Of An Artist’s Interest

Hello there. This is an experiment. I don’t know what I want to say, but I like walking with you. How are you? Isn’t life just great sometimes? Sometimes the moon is full, sometimes the clouds are packed with rain and lightning strikes and sometimes music flows freely towards you. Molecules seem to fit together nicely and the flow stays frictionless. “In Kurzweil’s future, biotechnology and nanotechnology give us the power to manipulate our bodies and the world around us at will, at the molecular level.” (Lev Grossman, 2045, ‘The Year Man Becomes Immortal‘, in Time magazine, Feb 21, 2011)

“Don’t worry baby,” sings Brian Wilson, yes, “Everything will turn out alright. Don’t worry baby,” in such high strings. “Whatever happens, it won’t be bad,” said India, my four year old friend with the blonde bob from Australia. “And she said, don’t worry baby,” said Wilson, “Don’t worry baby, everything will turn out alright.” Indeed, is seems exactly that it is. And what next? And what is this drawing within me towards directing, and oil painting, and fully expressing myself? How blessed I feel to have the freedom, a special kind of freedom in fact, a freedom of the inner self, a mastery over the soul, as Ben Kingsley shared with me – an alchemy, a personal grasp of alchemy – with which to undertake the destiny of a life?

I am full to the brim, and God knows I have been at a stone-cement bottom, the metallic edge at the base of that which has a brim. And now, all is needed is to simply keep myself in check, to embrace the madness, to fill and fill and fill! Add more! Put more in there, more of what I love! Let’s see if I can handle it! I notice when my hands and arms are balancing it all, juggling, grappling, as if I held baskets of flowers and fruits and things, I thrive on the fullness. The pruning is what’s great, though. The pruning of what’s not necessary and what’s not essential. I love this process. This gardening process. The fertilizer does taste funny at first, even bitter, even bad, but what fertile fertilizer is this that grows us bigger, better!

I have found my wings to fly again, I have found a truth in me. I have not found THE truth, you see, but I’ve found what makes me free.

For some reason also, I can’t stop writing in rhyme. It must be all the Dr Seuss, the library, Madeline. I can’t stop reveling in this blissful glee, this moment of fullness fresh. I don’t know where I’m going, or what just happened, less.

There were Dim Sum lunches had at noon, gelatinous chicken wings on ice at best. I passed under a bridge today, where people would not rest: They were steaming peanuts, selling shoes, looking at my feet. I’m really very tall you see, for them, it’s craziness.

There was lychee sorbet, Spinal Tap, 5 oranges for 2: two dollars spent on 5 juice balls. How great! He bought a few. I’m enjoying such strange alchemy, happening in my brain. I never thought it would come out this way, I don’t even know your name.

Anyway, it’s getting late, and poems and videos spawn. There’s so much I want to share with you, and so much to vibe on. There’s so much wonder in the world, and yet so few things left to do. The only thing left for me, is to continue writing you.

“The things that change are not our real life.

Within us there is another body, another beauty.

It belongs to that ray of Light which never changes.

We must discover how to mingle with It and become one

with that Unchanging thing.

We must realize and understand this treasure of Truth.

That is why we have come to the world.

Within your heart in a space no bigger than an atom,

God has placed the 18,000 universes.”

– Bawa Muhaiyaddeen (1900? – 1986)

BLISSFULNESS IS REQUISITE.

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I seem to be surrounded by artists, particularly young ones, passionate ones, Harvard graduates, child geniuses, shy closet creatives doing six projects at once, each excelling humbly. In this spirit, I recently interviewed fellow Perthian – artist and curator Jodee Knowles hailing from Western Australia. She explains her work as a process in which: “Once removing me as the artist, who suffered this process, the works become any individual’s moments.” My kind of artistry. Enjoy Jodee.

Jodee beside one of her murals for Artrage, Australia

Jodee stands beside one of her murals for Artrage, Australia

SW: What kind of things did you play with as a child?

JK: Mainly dolls. I would make my younger sister always play Ken and I would be Barbie and we would live out the truest of loves. I have never really been into sports or outdoor activities, so the only other option is dolls.

