Steadman purposefully renders the scene in a surrealist aesthetic as an attempt to disorient the viewer in the same way that Thompson’s narrative misguides the reader into never knowing whether Raoul is relaying fact or fiction due to his perpetual abuse of drugs such as LSD, cocaine, marijuana, and alcohol--many of which lead the two to destroy hotel rooms or crash cars during hallucinogenic episodes. Steadman achieves this by representing the protagonists as versions of their of own anthropomorphic hallucinations, including bat-like monsters against a light-blue sky, playing with scale by making the objects in the background as large as the figures in front, and finally, inundating the scene with circles that compete against the “moon” shown directly below a presumably day time sky.
Although Steadman is widely known as the recipient of the Francis Williams Memorial Award for his illustrated version of Alice in Wonderland, Steadman’s numerous collaborations with Thompson has fostered his now celebrated career as a satirical artistic. In addition to Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Steadman illustrated many articles for Thompson, including accompanying him to cover an article of the Kentucky Derby in 1970 and the Honolulu Marathon in 1980, much like Raoul and Dr. Gonzo’s coverage of the Mint 400 motorcycle race for an anonymous magazine.
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