Mark McCloud's collection, also known as the "Institute of Illegal Images" is the most comprehensive collection of decorated LSD blotter paper in the world. As such, the collection has been the target of two criminal trials where McCloud was forced to defend not only the collection, but also his own liberty.
On October 6, 1966 (aka ‘The Day of the Beast’ in psychedelic circles) California banned the possession of LSD. Two years later the law went nationwide. Mark McCloud did as anyone of vision might: he began buying loads of blotters, sheets of paper infused with LSD, for consumption. Eventually his San Francisco home filled with thousands of LSD tabs. Over time the acid broke down. So now the framed sheets (part of an archive of more than 33,000 sheets and individual tabs), and Mark’s “Institute of Illegal Images” – “the most comprehensive collection of decorated LSD blotter paper in the world” – can be viewed by art buffs, former heads and anyone who wants to see objects that came to define an era.
The art is broadly two-fold: graphics and visions of the sort of thing you see after ingesting LSD. They are, says Mark, who earned a Masters of Fine Art from UC Davis, “examples of true American folk art, like whittling.”