Imagine walking through a sunny Summer meadow when you suddenly come upon a very high foreboding stone wall. It stretches out to the left and right, just as far as your eyes can see. That wall is in your path and will not let you go any further. However, you notice a doorway created in the wall, so you quickly in a rush of energetic human excitement run swiftly towards it.
But as you get nearer and can see it more clearly, you realize that the doorway itself is bricked over. Your hopes for proceeding beyond the wall are dashed because truly you do not know how to conquer this seemingly insurmountable obstacle. All your feelings, hopes for a bright Summer day's enjoyment come smashing and crashing down around you.
This impenetrable doorway is my symbolic metaphor for the stumbling blocks of our own limitations in comprehending our world and understanding life. While we all know in truth there are many walls to be faced, I am limiting the walls in this ramble to the notions of communicating.
that understand life through a writing and reading interpretation give
expression to thought through the use of words. They carry a key to
unlock the bricked over door. For a truly great and gifted word and
text based interpreter the doorway swings open as they approach it.
When life is understood through a seeing interpretation we know of these
individuals as our visual artists. They give expression to thoughts
through sight, responding and reaffirming life through deep visualization,
carrying the key to open that bricked door. For a truly great and gifted
visual interpreter the doorway dissolves in their presence.
So just what do I mean when I use the words visual translator or text
based translator? Creativity comes from within the subconscious being.
Good translators are able to take raw intuitions and interior insight,
pass them through a translation process giving them life into human
approachable mediums, thus communicating to others their inner intuitive
moved me to author this ramble is the confusion there appears to be
in the artistic approach to vision. Respected institutions of higher
creative learning encourage and promote word and text based thought
and comprehension but in fact do little in the way of trying to cultivate
pure intuitively visually based translators. It's much easier for the
academics to write read and grade words as artistic intentions committed
to paper than to try and grasp and come to know somebody's genuine inner
artistic voice and core visions.
It's my belief then that we as a society are stumbling badly and have
become increasingly sightless in the pure visual realm. We foster and
tend to rely on just the obvious text based intellectual end of the
human spectral band, with it's surface levels of inconsequential visual
comprehension, which then ironically in art especially has to be retranslated
into something which we can actually see as "visual art".
Unfortunately this modern day clumsy round about way of aesthetic communicating,
results in creatively limited and visually inferior artistic endeavours
being put forth by those in power as our great works of art these days.
all have walls, those bricked up doorways that stand there blocking
our way. Here's what happens on my own walk through that sunny Summer
field. I come to the huge stone wall, it's height and massive foreboding
scale frightens me. However I can see and indeed recognize the potential
and the need to pass though that doorway. These days, as I've matured
the visual blockage seems, in my mind at least, to be dissolving and
melting right in front of me. Often I am on the other side in a mere
instant with cosmic visually-based infinity firmly in sight.
However, that is not the case for me when I am in front of the word
and text based wall. I am stopped and thwarted by that bricked over
doorway. As time passes I find myself simply scribbling madly on the
outer surface of the brick wall, with the growing self realization that
I can not easily pass through it. I continually am hunting for that
hidden key; the one to help me unlock that particular door.
My own predicament over this word and text door is no different than
what others are facing when standing in front of their visual doorway.
Unfortunately word and text based interior translators are having their
work exhibited and promoted as being our genuine seeing creative artistic
translations. Sadly we as a modern society are not supporting nor even
acknowledging many of our authentic visual interior translators. With
the result that we are in the process of simply losing sight of our
cosmic gifts including unique and original aesthetic seeing.
GROUNDING THE ISSUE - LET'S START AT THE BEGINNING
If you were to pause for just a moment and reflect on it, you are suddenly
brought forth from your eternal and infinite dwelling place with it's
unknowing and unfettered state of never ending bliss. You were literally
there on an intimate one to one basis with the whole universal cosmic
soul, in an eternally safe keeping place, one of pure genuine truthful
ecstasy, and one which lasted for ageless eons upon eons.
All the while this little world of ours, Earth, progressed to the point
of producing offshoots of what we think of as human life. In doing so
it passed each and every day totally and completely oblivious to the
potential of your wait in the wings and imminent arrival.
Then suddenly and dramatically as all mammalian organic based birthing
is, you were forced, literally pushed out quite abruptly head first
from your blissful solitude into chaotic human life on this tiny and
cosmically very insignificant in the general realm of things, living
whirling space globe. This happenstance occurring only by sheer cosmic
fate and the quirkiness of infinite random chance.
