About the Art
So I feel like the art comes to me, or rather through me from, from beyond. Like I step across a threshold into this space, which is further away from the cultural norms and convention. Over a period of time, since I was like, 13 years old, I found that I have a proclivity to, to go into a space of trance, which enables me to see slightly further beyond the world.
I found that a very interesting process to learn to step into my places that allow me to be creative and to envisage this connection. This overturn has led me more and more into my artwork. My deeper interest is in animation and creating visuals for, or as doorways, but my work in this has led me back to making paintings and graphic design knows that using Photoshop, but also various other tools and drawing on a large body of work of hand painting material in the studio.
I step between sketching, painting with acrylics and inks and Photoshop platform, which allows me to manipulate the colours and the layers of texture to create images. Actually I think would be difficult to recreate in another medium. My inspirations come from an early age. As a child I was able to meet with very interesting artists and free thinkers through my dad’s work. These people would include Suzanne Vega and her Cubist work with the Yoruba people at Oshogbo. I was also lucky to have connection through the family to to various artists working at the Glasgow Print Studio during the late 80s, and had quite a lot of encouragement there. From about 15 I was, I was able to see and be invited to exhibitions and openings of very current artists of the time. The inspiration that I had from these experiences coupled with my interest in drawing and painting already led me to enter local exhibitions and selling a whole series of miniature watercolours for a local city-centre cafe.
I went on to paint during the 90s largely club decor and flyer design in Edinburgh and for local festivals. My inspiration comes from my journey over the last 30 years into the world of hallucinogens.
I spent possibly all of that time trying to find a way to integrate, and understand my experiences with LSD, mushrooms, and a whole host of other psychoactive products. One of the things that I found in those spaces is a level of information that is culturally not available to us. And yet, comes from an intelligence that is far beyond our cultural learning.
I find this space very interesting and stimulating and I’m fairly convinced that actually there is an intelligence, beyond the three dimensional level of this world, which is actually asking for us to step into and find a way to communicate with it. To me, I’ve become fairly convinced that actually there’s a corridor through which a dialogue can be opened ourselves and the “Other”. In the presence of this “Other” we look at level of information that is bewildering and yet, is also highly pertinent to our struggle to understand ourselves and our position on this planet.
I believe that it is the job of the artists, the visionary and the shaman to step beyond the cultural bounds and enter into these
Other, often extremely alien spaces, in order to bring back parts of the information that is there, and to do it in such a way that it’s accessible to those who are seeking seeking the healing and understanding.
We’re at a very delicate point in our in our collective cultural history where actually, we are witnessing a transition into a state of awareness that is hugely detrimental to not only our own nature but also to the planet herself. And somewhere it is important that we actually address this.
To me the role of the artist is to step into these spaces and to bring back answers; to bring back ideas from the mechanism of this higher mind; the overmind of this planet. The tribal peoples who we see as primitive actually have mastered this technology and have kept this technology alive for thousands if not hundreds of thousands of years.
And we are the younger brothers. We are trying to relearn something that was culturally damaged almost to the point of destruction during the witch hunts. My understanding of of the witchcraft and the fairy-faith magic mushroom cults of the Middle Ages was that these people actually had access to these other places and, therefore, were much closer connected to the planet Herself and to the to the rhythms of the earth: how we live in a relative harmony with with the planet around us. We were burned for it!!!
This is a part of history that we’re not actually taught this is, this is a part of history that is actually brushed brushed under the carpet. Yes, we’re taught how to look at the kings and queens and the economic models of this period of time, but we’re not into a world of the folk belief. As I see it, the damage that has been created by the church interms of the destruction of our indigenous understanding and connection to the to the Earth has gone largely unseen during the last 2000yrs of dominator culture.
In terms of our history, if we step into the myth-models of cultural heritage as seen in the stories of the early Celtic world that are kept alive in the Irish tradition, then, actually, we see the seasons of the years turning we see the, the gods and the goddesses making pact with the earth around them. It has been said that history is the fashionable reportage of the times. So I have spent the last 20-odd years trying to find a mechanism to bring back the patterns; the fractal-mathematical model of information that is available in the inside the psychedelics, and to bring this into a space where the information is available to to everybody.
Doing this with video is actually relatively easy, doing this with with traditional painting and graphics is actually not so easy at all.
In terms of what Levi Strauss talked about there is the code, and the role the “langue” and the “parole”. Parole ( speech) is the moment of history, or moment of culture as seen in a slice section in the present moments, whereas the langue (language), is the cultural code through time: a longer patterns that play outs.
Within this I see that the use of video as a means of explaining fractal and mathematical models of the universe is actually much easier than trying to find a piece of parole. I used to think of my pen and ink work like this too, as the window for the work was very limited in comparison to painting oils. My work is also inspired by the fact that I live in the mountains. I live in the middle of the forest; there’s something like the size of Greater London around me and there’s about 3000 people live here year round.
I live with nature. I live in in in a forest, that is, you know, several hundred thousand hectares, with streams and mountains, and my little garden is perched on the side of a hill in the middle of nowhere.
I am afforded such a gift! I step out into the night and the night is dark. I step out into the night and the night is alive; alive with the murmur of trees and the sound of animals and with the fractal-sparkling of moonlight between the leaves and the space between the spaces becomes very much something that we are; that we become aware of in this in this solitude, in this in this quiet.
