He's been creating works of deranged beauty for the past half century

By Clark Collis
Updated April 25, 2014 at 04:00 AM EDT

1970 The Kentucky Derby is Decadent and Depraved
Steadman, now 77, first met Hunter S. Thompson when they were hired by Scanlan’s Monthly to cover the 1970 Kentucky Derby. Their boozy adventures at the famed event resulted in the pair becoming firm friends, despite Thompson macing the artist — twice — in Louisville. “The first time was terrible,” Steadman says, chuckling. “The second time, I’d developed a resistance to it.”

1971 Lizard Lounge
The illustrations Steadman created for Thompson’s “Fear and Loathing” articles and subsequent book included the phantasmagorical Lizard Lounge and the iconic image of Thompson in full, larger-than-life “gonzo” mode. Thompson committed suicide in 2005. What does Steadman miss most about him? “Him,” he says.

1983 I, Leonardo
Outside of his collaborations with Thompson, Steadman has published several books, including I, Leonardo, for which he painted a one-third-scale re-creation of Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper. “It’s on the bedroom wall in my house,” he says.