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Ecstasy Artist Chemical X Displays Latest Mural of 10,000 Pills

  1. Beenthere2Hippie
    LONDON - Hands up who wants to come to this exhibition with me in a transit van and balaclavas, with a getaway car around the corner? For his latest work, the artist known as Chemical X has taken 10,000 ecstasy tablets to make two enormous murals that look more like something you'd find behind the altar of the world's funnest church. He's the man who designed the logo for Ministry of Sound in the early 90s, so put two and two together and you'll get the answer – this man knows a thing or two about pills.

    If you want to see what Class A heaven looks like, Chemical X is exhibiting the work as part of the ARK show which runs at Bear Cub Gallery until 2 October (or until the cops shut it down). Obviously, we had a few questions for the anonymous artist, starting with "how do you even get away with exhibiting 10,000 pills"?

    First things first: how on earth do you get so many pills? Do you collect them or something?

    Chemical X: We buy in the ’ingredients' wholesale and make the pills in house at a secret location. We have two pill presses, one to get the colours right in blanks, then we transfer the colour recipe over to the other press hidden away so that if the studio is raided there is no ‘contamination’. We have a large selection of old school embossing tools.

    Are you a big caner yourself, or is it strictly about the art?

    Chemical X: Used to be. Had my first E in the mid 80s when they were coming in from New York and cost £45. Mind you, you only needed one all weekend. Trouble was the club scene wasn’t geared that way and they shut at 1am. Nowadays I’m way too busy to lose the recovery time. We are very strict that no pills are used for anything other than going in the pieces. It’s all weighed before and after and any spares are crushed up and used in the next piece. They all have an ‘X’ embossed on the back so we’d know if someone used the machine for their own ends…

    You've never exhibited the ecstasy based work before. How are you able to do it now?

    Chemical X: Because we’ve kept it quiet beforehand. Last time it was the head of the drugs licensing department at the Home Office that shut us down. I’d be surprised if we make it to the end of this run if I’m honest. Any sniff of the authorities getting involved and they will be removed from the show.

    You go under a pseudonym, I assume to avoid the law. Have you ever had a run-in with the police over your art?

    Chemical X: Not yet but we have a contingency plan to deal with that when it happens.

    You designed the logo for Ministry of Sound. How has clubbing culture changed through the decades since the start of MoS?

    Chemical X: When MoS opened there wasn’t much of a scene beyond Shoom and a few other more underground places. The Ministry broke all the rules - no booze, south of the river, old bus depot, but it was Justin Berkman’s vision of the dance box that made it work. When they approached me they just wanted a visualisation of the club - I told them that they needed a brand and a logo as the club scene hadn’t really taken that kind of thing on. Now that’s all there is - brands playing the same music with different packaging. We need something new, underground and edgy again. Maybe we need a new drug

    Dazed Digital/Sept. 29, 2014
    Newshawk Crew

    Author Bio

    BT2H is a retired news editor and writer from the NYC area who, for health reasons, retired to a southern US state early, and where BT2H continues to write and to post drug-related news to DF.


  1. Dimethylysergicalyblessed
    Really stupid idea in my opinion, what a waste of a bunch of mdma, why not just press filler and make artwork out of that?

    Guy should and probably will go to jail for this kind of exhibition, he just happens to be able to press 1000's of pills, be able to get the "ingredients" (mdma) in unlimited amounts... I have no idea how cops aren't kicking in his door as I type. This isn't exactly the type of art that someone who hasn't pressed tens of thousands of pills for resale previously would be making.

    Only thing this exhibits is how stupid the creator is. And how wasteful of a person he is.
  2. Beenthere2Hippie
    Hey. One man's drug is another man's art, or something like that. : )
  3. Szandbwoy
    People make art from anything these days. When they go on display he wants to make sure they're behind reinforced glass, otherwise some of his art might go missing.
  4. Beenthere2Hippie
    I'm guessing, for insurance purposes and for reasons of safety, the ecstasy has been removed and only the capsules are used in the actual art. Otherwise, I believe the museum where his art is on display (a big draw of school children) would have a conniption, and would have one hell of a time getting the pieces insured.
  5. Szandbwoy
    You're probably right, BT2H, surely they wouldn't display a piece of art made out of drugs. No gallery would want to put that on display, and I very much doubt anyone would insure it.

    "For his latest work, the artist known as Chemical X has taken 10,000 ecstasy tablets to make two enormous murals that look more like something you'd find behind the altar of the world's funnest church."

    When I first read that part I thought it meant he'd actually consumed 10,000 ecstacy tablets and then began working on his art. Obviously that would kill him, taking 10,000 pills containing MDMA, but it's an interesting thought!
  6. Dimethylysergicalyblessed
    I mean don't get me wrong, I'd love to own one of these, to put in my home, away from people.

    This brings doomsday prepping to another level.
  7. Phenoxide
    Notice that although the mural says MDMA the artist only refers to it as "ecstasy" in the article. Like many ecstasy pills, I suspect these are bunk. I want to see some reagent test results for this art piece to verify its authenticity. I suspect this is where all the BZP pills have gone!
  8. Szandbwoy
    I wonder how much it cost for all those tablets
  9. Dimethylysergicalyblessed
    Considering each mural would be close to a kilo of mdma (if each pill was 100mg) , I also highly doubt he's using the real thing just for decoration.
  10. Szandbwoy
    Edible artwork. He's taking art to a whole new level.
  11. Calliope
    For £100 000 one could apparently find out if Chemical X's ecstasy art is the repository for all the BZP (that which isn't languishing at the back of a desk drawer in my home office...) or indeed is rather more interestingly illegal... his website has two original pressed pill pieces on offer. Given the open offer for sale one surmises that there is no actual drug in this art?? Love and Death is coyly described as made of "6,607 microcellulose, magnesium sterate, pigments & other substances combined into embossed tablets set in, and encased by, 3 sheets of museum quality, non-reflecting, UV resistant acrylic. Framed in tulip wood."


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