SW: Who is your artistic idol or icon?

Milan Kundera

Milan Kundera

JK: My favourite artist is Matthew Barney, his work is nothing like my own, however, his process inspires me, the tiny little steps he takes to create something so massive. I also love Milan Kundera the author, his words inspire all of my work.

SW: What is your process as an artist? Do you need a stable base to create freely from, or do you live freely in order to create freely?

JK: I can not create unless I am truly inspired or have a strong concept to work with. I used to get a lot of commission work, people who wanted themselves or loved ones drawn, but i have had to say no to this as it is so hard taking someone else idea of what they want and placing my style of work into that, they always end up looking terrible. I can’t just draw for the sake of drawing.

SW: How does a painting come to you? How do you decide what to paint?

JK: My work is heavily based on the human condition and the emotional state of mind that makes or breaks a happy existence. My portraits are a reflection of ones memories and expectations, in which the concept of an intoxicating other is celebrated or hated. My characters attempt to awaken forgotten memories and desired longings. By thematically dealing with the feeling of being torn between addiction and satisfaction, between excess and boredom, I attempt to confuse my public’s senses and breach space, time and feeling.

"The Vicious Lightness"
“The Vicious Lightness”

The works portray my own existence, where extreme experiences, fear and obsession collide. I am always hungry for emotional familiarity and am addicted to the chaotic environment of them. Each work represents and displays my connection with individuals who are involved in my life emotionally, and whose existence causes me to constantly question my own. My works are simply created for your emotional experience and pleasure. Once removing me as the artist, who suffered this process, the works become any individual’s moments.

SW: If you could live a parallel life, where and/or who would you be being?

JK: Definitely Bill Murray.

SW: What has been your greatest achievement or accomplishment so far?

JK: My recent first solo show in Sydney this year, it was an overwhelming experience. I had been doing group shows for the past 5 years so I could never really tell if I had a following. Selling every work on opening night was a massive realisation that I needed to take this more seriously and really make this my life. So that is what I am doing. Trying.

Doing and winning, I say! Thanks for your answers Jodee. I hope you receive all that you have ever asked for, infinitely. Visitors may visit Jodee’s website HERE: peruse ‘In A World of Things Without Weight’, and view images named ‘Spending Time Drinking Money.’  Interesting? I love the way the artist brain works. May there forever be more artist brains at work, from birth until death, til death do us part! Artistry unite!

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Interstellarization

I have something to confess, express, confirm, nurture and navigate. I have recently been through a powerful transition phase, a phase which at times has caused me to lash out in anger, seethe with frustration, compound with melancholy and cop out with jealousy. I have watched myself go through each of these human emotions, fascinating within themselves as experiences of which life affords; and yet have come out the other side knowing that that is not the energy that I wish to perpetuate. I have put myself under a telescope, microscope, in a petri dish – call it what you will – I have been watching myself. And what has arisen throughout my investigations, is an awareness of my fundamental spirit, my joyful soul –who smiles as I write this just now – and my powerful intention for humanity.

I would like to share with you the journey of human emotion I have put myself through, and it is a long journey, something that I have been continuing to explore through this blog, through the creation of my book, through my daily life as a new soul in New York City. I put myself in the crucible, in the energy vortex, the beating heart pulse of the planet. I have let my physicality change the gears, let my body do the work, let my mind simply watch. I have allowed myself to be taken on a worldly journey, only to find it is not  all there is; it is not all; it is not the way of the calm peace I continually seek, deeply nurture, and consequently find.

Archangel: Raguel

It is with a soul full of natural joy, fundamental essence, true liberty, companionate friends and a higher purpose for my self; a life free of ego, free of struggle, free of striving to be something or someone (although that is always supremely tempting!) and free of the morbid fascination with pain and pleasure that our current society promotes, that I am now able to move forward through the veil of hard particles towards the true nature, the nature true, the lifelong profundity I have continually experienced. There is a magic not in life per se, but beyond it, and I have seen and heard it surround me, I have seen and witnessed it move through me, I have heard its beckoning from areas just beyond and above the casing of my fleshly brain, my human skull.

