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We Ate the Acid: 2018


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About the Author

Joe Roberts has worked as an artist in San Francisco for more than a decade. His mixed media work has been released in various formats over the years and shown nationwide to great acclaim. Joe creates artwork which represents a variety of mixed media formats and is reminiscent of work from Jean-Michel Basquiat and Joseph Cornell. Collage, paintings, diorama and figurines all play a role in the world he has created and is constantly reinterpreting. Roberts has collaborated with musicians, filmmakers, and streetwear companies, most recently with Supreme for their 2017 fall line.


Joe Roberts draws on pop-cultural imagery from the 1960s to the '90s, filtering them through his own experiences, and re-presenting them in mixed-media works that recall Mike Kelley or Chris Johanson. Mickey Mouse, Casper, and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles all make appearances, but here they're dropping acid or eating pizza, fellow travelers in Roberts's personal journey. -Hyperallergic
We Ate the Acid, Roberts' new book published by Anthology Editions, is the latest product of his visionary journey and a testament to his expansive, singular imagination. Along with Roberts' unpretentious paintings, the 140-page book presents original drawings, collages and surrealistic scenes of everything from UFO sightings amongst cityscapes, to candid still-life's in nature. Amongst smiley faces, dancing Kokopelli, and Grateful Dead stealies, the book chronicles a range of fantastical imagery that carries a childlike wonder and begs the viewer to join the experience themselves. - Amadeus (11/26/2018)
"A cult following in the skateboarding community, fashion collaborations with Supreme and an archive of trippy artworks putting a fresh twist on 60s psychedelia: Joe Roberts is the outsider artist you need to know." - Hunger
"Roberts' work manages to toe the line between playful and edgy, imaginative and nightmarishly vivid." - Hypebeast
"Joe creates work which guide the viewer through a menagerie of psychedelic shapes, colours, pop culture figures and mystic symbols. Existing somewhere between fear, euphoria, and what the fuck, Joe's trips incorporate collage, diorama, drawing and painting evocative of Jean-Michel Basquiat and Joseph Cornell. " - Monster Children
Through his work, Roberts returns to what most children already know, that whatever is experienced and imagined really is reality, and sometimes there's no need to muddle it up. In that same way, he refutes the idea that childish is synonymous with simple, it's that childish is more akin to infinite. -Juxtapoz
New York Times art critic Ken Johnson, author of Are You Experienced? How Psychedelic Consciousness Transformed Modern Art, argues that Roberts' work is part of a resurgent psychedelic movement: "This whole psychedelic thing is still part of our culture. It's not over." Johnson's thesis is that, since the mass consumption of LSD began in the mid 1960s, hallucinogens have altered the minds of so many people that much contemporary art has come to conform with what one critic called the "psychedelic paradigm". If so, then it's little wonder Roberts' work has become so marketable. - The Guardian

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