So there you are a pure miracle of conscious and cosmic life finding
yourself alive literally in the midst of unimaginable endless vacuous
space but on a tiny cosmic oasis that supports organic life. Fortunately
for you it's one containing a multitude of pure core based cosmic life
forms, all of different shapes, sizes, and of various potentials.
With any luck at all you just might possibly live for roughly eighty
earth based years, but that's only very chancy at best and certainly
should only be regarded as give and take. There are many obstacles in
one's way to living eighty years on this planet, a long human conscious
Earthly life is not fully guaranteed by birth here.
In the end when your human life is all but spent you will close your
eyes and mind one last time before suddenly dissolving back into endless
eternity. That more normal place and in fact proper natural state of
cosmic existence, one of genuine unknowing bliss where you will reside
safely in the lap of the larger universal soul, happily remaining that
way for literally trillions of years on into the never ending future.
The Cosmos itself metaphysically comes forward at that moment of your
earthly human demise to more or less regain or recapture and suddenly
once again become you. It is the final word, the ultimate and most profound
of Cosmic truths, that of complete and total oneness at the basic levels
of reality. You become essentially one and the same thing, whether you
know or even care about this fact or not.
So if your human based life here is in the end nothing more than a completely
meaningless happening, especially when it's seen and looked at in the
naked searing light of a midday brightly illuminated cosmic reality,
what vain and far reaching wishes, what human longings and faint heart
inspired hopes would you like for your life on this tiny Cosmic oasis?
The sun bleached time weathered white bone truth is....this awkward
and indeed quite temporary, insignificant human state actually represents
but an infinitesimal fraction of a fraction of a tiny half blink of
one's total existence in this current version of the cosmos.
Surely that fact alone would bring our rather meager earthly accomplishments
and minor human achievements into a very razor sharp focus, and tends
to put them into quite a crystal clear and a very acute cosmic wide
Unfortunately for all of us there are powerful, highly organized well entrenched intellectually infected and affected minds alive and operating on our tiny living oasis. This planet of ours is ravenously being consumed by greedy careless for profit only human rationalizations, all of this being lead and controlled by narrow minded uncaring human beings. I believe they are missing core elements or are harbouring something like or perhaps it's akin to a human mind centered debilitating thought prone degeneration, or in truth it's a thinking blight. It affects and consumes many of the brighter upwardly mobile word and text thinkers within the population. Influencing not only their ethical and aesthetic reasonings but also subtly modifying and distorting the attempts they make at any creative rationalizations.
I am naming this illusive and thought warping illness "intellectualitis".
It involves how we think through and logic over issues to arrive at
our decisions. It is a subtle and for the most part a covert affliction.
When seen on the surface the individuals will look and act perfectly
normal. However the affected person usually comes to light when they
have to make core-founded interpretations, decisions and actions based
on intuitive reasoning. As corrupted thoughts from these diseased individuals
travel along tainted mental pathways they can and do create problems,
especially if that person is in a responsible position of authority.
Their thinking affects lives and molds the future values of our society.
I suppose if I were to try and describe it for you, I imagine it would
be like trying to look and view the world through a window pane that
is tainted, crackled and frosted, and has become grossly contorted and
kaleidoscoped from past decades of careless handling and misuse. A true
core based thinker sees the world through clear unaltered, unaffected,
unbiased glass. The decisions they make will reflect decent and proper
moral as well as artistic values, I think of them as being "core sound".
the energy that contains, holds, and maintains the cream or perhaps
the nectar baring human beings, those who are caring, understanding,
and are truly cosmically worthy, are thoroughly unorganized, completely
overwhelmed and quite widely scattered. Many do exist but there is nothing
and no one driving or leading them like plain greed is for self aggrandizement
that's driving those dark mercenary minded forces. So they keep tightly
knit, in a sort of self imposed protective exile, living and sheltering
themselves in small isolated but hopefully safe family sized pockets.
Doing so in a effort to simply survive amongst the surrounding threatening
mental darkness in the bubbling over pressure-cooker style of our present
day highly commercially oriented life styles.
What we collectively have allowed to occur, the foundation of hostile
careless unquenchably greedy societies in which we now find ourselves
living, and how we survive in them. What we face daily in our lives,
is nothing less than an endless mind numbing no less than continual
bully terrorizing intellectual assault. It comes to us in the form of
an ongoing commercially driven mental brain washing, one that's being
backed by a subtle and threatening mob like assertion of having some
greater authority. The drum beat calls out for everyone to get on the
fast paced consuming treadmill and be just like everyone else; or else
you are nothing.
