At 13 Mark Cloud tried acid in Santa Barbara, an experience that merited the epic summation: “I was blind, but then I could see.”
It wasn’t until then, around 1968, that acid imagery became popular and McCloud started collecting and cataloguing the many acid stamps he encountered.
“At first I was keeping them in the freezer, which was a problem because I kept eating them,” McCloud explained to VICE, “but then the Albert Hofmann acid came out, and then I thought, Fuck, I’m framing this. That’s when I realized, Hey, if I try to swallow this I’ll choke on the frame.”
Today, Mark McCloud is the world’s leading collector of “Blotter Art” (the fancy way of saying that he collects the small, stamp-like papers that used to transport acid, or LSD). McCloud’s collection, one that is bigger and more varied that those owned by the FBI and DEA, is now hanging in his Victorian home in San Francisco- a home turned museum that you should definitely visit!
Most of you are probably wondering if the acid is still active- the answer is no–the chemical is sensitive to oxygen. All that remains is the art that embellishes these little pieces of special paper.
McCloud has watched acid art trends rise and fall, with paper appearances by “Captain L” (for LSD), Mickey Mouse, Robert Crumb’s “Mr. Natural” and even the face of Mikhail Gorbachev. When hanged side by side, the images paint a nice narrative of a time we ofter try to bring back. McCloud offers a niche history of art, one that brings nostalgia to anyone that grew up in that time.
The LSD Museum (a.k.a Mark’s house) has irregular hours. You can schedule a trip by emailing Mark at firstname.lastname@example.org. No cost; serious inquiries only.