I sit and I watched the forest I’ve watched the forest for 15 years now, and I see my trees changing I see them. You know: the leaves moving and talking to each other, I witness the trees growing and trees dying and, and the world going on in a very prime primal way. And I find this hugely encouraging to my art to my, my sense of well being; to the peace in my soul and my very existence.
And it comes back in the art. It comes back in my learning to understand the patterns that we have around us that more and more we have let go of in the West. More and more we’ve moved away from, and forgotten that this is nature and that we are that (Tat Tvam Asi – that which thou art) That nature is arts.
It’s not a moment too soon that we come back to a point where we start listening to the earth around us.
It’s time to actually open these channels again, and to begin to decode the information to understand humbly our place in this world and to stop trying to dominate and challenge something that we, as a culture have actually neglected.
A Bit of Bio
Oh what to say? I’ve been painting, drawing, making and dreaming for getting on 35yrs now. At points I’ve been quite serious with it, at other times I’ve turned my creativity to other things.
My passion, I suppose is patterns and the play of light and I’ve experimented with multiple media over the years.
In the 80’s, as a teenager I was quite into pen and ink/watercolours of landscapes, and although I didn’t get to “do” art at school i was in a local art class for a couple of years, and through friends was also introduced to the Glasgow Printmakers Studio.. I really enjoyed doing the work, and although I sold several dozens locally, I was persuaded that I should do something more serious with my life.
By the mid 90’s I was studying Archeology and the Anthropology of Ritual Practices in Edinburgh, under the guidance of Dr Roy Willis, who became my teacher, mentor and fascilitator into shamanic journeying. By the time i finished my MA in Rite and Community Identity I ended up working with the community theatre group Beltane Fire Society both in production,direction and creative making. At this point I also started painting again making, large scale UV decor and publicity flyers for club and festivals. I also started my interest in Photoshop, and over the next few years connected back also to the pen and ink work from previously, but with a whole new approach and direction. The Archeology Drawing Room was full of artefacts and I’d spent many a happy hour drawing flints, pottery, bronze items and bones as well as learning the basics of cartography and plan making ( maps). Also I’d come across various works in my studies including books on ornamentation and sacred geometry – my work moved into patterns and a more spiritual context.
By the end of the 90’s I went on to do a MSc in multimedia, and became fascinated by the making of animation, and taking art pieces into a vitual environment to transform them through time – i suppose that I was also quite influenced by the thought processes of Post Structural Anthropology, and how Cultural Memes transform in time, and the relevance to visual art. I had also touched into performance theory, trance art and liminality, and in moments think that my work is more like a download for spirit.
During this period, I also worked on festival publicity, and developing a kind of pen/ ink wash pseudo-batik using mask etc.
I move to France in 2002 and set up a wee studio in my mum’s house ( she’d died that year, and there was a whole load of work to do on the building) .. so I settled in, with a 60m2 studio space, and began to experiment. I started to do a bit of photo-etching ( not very well), continued with the hand drawn graphics, and learned to paint abstract oils for a while. At some point over this period, I ended up moving into a tipi with Jen, who had 2 small boys, and we had a daughter together. It was evident from the first time that I had to scrub one of the boys clean with white spirits (because they’d done face-painting with oil paints) that having an art studio and having some kinds around were made not too compatible.
We started making yurts, commercially.
When we separated, i had already got a new computer together, and had started playing again with the video work, and developing that a bit – it was more a hobby, although bit by bit i started doing projections in dance /evenings and got right back to after effects/photoshop et al.
When i damaged my back, a few years ago while working, it became clear that i needed to explore a different direction again, and quite naturally have found my way back to my art work – both digitally, and hand drawn. I’m at a point now, were i can see where i want it to go towards but get lost in the markiting and media profile side of it all – it doesnt help that the years of living on the mountain have really brought up my introverted self, and being in the middle of nowhere also has it disadvantages that getting work “out there” is quite hard
I’m really looking forwards to finding “my voice” and learning how to move this all forwards .. big leap for me!! even in writing this, I feel my comfort zone crumbling.
About 4-5yrs ago I had a spine accident while working in the forest, and spent getting on 6mths in bed a lot of the time… ( it was the third injury like this, each time has brought through a drive to paint/create ).
I live well out the way any way, and my life became even more quiet, and I felt very lucky that I had already done quite a lot of Vipasanna and breath-work .. at some point I recall going to bed and feeling like something was rolling over me/into me from outside and streams of information, for want of another word… It was a beginning of something that has become really frequent and is always accompanied with quite strong tinnitus and a calling to get up in the middle of the night as the Milky Way is in mid heaven over the mountain…. sometimes, I just sit in the dark starlight and kinda fractal visions pour into me from a silent forest… The plant medicines have been helping me tune in, and like I said, download… The pictures happen with a mild trance-space, like I am just being a technician or midwife helping them to birth… Sometimes they are static, sometimes they become animated and I’m feeling out for other ways to make them into the world. It is always very “Shamanic” in its possession.
About a year and a half ago, i started to think to put some of the patterns on legging, and so made a etsy shop using a POD format to see how it went.. this in turn has brought me deeper into my digital print making and experimentation, and in that i have recognised that i just want to make art, to touch people, and to grow the project into something as big as i can imagine … to find my ‘voice’ as you call it, and shine
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