The truth is our societies are totally dominated by capricious and avaricious
motives. They are not places where you can find any human compassion
and warmth or plain organically based comfort. In reality this form
of mind numbing constant over blown commercial hype and continual huckster
style onslaught tends to leave a majority of us with feelings of hopeless
inadequacies, and indeed harbouring thoughts of worthlessness at the
display of overt industrial power that's being continually pushed into
our minds each and every day.
THE STRUGGLE FOR CREATIVITY
It is no different in the art world. It's foolish to believe that our modern day fast food chain restaurants can actually provide us with a proper nutritional meal. When it comes to art the sad truth is it's really no different regarding our museums. They really only support those with some form of pull or who arrive through connections, or those who might be the "in" thing at that moment, or the museums often simply jump on somebody else's passing band wagon, even if the art that's being shown is academically inspired mombo jumbo or in many cases is obviously commercially derived, or simply lacks in genuine core inspired creative aesthetic.
Believing that our museums are the scared bastions for the collecting
and storing and exhibiting great art work is simply a faulty assumption.
Influential and powerful but sadly one sided emotionally bereft or simply
denying art world moguls have virtually taken over the human artistic
realm and are leading it by the hand carelessly astray. If you imagine
those business types who are running the film industry and the commercial
radio and television industry, you should really think of the art industry
as being run in that same revealing pose. Those in charge have just
about completely removed and are replacing through ignorant carelessness
much of the emotional and intuitive visually based creative core born
energy. Year by year genuine visual art is being led further and further into
the desolate and barren artistic wilderness, far, far away from it's
own passionate and guiding deep seeing core intelligence. It's swiftly
being replaced by art coming from a short sighted academic conceptions
of what art should be about, but the truth is, not what it's really
meant to be in the core sense of that medium.
state of art has become so twisted, distorted, and sadly completely
"modern" and so untruthful that our higher centers of learning
only educate for and then produce solely word and text intellectually
only based artists, who become seat of power sanctified. Mental only
but in no way organically insipred interior translators, that we then
proclaim as being our creative visual artists. In fact by denying and
dismissing our intuitive core emotions and then having to clumsily retranslate
from text based modes of conceptualizing into a purely visual presentation,
their art appears artificially contrived and creatively surface bound
not to mention aesthetically restricted.
The fact that many of these intellectually based so called artists are
also intuitively core talentless doesn't seem to bother those in academia
or the art community in general. They hand out their degrees and graduate
them as being full fledged artists never the less. A scary thought when
you think of all the doctors of medicine and perhaps dentists who are
only chasing the high money trail, also being blindly churned out by
those very same uncaring no doubt unknowing academic systems.
And then the powers that be in the museum and commercial gallery worlds
have the nerve and sheer gall to exhibit this work to the public as
being genuine visual creativity. If the truth be known the art world
seems to be naively accepting, promoting, and even lavishing undue praise
on what are nothing more than visually and emotionally bereft and infact
creatively challenged but not genuine intuitively gifted artists.
It's as if a human created intellectual demonic beast of sorts infected
with "intellectualities" has been set loose and is on a fully
blown rampage against authentic creative seeing. The artistic community
consisting of the commercial galleries and the museum world are not
truly interested in seeing or promoting genuine core based creativity.
More I believe they simply follow the current pedantic trends and tend
to jump on the band wagons of whom ever is spieling out the most vociferous
and blatant hot button message, regardless of what the actual visually
based development and intrinsic value of the art work is.
It's the inbred nature of modern art to appear lazy and shiftless, which
is merely a reflection on the artistic individuals who exert minimalist
amounts of toil and scant creative energy to contrive it. Now let's
face it, in reality this demented beast of human carelessness is nothing
more than ourselves. We collectively have aimlessly and without rational
thought allowed this mental demon to give birth and come fully to life.
Then as if birthing wasn't enough we let it grow over time and fully
mature. Only to then have it leap forth completely, fully formed and
all powerful in it's grown up mature state. We have permitted this blight
to infest our creative reasoning, jumping into the artistic milieu and
completely without mercy devour us.
style of artist production is ultimately derailed by it's own intellectual
arrogance. "Intellectualitis" that robs creativity of a balance
between intellect, emotion, and genuine core insight; art's very life
force. These shallow intellectual only translators exert undo influences
over a visually ignorant and sadly unaware public. Through the wide
acceptance and exhibition of their work, which is viewed as a tacit
nod and approval, they exert persuasion and affect anyone who is reaching
out instinctively to find their own true core translators. We are all
being unknowingly seduced by a collective mob like mentality into a
surface level intellectual tribal dance of visual-less emotionless sleep
walking zombie like state of none organic unawarness. Allowing ourselves
to be herded, convinced into following, walking along in a mindless
fools cavalcade that's being lead by blinkered bureaucratically and
mercenarily based individuals, who are literally unable to peer across
and recognize the entire human spectrum of creative being that exists.
