dreams of trauma

I dream about the Trauma-Givers in the late morning just before waking sometimes. I am trying to escape them. These I interpret as archetypal malevolent figures that represent all the pain the world dishes up to us, especially the sensitive souls. A more sophisticated interpretation is that they also give us wisdom and experience as we move through trauma in a mindful, contemplative and active way. Sometimes you and I are the givers of trauma, even by accident.

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The Retreat

Having lived in the city all my life, and having experienced the archetypal cities of the world while travelling, I have found that my favourite creative space is one close to nature. I have even noticed how the work I do out of my city studio is different to that done in the Retreat House. My dream is to one day allow access to my Retreat House (under some kind of arrangement) to emerging artists. There is something in the peace and the sounds of nature especially as the sun sets or as the sun rises, that is great for the creative soul.

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The Final Wash(up)

This series of paintings is quite personal to me. Without overstating it, a friend of mine has needed multiple surgeries following a hit and run crime against him while riding his bike to work one morning. I have watched him from the first days in hospital (just out of ICU) all the way to watching him work out despite pain.

So, the experience has raised again the nature of illness and recovery as a theme for me. Other related themes include pain as a barrier, the role of the will, family dynamics around a near death experience and the reality of life with the remnants of an injury.

As an artist, all I can do is to paint and draw etc. I have done that. What I wanted to point out is that it’s the process of recovering most visible to the eye. Thus, the painting was a process…washed and re-washed until it finally settled. What is at the end of a big-hearted determination to recover is….a bigger heart. Green in my palette is the healing colour too.

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concepts of art

This is the way I previously described my work. “Organicity” is the concept that I coined. It really boils down to capturing the essence and form of Nature in paintings. In other words, all the lines and structures and repeated forms are all reminiscent of what you see in the world of nature. Energy forms are the parlance of physics, and so many paintings are an attempt to create a visual portrayal of energy, whether it’s electromagnetic or gravitational or dark matter. This then is in metaphorical resonance with our internal energies and emotional states. We emerge into bardo states and meditative contemplation states of mind. That’s what this “Organicity” thing was all about. Now it’s too jargonised for me to refer to. The description or theorising about art should never be necessary for full experience of the depth of a painting. I want a person who has never read about art to feel and enter into the visual world inside a frame that is a metaphor for their own Self.

 

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Walking

IMG_9202.jpg qwe_HDR.jpegWalking into the setting sun…across all societies, a walking through nature into the transcendent sundown carries great meaning. I’m not sure if it’s the sun or the path or the profusion of nature….there is an archetype of power at work here. For me anyway. Some people don’t even think in these terms at all. Some people see the world as an aesthetic and moral and spiritual flatland. Not here though…

The purposeĀ 

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This is one of the few posts you will ever see here that involves knowledge obtained directly from putting in many hours as a psychiatrist (as well as an artist).

I just read an article by some self-appointed and probably well-intentioned authority on how to be successful as an artist. It Ofcourse boiled down to the thesis “keep building your reputation, your prestige, your rating and your profile”. In other words, keep working away at making yourself known by as many art people as possible . Then you will become a successful artist. In the Age of Celebrity, it’s not surprising advice . It’s not even wrong. It’s just boring. And likely a good way to become another lost soul.

Our world is full of depressed, struggling souls with and without the following : money, recognition, reputation, artistic talent, charisma, brilliance, etc etc. These things don’t bring what the real core of a healthy human being wants : an authentic , creative and alive existence. Success ultimately is about living a creative and authentic life that is not dependent on the recognition of others, especially authority figures and the judges of the successful life. The main person you have to satisfy is you (ofcourse it’s nice for others to get joy from what you do as well).

In other words, I am interested in writing about how to live an authentic and creative and invigorating life. Painting and photography just happen to be my close at hand forms of creativity and authenticity . I hope they are not considered the only or even main ways to live a creative and authentic life .

Therefore , advice on how to make it in the art world might be interesting for those who see this as the ultimate goal. I do not. I wonder whether seeing “making it in the art world” may even be often anti-thetical in the quest to “make it in the art world”. Many consumers of art desire to buy a material manifestation of this desire to be creative and free. Egotism and narcissism are don’t usually sell well, do they? Not when they are nakedly revealed anyway.

This blog is not about that narrow goal of success in the art world.

It is about living and appreciating what it is to live a creative and authentic life. It is about the feeling of freedom that creating can give you.

I will try to clarify more and more the differences as we go between motives for art-making.

In a world of broken souls, of searing clinical depression, living a creative and authentic life must be nearer the ultimate goal than the somewhat self-torturing aim of becoming a successful artist. Success as an artist derives (in my value system at least) from pursuing more profound and humanistic paths toward the true and beautiful, the free and playful.

You’ll see what I mean as we go, I hope.