Burroughs and Gysin Revisited

A few years back I’ve mentioned Brion Gysin on this blog. Realized that having been a fan of both William Burroughs and Gysin, I’ve never done a portrait of either person.

William Burroughs (right) and Brion Gysin (left) using a dreammachine. 

Today I did this quick sketch of both gentlemen, done in pen and Japanese black sumi ink. If you draw by hand, you haven’t lived until you’ve worked with sumi ink.

William Burroughs and Brion Gysin. Black sketch/illustration done by Michele Witchipoo. Pen and Japanese sumi ink. Done Feb. 2018. 

Brion Gysin

William S Burroughs




The Last Museum At The New

Went to the New Museum yesterday, to check out the Brion Gysin retrospective. For those who don’t know, Brion Gysin (1916 – 1986) was a multifaceted subversive. To define this person, imagine looking up the phase “Nothing is true, everything is permitted”; next to that phase is a photography of Brion Gysin. As an artist, he tried his hand at everything, from painting, collages, poetry, film, and musical collaborations. Gysin is best known by his collaborations with writer William Burroughs and the ‘cut-up’ method.

Personally speaking…although William Burroughs is more known, I’m more fascinated with Brion Gysin.

Since this weekend was the last of the Brion Gysin exhibit over at The New Museum, I made a mini-pilgrimage. The entire second floor was dedicated to Gysin. Prints, paintings, typed correspondence between Burroughs and Gysin. You could see various sigils and glyphs within Gyson’s work, as the artist experimented with Asemic writing. There was also book layouts, photographs, and collages. In separate rooms was two short films, a slide show, and actual dream machine. The dream machine section was dark, except for small black floor pillows for the viewer to sit on.

So I stuck in some video and tried to tape in dream machine in 23 seconds. Couldn’t click off the iPhone in time so it ends at 25.


“Brion Gysin: Dream Machine” at The New Museum ends its run tomorrow, Oct. 3rd, 2010.