BACK COVER #In the 1970s Roger Keen was a young art student, heavily under the influence of surrealism, the Beat movement and the wisdom of the East--in particular Taoism and Zen Buddhism. Into the mix came LSD, cannabis, magic mushrooms and other drugs, which were seen as enablers in the pursuit of creativity and higher knowledge, fuelling a 'Quest for the Ultimate' that pushed out the boundaries of experience to extremes.
Progressively, new factors entered the equation, such as the works of Carlos Castaneda, R. Gordon Wasson and other anthropologists, which demonstrated the roles hallucinogens have played in shamanic practices and the formulation of relitions and philosophies, going back to the dawn of civilization. All this added further momentum to the Quest, putting the trips of today into a much more meaningful context.
This memoir examines those 'psychonautic adventures' in fascinating detail, and along the way also tells a more familiar story of youthful excess and exuberance, all set against a colourful background of hippy student life in the West Country, the South of England and London. There are glimpses of the Stonehenge Festival in its heyday and visits to exotic locations in Greece and Spain, including Cadaques, home village of Salvador Dali.
In the tradition of Thomas De Quincey's Confessions of an English Opium Eater, Aldous Huxley's The Doors of Perception and Hunter S. Thompson's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, The Mad Artist not only explores a fascination with drugs, but also the awesome and sometimes frightening inner metaphysical landscapes through which the user journeys.