Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

What Makes My Art Psychedelic? A Personal and Critical Reflection

July 16 @ 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm

Arnie Guha, visual artist, Acid4Yuppies; partner, Phase 5; and Green College Society Member
Coach House, Green College, UBC
6201 Cecil Green Park Road

For the past few years, since I have been showing my psychedelic work at galleries and installations in Canada and abroad, I have had the luxury of my hosts and my audience simply taking my claim – of “psychedelic art” – at face value. At gallery openings and other events, I have been asked all manner of questions – on my technique, my philosophy – but never on what makes my art psychedelic. Until earlier this year, at the Interior Design Show 2024, Toronto, where a group of engaged teenagers asked me point blank: “What makes your art psychedelic?” And instead of having a pat answer, it got me interrogating my own work – both critically and based on my own personal journey, which started in Calcutta, raved through Cambridge, then leapt to, and across Canada, with no apparent intention of slowing down. In this talk, I hope to answer that fundamental question – what makes my art psychedelic? – and look forward to engaging with the audience in a no-holds-barred discussion.


Arnie Guha is the multidisciplinary creative behind Acid4Yuppies, which focuses on experiential art works – from illuminated light boxes and electric murals, to psychedelics-inspired scarves and fine art prints. His ‘trippy’ works are complemented by an extensive body of minimalist photography and portraiture. From vivid colours to subdued hues, his practice explores both realms of the visual experience from extreme intensity to soft suggestion.

Born and raised in Jadavpur, a fabled neighbourhood at the southern edge of Calcutta, India, Arnie spent much of his childhood in neighbourhood printing shops, and at the local portrait photographer’s studio, where he became fascinated by the intersection of painting and photography as he watched the photo-artist manually touch up pictures with brush and pencil.

Educated at Jadavpur University, Calcutta, and then at Cambridge University, UK, Arnie fell in love with medieval manuscripts: the unapologetic vibrance of the colours and the power of the image to communicate what remains ineffable in the verbal realm. This would later inform his doctoral work on secondary orality and information visualization in digital, hypertextual environments at the University of British Columbia, where he was also a Resident Member of Green College. Since then, Arnie has built a leading Canadian Experience Design practice at Phase 5, where his clients include the London Stock Exchange Group, media companies and several of Canada’s largest banks. When COVID-19 put a halt to traveling, he found himself meditating in his garden in downtown Toronto. Acid4Yuppies is his collection of transformative art, born out of meditation during the forced stillness of COVID-19.

Arnie splits his time between Toronto and Montreal, and enjoys collaborating with DJs and other visual artists to create experiential, accessible art. His last solo exhibit, “Northern Borealis,” was held at the John B. Aird Gallery in Toronto, in the summer of 2022. In October 2022, Arnie’s experimental video, “Entropy: A Walk in the Woods” was exhibited as part of NOCTURE: ART AT NIGHT in Dartmouth, N.S.