Visions and the art of Nick Hyde

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Cover painting: Holy Grove by Gage Taylor (1975).

Book purchase of the week was this American collection of what we have to call “hippy art” (or “California Visionary Art”, as its creators preferred) published by Pomegranate Publications in 1977. I’d seen this circa 1979 and many of the pictures inside were used by Omni Magazine to decorate the science fiction stories in their early issues. After that it vanished from view completely which leads me to believe that UK distributors Big O didn’t sell as many as they would have liked. The white cover design made me remember it for a long time as being part of the David Larkin series which I discussed in May but it isn’t, although the Larkin books were quite probably the model for the book’s presentation.

Finally acquiring a copy was something of a disappointment since it transpires I remembered the decent painters and forgot the terrible ones who comprise at least half the book. Cliff McReynolds is one of the better artists (Omni thought so too) and by coincidence I posted one of his Visions paintings, Landscape with Grenade, almost a year ago to the day.

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BethAnn (1970).

Best of the bunch for me is Nick Hyde whose fantastically detailed works blend the fractal filigree of psychedelic art with the kind of dreamscapes and tableaux one sees in Surrealism. The print reproductions do little justice to his detail and the web degrades his work even further (see Abraxas for a good example). Happily there are posters available.

Elsewhere on { feuilleton }
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65 thoughts on “Visions and the art of Nick Hyde”

  1. Hello Cliff, Glad to see you are still around. Phil Linares who is head curator at the Oakland Museum told me that only the work in the Visions Book era is sought by collectors. Also, for 28 years people have been contacting me by mail or email seeking out the original Pomegranite posters. Gage’s personal copies were all lost in 1982.
    I believe the reason for the desirability of the early work is because the imagery had to come from ones inner experience with meditation, drugs, or imagination. Photoshop destroyed “visionary” art because anyone trained on a computer could lift and manipulate images from anywhere where before the images came from our own visions and skill.

  2. Is Phil Linhares still around? I was friends with him when at SFAI….and he got me interested in learning how to ride motorcycles. I would love to thank him for that!!!

  3. Hi Uriel – There are many young artists coming up today who still paint from inner experiences with meditation, drugs and imagination so although Photoshop may have created an avenue for some who are drawn to that mode of expression, real painters are still being born and taking wing. I am proud to say I am personal friends with many of them – very nice to hear from you, if obliquely. {;-{)}

  4. Hi Paul, Yes, I agree with you and your work has always had that authentic voice.(Not to mention the great images you post on fb from your students to support your comment).
    I was referring to the marketplace of visionary art has been damaged by the plethora of photoshop images. It’s sad that so many people can not tell the difference. Nice to hear from you too!

  5. Hey you guys, I hope somebody who reads this can help me out. My dad used to have a lot of Nick Hyde posters when he was young, but only one damaged one remains.
    I can’t get the painting out of my head and have been looking to find posters or books. I noticed Nick Hyde’s website has been down for at least several months and I can’t find any other place where they would still have prints and such.

    Sorry I’m using this discussion for this request, but I hope somebody can help and tell me where to go.

    Beerens@gmail.com

  6. i still have this book also bought it at the local hippie store longa ago – its still in good shape – hello – if the person with the mescaline woods poster still has it please send me a email

  7. hye folks
    today i received the vision book i ordered after reading you lot on john coulthard site,i remember my dad artist had it in the early seventies he liked cliff mac reynold ‘s and nick hyde’s when i was more in gage talylor’s and bill martin’s . now mac reynold’s arrival is a stunner! great time they were ; today i surfed on youtube and enjoyed moody blue’s “in search of the lost chord” the album sleeve is also a smasher’s artwork! could anyone tell me who painted it,?
    renaud LEON

  8. I have several copies of Gage Taylor’s the Fragile Splendors of California series, that include The Eel River, The Mojave Desert, The Suisun Marsh, The Seacoast Dunes, The Siskiyou Mountains, Lake Tahoe and The Valley Oak Woodlands. I have searched all over the internet for any background on the The Fragile Splendors of California series. What prompted this series? Can anybody point me in the right direction?

  9. What a trip seeing my work on your blog, thanks.

    The website address I gave is in a bit of shambles right now but the webmistress promised to fix the broken links real soon. You can order prints from her site if you’re interested.

    Nick

  10. Hi Nick. My pleasure, I love the paintings. Also surprised by how much discussion this post has generated over the past five years.

  11. Hi Nick – That’ll be great to have your internet stuff working again… I haven’t seen nor communicated with you since that show we were all in up in Ukiah… when was that, 2008? Like to come up that way and pay a visit sometime soon if that’s cool.

    Paul

  12. I have the original Estate of Man poster which I tripped out on enough to know that Nick Hyde comes as close to sharing a Universality of psychedelic experience, in pattern and form as one may find anywhere. I may be biased in my symbiotic appreciation of his work as he and I share the same birthday, although, he is 10 years my senior. Mind of Man Urp is exceptional but Abraxas which he authorized me to make a copy of onto Electric Vinyl really shines as a large illuminated print in my home! Awesome work! I am forever finding new nooks and crannies in these “full size doodles” created with such extreme conviction by a man intent upon demonstrating the real-time exploration that is the fine art of creating truly original pieces time and again. Many best wishes to Nick and thank you for opening up a discussion of this genre of art.

  13. I bought my Visions 1 book back in the 1970’s at a record store in Houston, TX. I remember bouncing back and forth between the Visions 1 and Visions 2 for the longest time, trying to make up my mind which one to buy, as I could only afford one at the time.(.I was about 16 yrs old). Yet, everyone here seems to believe there never existed a Visions 2, and even I myself have been unable to locate a one. Strange how I would have such a vivid memory of this. My art took off later in life, for me, and I still go back to Visions 1 for a unique perspective not seen in today’s art market.

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