Genuine inspired art flows out of an individual usually in spite of
everything in it's way or what's going on around them. It's unaffected;
it's blindly driven by harmonic creative roots and flows forth from
a place of stark naked and frighteningly emotional honesty. However,
artists that conceive their ideas around word and text thought without
any emotional empathy and then attempt to retranslate those concepts
into a form of visual art generally stumble and fall short with their
visual interpretations. Art that is meant to communicate by being seen
must be conceived, birthed, and translated directly from the core of
genuine creation into the visual realm.
is not that the intellectual component within creativity is flawed or
even that it should be discarded or distrusted, on the contrary. It's
more that in it's patriarchal arrogance it's denying the emotional aspects
of the creative circle and is not aware of or worse yet, simply dismisses
the visual component. On it's own intellectual artistic translation
is aimlessly adrift and thus unable to reach it's artistic infinity,
lacking a true inner balance. Isolated intellectual creative thought
becomes literally earth bound and human frail surface made falling to
the cracked mud bound Earth, unable to take flight and glide soaring
high on rising artistic thermals.
Intellectual conceptual art that denies and totally dismisses it's emotional
self and in alot of cases is carelessly and crudely fabricated, is nothing
more than arrogant and incompetent visual graffiti. But worse, it is
art that masquerades and is able to pose as genuine seeing. While these
artists have their words, (a friend of mine calls it "artspeak") that
attempts to explain or justify creative intentions, in truth these artists
lack the authentic visual skills to impart magic into their works. As
a result they simply play incompetently with their materials, or in
some cases have others more proficient actually fabricate the work for
them. Many are unable to ignite and combust creatively or perhaps their
visual translator is laying still born and dead within their central
When there is a balance of intellect with emotions and deep visualization
the artist is literally and frighteningly revealed naked before themselves
and the watching world. The essence of this and the important thing
is, everyone knows it. And that is where the truth comes from. There
is no creative posing, faking, deception, pretending or in fact any
where to run and hide.
These artistic translators are the makers and creators of true magic;
they represent the preservation of inspired original core human artistic
values. However, art work that is solely intellectual in content, bereft
of spirit and commences it's visual life through solely intellectual
word and text origins, in the end becomes nothing more than visual "white
noise." Generally birthed inside institutionally inspired settings,
these modern art movements inevitably represent and sound out the discordant
death rattle over the bleached and weathered bones belonging to pure
is the thing, the heart of the matter as it were, when we take the time
to balance conceptual values with emotional strengths and dare to add
vision and deep seeing to the communication we have the magical ingredients
that will allow us to soar all the way out to aesthetic infinity.
MY OWN JOURNEY WITH CREATIVITY
When I was searching and seeking my own creative path I took my first photographic fine art portfolio of very creative images or so I thought, somewhat nervously and yes no doubt youthfully arrogant to show museum curators thirty five years ago. They in turn showed me academically oriented photographs as examples of deemed to be good imagery. I suppose I was shown these in the hope I would aspire to produce the type of photographic art work much cherished in the museum's collection.
This was my first inkling of the overall system and the link between
the museum and academic worlds and the struggle for and against genuine
artistic creativity. Many of the photographers in the collections actually
taught photography at respected academic institutions and were considered
to be more or less the fine art front runners in the then photographic
However, earning a formal academic degree in the art world does not
mean that you actually have or can draw upon inner based visual translation
skills or artistic talent. It simply means that you know and can work
well in the academic system, jumping successfully through all of their
required intellectual hoops.
Even though at the time when I first looked at those academically inspired
images, I thought there had to be more drive and raw core talent mixed
into the creative ingredients I too jumped through the hoops, not academically
but in a visual sense. I found myself trying to produce the accepted,
but somehow always in the back of my mind, simple "photocopy" style
of photographic work.
clearly viewed museum acceptance and praise to be a very highly prized
possession. Sure I know, it was probably just youth and a very cocky
self, wanting that "good boy" patting on the head. Luckily I was also
one who was mercilessly pushing my own red buttons, asking probing questions,
provoking clashes and tension filled angst to the creative spirit residing
Finally, at last someone important listened to what I was saying - that
is I listened to myself and eventually was able to make the move and
jump onto a path of creative discovery. I actually remember the moment,
the specific time at 3:00am one Spring morning sitting bolt upright
on the edge of the bed, my head cradled in my hands, on yet another
long night of soul searching. Why should I always have to gear my inner
creative self to, as I saw it, somebody else's pedestrian visual ideals?
