artists used different colors to bring out the emotions of the viewer rather than showing what the artist wants the viewer to see. While psychedelic fonts have taken the front seat in driving this beautiful art form forward it would be interesting to see your take on how this art form might evolve in the future.


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