Excellent find! This is a fantastic article, probably the best ever written about Philip K Dick. Williams’ interviews (which he eventually collected in a book titled Only Apparently Real) capture Dick had his bullshitting best. In the book Dick even tells Williams that the amphetamines he had been taking for years had been filtered out of his bloodstream by his liver before he even got high!
But I wanted to add some information about the illustration, which was done by GK ‘Kent’ Bellows, who was given the assignment by his friend, Greg Scott, an assistant art director at Rolling Stone. Scott wrote in an email regarding the picture:
“Paul's accounts of the break-ins plus Phil's general paranoia led to Kent's idea of an alien sneaking into Phil's house. The tentacled monster was inspired by the 50s movie 'It Came From Beneath the Sea' (Google image search for it, you'll see a few stills of the monster).
Kent always did extensive photo research for his paintings, thus, his chair, lamp, rubber plant, and so forth were used for props. Personal photos of Phil that were provided by Williams inspired the open corduroy jacket, hairy chest and necklace….Kent himself did model for the body, posed in the chair, and yes, I do think that there was a somewhat vicarious self-portrait lurking within the whole idea. Like Phil, Kent was an artist; he used drugs to enhance the creative process, had tempestuous relationships, an unusually wild imagination, etc... There's no question that Kent identified with Phil on many levels.
(Later, Kent was obsessed with self-portraits in general... which you may have gleaned from much of his work that can be found online).”
Kent, who unexpectedly passed away in 2005, was a huge PKD fan. Dick very much liked the portrait, and, in fact, met Kent and even officiated an informal marriage ceremony for Kent and his girlfriend Liz. Check out Kent’s work here. And order Williams’ book here.
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