Better I just come out of the visual closet as it were, and made the
decision to stand upright and start walking under the power of my own
I suspected, even feared that I might be leaving my deeply rooted but
incredibly restrictive photographic perceptions behind. Everything I
knew about creating images had been done in a photographic context.
I had to recreate myself as an image-maker, but one who uses photography
as their medium. After all when you think about it, all of the frenetic
tribal dancing centering around photography is being led by wholly avaricious
interests. Those numerous magazines like "Life" or "National
Geographic" and the like, as well as the large contingent of commercially
produced coffee table photo books, not to mention the very large drum
beat of the constantly flailing commercial photographic world, who members
all think they are pure photographic artists and not the commercial
hucksters they truly are. All of which tends to perceive photography
in just one very narrow "photocopy" dimension, and of course
are in full control setting the agenda and skillfully maneuvering this
photographic dance carefully around the none core creative commercially
founded mercenary arena.
The new direction I have taken lead me away from photographing an interesting
landscape anomaly, a small detail taken from a landscape setting, as
a single photo copy style image. While I still take the images using
a camera and computer process them just like everyone, it now takes
hundreds of individual images to literally capture that same landscape
detail. In my dedication to image perfection I continue to use my images
wholly intact and never ever think of cropping a single frame... ever
Back in the studio after I have printed the images and in effect recreate
what was originally in front of me, it's then that I begin to give birth
to the work that will shape who I am as an artist. I let my inner core
vision seek out and find it's visual voice, listening carefully to what
the object visually conveys. In essence I negate what was literally
there in front of me and simply photocopied using my camera, recreating
something that has and carries the true credentials within it to actually
rate being called art.
This type of multi image creative photographic work wasn't a new idea
coming from within me, but one that I had to rescue from an inner pride
that simply sought praise and acceptance but gave little importance
to my own visually inspired mother tongue. I can now look back and see
the first signs of an inner nature that would be part of this rescue.
father purchased my first serious camera, I begged and pleaded for it,
went on a campaign when I was just 13 years old. Once I had it and without
even having film loaded, I would wonder around clicking pictures with
my range finder. Somehow having film didn't seem to matter, the actual
act of taking or pretending to capture images seemed to be more than
enough back then.
During my university years I was introduced to the world of commercial
photography. I have no, nor have I taken any photographic training or
artistic schooling ... totally zip. University represented no more than
the opportunity to work as a photographer on the daily newspaper and
be the photo editor on the yearbook committee and this lead to commercial
photographic studios. I hung around watching and absorbing, jumping
quickly to sweep floors, carry and tidy after a shoot, expecting nothing
in return. It was here I received my education. While my parents thought
I was attending university, I worked in the studio for little more than
bus fare and arranged for someone to tape-record my classes.
I exaggerated to the people running the studio. Of course I could print
colour or black and white, and develop sheet film transparencies. I
walked into the darkroom with Kodak technical books under my arm and
began printing and processing film. Learning by simply reading and then
doing it on the spot, flying by the seat of my photographic pants.
However, as time passed there was a strong yearning within me, a forceful,
powerful calling that questioned, surely not, this can't be all there
is to it. I was so sure there had to be more. That quest stayed with
me as I worked in several advertising studios. I spent almost ten years
working commercially, taking mercenary photographs, and being very well
remunerated for it, simply fascinated by and experimenting with, indeed
absolutely loving the methodology in both the colour and black and white
darkroom work. I lived, worked and ate photography twenty-four hours
a day, seven days a week year in and year out. I simply adored it, nothing,
and I mean nothing else really mattered to me.
Initially I understood what a photograph was, a skilfull copy of the thing that was sitting in front of the camera. You know that cliché photograph of a cherry tree captured in an image fully blooming during Spring time. I often wondered to myself if it could ever be a genuine work of art? At one time in my life early on I truly wanted and naturally thought it to be that way.
