From the mid 1970’s blotter art has been the most available form of LSD. There are likely two main reasons for this: Firstly, after LSD was made illegal in the US (in 1967) mandatory minimum sentencing was introduced. Sentences were determined by the weight of the substance with which offenders were caught. If someone had LSD on a sugar cube weighing 1g then the sentence was the same as for an individual caught with 1g of crystal LSD (representing approx 10,000 LSD doses rather than just 1)! . The move to lightweight LSD blotter therefore reduced sentences. Secondly: There were many high profile busts in the late 60’s and early 70’s, during which pill presses were seized, LSD blotter was therefore more convenient for many to make.
Over the years Blotter Art has developed as a field in its own right, with images ranging from multiple repeats (so each trip has a complete image), to complex images spanning a whole sheet. Images have typically been psychedelic in nature, or relied heavily on cartoon images. Occult and religious symbols have also been widely used. There is also a distinct sub-category of satirical Blotter Art, including images such as “Gorby” and “FBI”. This imagery originally served as an identifier of different batches of LSD, a form of “trademark”.
There are distinctions within Blotter Art. Some iconic images have been circulating since the 70’s (Eg: Hofmann’s, Eye of Horus, Knights of Malta) other art work is dubbed “Vanity Blotter Art”. This is art as a collectible and has never been dipped.
The original collector and originator of the scene is Mark McCloud, a San Francisco artist (and former Art Professor). Initially his collection was based on street prints, which have subsequently been exposed to UV light to destroy the LSD. In 2000 McCloud was charged with “conspiracy to manufacture and distribute LSD”. The DEA claimed that having 30,000 Blotter Art sheets in his possession meant that he was supplying chemists and wholesalers. This was his second arrest (the first was in 1991). In both cases he was acquitted. It is estimated that he spent more than half a million dollars on his defence.
McCloud still exhibits blotter art and sells Blotter Art and Blotter Art ephemera , you can visit his website by going to the blotterbarn.com