Engaging in drug use for the purpose of artmaking presents altering perspectives to an existing platform, essentially expanding the possibilities of the mind. A wide range of artists draw upon psychoactive agents to inspire and develop their work. Some, you might expect, but others aren't as conspicuous.
As a visual artist, Sean Newport considers his work psychedelic by nature, though he admits it has been influenced by the use of outside substances, from LSD, to DMT, THC, and psychedelic mushrooms. Newport tells The Creators Project, “I didn't start experimenting with psychedelics until I was 27. It’s crazy to think about that now. I just don't think I was ready. My first experience was with a half-gram of psilocybin mushrooms, a small group of friends and a long night walk through San Francisco.”
“I don't think substance use is for everyone.” Newport says. “For me personally, psychedelics have completely shifted my perspective on just about everything. They woke me up by allowing me to view reality from different lenses. Perspective is everything, the moment that shifts, everything shifts,” he explains. “Psychedelics were probably the most important experience in my life.”
Newport’s meditative patterns are heavily focused on color and movement of a stationary object. He says, "They are kind of like those magic eye posters, only I don't have a blurry dinosaur embedded in the colors when your eyes cross. I think of them as portals of consciousness.” Newport explains, “I try and find a time to play with patterns and shapes whenever I take LSD. Especially if I'm going on a trip with friends. I'll bring a bunch of raw shapes and leave them out on the table of wherever we are staying. Sometimes we play with patterns sometimes we just forget about them all together.”
In particular, Newport talks about his experience with Dimethyltryptamine (DMT), a psychedelic compound of the tryptamine family that is found in trace amounts in the brains of mammals. “After experimenting with DMT I had a huge breakthough in my work.” he explains, “The world I explore in the DMT realm is filled with repetitive undulating shapes of light as color that continued into infinity. Once I realised I could represent that in my artwork I began to explore it. Every time I've smoked DMT I feel like I've downloaded celestial information directly from the Source. Same with LSD and mushrooms. Many of my a-ha! moments in life have come as a result of an intense psychedelic experience.”
Newport continues recalling a specific encounter: “Last year I was in the middle of a long week of painting shapes. I wanted to get some "color inspiration" so I decided to smoke DMT. I got into my bed, took three heroic hits and blasted off into a warp speed loop of light and color when I came back to this reality I couldn't remember what I was, or when I was. It's took me a minute of looking around, looking at my legs, hands, face before it clicked that I was human, my name is Sean, I'm in my bed. I laughed aloud because what started as a color exploration ended up being a huge life lesson from a light beam telling me the only thing preventing me from anything is myself. I also saw some pretty incredible colors.”
Newport concludes, “I just want to keep making art. I finally feel like I am where I've been working so hard to get to.”
Learn more about the artist by clicking here.