I have now come to believe is this, for any photograph to be a genuine
work of creative art, that simple mechanical photocopy of the subject,
say a cherry tree has to be just the very beginning of the creative
process and not simply the end of it. In truth the actual image itself
that's sitting in front of the camera has always defeated most photographers,
they have not fought and wrestled with it to eventually overcome and
master the image. Until you go beyond the initial image capture and
the admittedly tiresome and tedious processing stages and begin to instill
a magical creative hands-on essence into the work, by putting something
there that did not actually exist, something coming from the spirit
found in the creative realm, you do not actually have a condition existing
that might be called genuine art.
wish to suggest that a photograph is often considered to be art only
by the way it is actually presented to the public and not because of
it's own intrinsic artistic merit. As an example; consider the photographer
who in the Spring time captures that beautifully blooming cherry tree
on film, or these days digitally on media cards, it's essentially the
"thing", the tree that is carefully photocopied directly onto
transparency or digital film. One of the transparencies or digital files
is taken to a commercial reproduction house and it ends up as April's
colourful Spring image on next year's calendar. The same image is also
taken into the darkroom or to a computer terminal and is tweaked, fussed
over and then finally printed out. It is carefully double window matted,
beautifully framed in maple wood, and displayed on a gallery wall thus
presented to the public as a full fledged work of art. The only difference
between them is that one is being presented as a work of art and the
other one is in a massed produced in throw away calendar.
reality is this, regardless of how they are presented that cherry tree
image is just a technically well done simple "photo copy" of what was
sitting in front of the photographer at a certain place and certain
time. Sure they had to go out and find or "see" the image, even wait
for the right lighting and conditions. However in this example, it's
not the mechanically made photographic image itself that makes it a
work of art, but more where or how it's presented. When a photograph
ends up being merely a mechanically made photocopy of a "thing"
in front of a recording devise, a camera, it truly lacks genuine artistic
conviction and creative motivations. And that is the same even if the
thing that's photographed was fabricated and is being carefully controlled
and manipulated by the image maker themselves.
Photographers put all of their efforts into fine tuning and tweaking
the technical aspects of the medium, fussing and farting with equipment
but in the end do little to further their creative artistic vision.
Their time, resources, and vast amounts of energy are spent simply travelling
about looking for or even creating the best "thing" or finding the best
"place" to photograph. They are content and satisfied with being just
the mechnically based scribe, an image maker excelling at the technical
mechanical foreplay that's inherent in the photographic craft, but unfortunately
do not follow through with that critical breath of creative artistic
soul, something that would transform the work into having a life as
true core based art. In a way it's quite natural. The type of mind needed
to understand the workings of complex cameras and figure out the ins
and outs of technical processes is a lot to ask on its own and essentially
different than that of someone who is more artistically and creatively
So am I saying that the idea of simply "photocopying" an object is lacking
worthiness? While it might sound like it, I do not believe that is the
case. There is nothing more wonderful than viewing a well done technically
superb photograph. I admire and know full well the skill and talent
involved in learning and working with this sophisticated technically
produced visual language. But perhaps in truth that's all it is, just
a mechanically made image and in the end, in the cold naked light of
truthful introspection, not truly a genuine intuitively born creative
work of art.
Now I can share with you that type of straight forward mechanical photocopy
approach used by photographers and the photographic medium in general
began to represent sever creative artistic limitations for me personally.
Like being told you only had one mecanically reproduced page in which
to write an entire book. I was simply visually desirous of having more
pages on which to create my intuitive photographically founded art works.
When I felt that had to move on from the photographic realm, because
of its own self inflicted inbred limitations. As well as the confining
none creative shackles that are being place on it, mostly by our museums
of art and the commercial gallery world. The photographic realm where
I had been suckled, weaned, and nurtured for most of my life, I stepped
into and looked uneasily into the wild eyes of another world. Individuals
let's call them "artists" were out there simply using photography
with little if any knowledge of it and certainly with no respect for
the medium. Some of them hired equipment proficient commercial photographers
to take their images and actually had photo labs commercially produce
their art work.
For them, the photographic context seemed an easy route to follow, with
no understanding of the medium and absolutely no relationship to it,
one could actually very easily produce "art". I watched as
these artists functioned using the medium to express their, for lack
of a better word "creativity" but without thought love nor
care for any of photography's technical aspects. Acting as if sheer
blissful ignorance and a disinterested approach to working procedural
knowledge, somehow in someway elevated them to a higher authority within
the artistic creative pecking order.
CREATIVITY IN VISION
What I was looking for was the blending of a creative and technical mind. Resolved visual art is the combination of intangible elements woven tightly together through a passion for the vehicle or tool that is the chosen medium of expression and the ability of the image maker to harness both emotional and intellectual inner core energy and then translate this directly into vision. If you remove any one of these components, as much of the art being made these days has done, that art, (I call it intellectual fart) becomes effectively lifeless and effectively "still born".
medium I have chosen is vision (photography is just the reproduction
devise I use to get my images onto paper ). Pure vision is a strong
communicative language; one that is well known. For the most part we
all have eyes to see, using them to carry on with our daily lives. We
look at things in front or to the sides even behind us but do we really
see and take in all that is waiting to be discovered by mortals within
This is what I mean. I am taken on an outing in the beautiful countryside
by two avid outdoors walkers and constant woodland hikers. I casually
ask them if they have ever seen deer or hawks in the hills and dales
where we are walking. No they respond in twenty years of daily walking
around these hills there have been absolutely no deer and hardly any
hawk sightings. There are no deer to be found in these parts I am confidently
assured, they were simply killed off years ago.
Now wouldn't you know it, not ten minutes into our walk and I have to
say, look there isn't that a group of deer over there in the valley
and isn't that a hawk now circling above them. We stop and get out the
binoculars for a closer look, and sure enough in a brightly sunlit open
meadow are a group of deer calmly grazing and enjoying the warm summer
morning sun, while a large red tailed hawk circled on the rising thermals
Even on a superficial level of just seeing our environment, are we truly
capable of actually perceiving and enjoying the world in which we live?
The language of vision is a multi dimensional and multi spatial form
of communication with its own inherent sensibilities and strengths.
If only we could take pure vision, deep seeing and translate it smoothly
and seamlessly through the human intellect directly into the art form
without incurring a loss in translation that happens if you first pass
it through other communication filters.
I have noticed that alot of what we call visual art is actually filtered
through a mental translator belonging to another medium. So where is
the harm in exchanging visual translation with lets say text based translators?
Especially if the words, "artspeak," help someone to comprehend
the meaning and substance contained within the work, why the need to
question this artistic word maze that has been created?
problem is that most often the delicate visual interpretation becomes
derailed by our old friend, "intellectualitis". In the end
words on paper "artspeak" tends to dominate becoming just a crafty way
of substituting and of subtly switching required creative talents. Artistic
vision, deep seeing is replaced by a surrogate of conceptual thinking,
often very immature and surface bound, closely accompanied by a dense
labyrinth of misdirecting smoke and mirrors text, baffling "artspeak".
The first causality to occur in this clever rouse is pure vision and
genuine core seeing. Instead of requiring true vision as one's creative
talent, to work as a visual artist, one must instead possess academically
based conceptualization skills with a deft proficiency in language and
accompanying writing skills.
It really is two completely separate ways of communicating and expressing
creativity. While one can have an artistic concept that reads perfectly
well on paper, dazzling and overwhelming everyone who reads it, it's
entirely another matter to have the visual skills required to make it
come alive in a magical all seeing context.
From where I sit the pure visual translators involved in making art
have been stealthily and covertly hijacked. It has happened subtly so
much so that I must ask if anyone has noticed? Vision through creative
core seeing has been shrewdly replaced with artificially contrived,
solely intellectual concocted concepts supported by linguistically based
obfuscating veils that are devoid of core emotions. The words hide and
mask a raw reality of very limited deep seeing. Visual creativity, that
ability to actually truly "see", has been replaced by shallow "art"
that merely floats and bobs around the outer surface layers of true
creativity, which everybody then applauds.
While this is nothing more than insincere attempts at art, I acknowledge
that it is more easily taught by those in academia. It requires a different
approach to teach vision and creative deep seeing than in educating
someone to be proficient in word or text based "artspeak"
and it's close companion of insubstantial creativity. The fact is this
world operates more naturally and comfortably within that written word
context, it is after all how we educate the youth.
So why have genuine visual artists - those true core individuals - allowed
this to happen? I suppose it's the same reason that one runs and hides
from perceived overwhelming threats. We are more inclined to simply
get out of harms way by running for the hills. Going into that self-imposed
exile but still able to carry on with our work, translating and speaking
as we do through our subconscious in a pure visual tongue.
Would be artists who simply fall into, adopt, or are influenced by non
visual creativity are missing the balance, the intelligence involved
with deep visualization. And that's okay, after all maybe in their world
truly seeing isn't really that important. But then I suggest that their
form of creativity is not visual art, their medium becomes something
As I see it the situation in the art world today is like the fable of
the Emperor in the parade who thinks he has on and is wearing a wonderfully
elaborate embroidered new garment. He believes this because he is told
so by his highly respected palace courtiers. In reality the Emperor
has no cloths on at all. It takes one, and most probably a frightened
little individual, a lone voice somewhere in the crowd to cry out that
the Emperor is naked and is wearing nothing.
What matters is how one applies their visual creative emphasis. You can be a fully rounded communicator that works on a visual plane balancing sight and emotion with intellectual intelligence. Or it is possible that you are unable to translate visually and thus are always relying on contrived and fabricated word and text translations as your creative foundation stone.
I really think a distinction should be made between visually inspired
art and the institutionally bred businesslike style of artistic translation.
I believe it is time for each of us to firmly draw and anchor a line
in the creative sand.
FINDING YOUR VISION
How can I or anyone else attempt to shake awake the true artist in you, into bringing forth and translating your raw inner creativeness? I can only share my own experiences in an attempt to startle and help wake you from your intellectual day dreaming and nightly sleep walking somnambulistic creative artistic state.
all know what happens when you are daring enough to cross frozen water,
especially over not fully resolved and rather thin crackling ice. You
can from time to time break through the seemingly solid surface and
fall into the dangerously black and frighteningly imagined bottomless
freezing cold black water. But sometimes by simply examining and facing
those inner core callings, by not being afraid to look at them and realize
your own true artistic destiny, you just might be able to slip slide
your creative and empowering inner core energy all the way over to the
other, that authentic side of the aesthetic artistic pond.
with attitude, one that decides the path you'll be traveling on. Ask
yourself what are you looking for, artistic glory, easy art world acceptance,
and numerous but in the end inconsequential exhibitions? Or are you
willing to work for an entire lifetime, spending all your waking time
actually doing, with no real guarantees of success or of financial gain...well
are you? How deep is your inner strength? Could you only breathe and
literally live on your creative convictions every minute of your life,
and in everything you do?
You truly must believe and feel somewhere intuitively deep inside your
being that you have something you wish to communicate. Unfortunately
without it you will find yourself quickly running for the safety of
that well trodden road. One that is carefully mapped out, full of signposts
and guiding lines that you simply follow along using the deeply worn
and rutted tracks.
Keep in mind, if you constantly mentally feed and dine ingesting intellectually
infected and tainted thinking, emanating from those who are diseased
with "intellectualitis," metaphorically sharing their conjugal
bed. By daily watching and listening to their tainted concepts, there
is an excellent chance that you will become thoroughly infected yourself
and have your creative attitudes and decisions hypnotically influenced;
even if you do not think so, or are even aware that it is actually happening
Showing work in museums comes with its own set of pitfalls and problems.
After all it's the Museum's own space and not the artist's, right? Through
a combination of bureaucratic none creative awareness and institutionally
bred "intellectualitis" they contribute to robbing and emasculating
artists of their own creative voices, perhaps doing this without even
being aware of it.
Now if it sounds as if I am suggesting a self-imposed exile, you are
right. In my opinion it's the only way to really find yourself and arrive
at your own inner creative voice. Simply go off into the metaphoric
artistic desert and just do......work non stop as if your life depends
As the knowledge of and the relationship with the medium blooms this
will help evolve your inner creative vision. Fully resolved communication
is the result of a passion for the chosen medium of expression, the
ability to harness both emotional and intellectural core energies and
connect this with an infusion of deep seeing.
True seeing only happens when you dare to go to the very edge of the
well known overly used and yes bone weary artistic sand box...and then...yes
and then...dare to let go of that edge. Once you let go you are in a
kind of creative virtual free fall. Soaring as high as you can on those
inner visionary thermals, listening to what your core and creative bed
rock tells you, all the while pushing yourself towards your own personal
unique visual horizon and then journey onto your own creative infinity.
is a photographic work derived from rock shale (I call these works my
murals) it was taken in the Bruce Peninsula of Canada's Rush Cove settlement
near by Lions's Head, Ontario. This mural has 462 individual images,
each of them remains uncropped and was captured digitally. Negatives
were made using an Epson Inkjet printer. Then I laboriously hand printed
each piece onto heavy 300lb/640gm watercolour paper using the "free
form" gum bichromate process, an older more permanent photographic
individual pieces were then assembled to create my own visual interpretation.
I used the flat brittle rocky shale to try and visually describe not
only it's own interesting ancient story but also to try and impart some
sense of my own as well.
image is of a winter tree bush heavily covered in ice, photographed
in the bleakest mid winter ice storm not too far from where I live.
It is made of 64 uncropped digital images that were printed out on worthy
watercolour paper using an Epson 2200 ink jet printer. The images were
then varnished several times with a protective coating for lasting permanency.