It is with SUPREME joy and laughter, a smile that seems to issue not solely from my belly deep within me, but from surrounding atmospheric energies, that I write, in the way that I do, now, before, and again tomorrow. It is with this clarity of action, clarity of purpose, clarity of intention, that I go forth humbly as a channel (a faucet), in order that I might receive and sieve some of the gold wisps of crystal nuggets that rain down in atomic particles upon our Earth every day and every moment of every minute. It is by clearing the space around me, surrounding me, and within me, that I have been able to fine tune my human body to receive such wisdom; manifest peace; to be the cause for inner and outer prosperity; remain calm; repetitively practice tolerance for that-which-is-not-harmonious, and thus rapidly accelerate the transition through which my soul is going through.

I went willingly into the nature of things – the “nature” that is man too, just as insects and bugs are nature, just as the sky is a vast natural plaza, as much a vista as the ocean, the mountains and the deserts. I have stripped a lot away. I have exfoliated my old egoic tendencies concerning destructive necessities to “look good”, “feel good”, and “be good”. I have ritualized a practice of cultivating my mind like a garden, downloading the weeds each morning (3 pages, stream of consciously), and stringing them out onto a mental wheelbarrow, to load onto the mulch heap. (Very important in itself). I have watched for negative thoughts, words, actions and harsh or hasty habits that do not serve my own peacefulness nor the harmony of the environment around (and within) me.

Astral LoveMy inner health is now of utmost concern; as well as being a powerful standing for the re-emergence of the feminine within our rational, linear, highly cultivated culture. In the mythical story of the Bible, God  – Divinity, Higher Consciousness – warned Adam and Eve about the dangers of eating the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge. There were but two trees in the Garden of Eden: The Tree of Life, and this Tree of Knowledge. Is it not surprising that the acquisition of knowledge must come with a forewarning? One hypothesis is that through eating the fruit from the Tree, Adam came to know agriculture, seeds, the sprouting of new growth, and thus chanced upon the opportunity to cultivate his own garden, his own farm, town, city, civilization. The suggestion I have recently come into contact with is that through man’s coming to know agriculture, man comes into a power not unlike that of God, Divinity, Mother Nature herself. Is it not surprising that this warning was foretold, and that we have indeed fulfilled God’s profoundest worry?

Are we not carving straight and narrow tunnels out of rivers, causing stagnation, congestion, toxicity, accumulation of sediment and thus flooding – not natural, but man-made disasters? Isn’t Mother Nature, who lives as the Earth, lashing out like a bitten animal at our whips and chains? Walking down Park Avenue near 45th street the other day, I saw a large string of digital numbers, the last three or four digits switching very rapidly. National Deficit it read. I lost count of how many numbers in a row there actually were, but the first two numbers were 12, the last three were jumping every second from 210, 250, 340, 190, 260, up and down, not sure whether they were coming and going. This is the hollowed ground, the hallowed memory we have excavated, for, I would suggest, the wholly physical realm of sensation and material gain. The pleasure we souls gain from this physical world we are bound to, seems to accelerate in times of stress. What else would a soul chained to a body be able to do?

Until we relinquish the bonds and attachments to the physical body, we will continue to perpetuate the rape of our God-given resources (which not only includes natural resources but our inner resources: our talents, our perfect bodies with all their natural timings, seasons, systems, intuitive knowings and finely tuned receptors and synchronic actions – all of which occur without our consciously willing them to. . .)

Nomadic Life

Breathe in, breathe out. It happens every day, hundreds of times, without brain energy or unnecessary energy expenditure. What if we could relax into our lives and open to the information around us, within us, moving through us, in the way that the stomach intuitively knows how to digest protein and how to digest sugar differently? What if we could retrain our machinic lives to undam the river, to reverse engineer the oil wells like acne in the land? What is we could gently exfoliate the old skin of past lives and massage with oil the new skin that is emerging, paying particular attention to the areas that require extra care and attention? What if we began to do this within ourselves, with our thoughts, our intentions, our actions, and thus through our environment – and in doing so began to connect with others who supported this healing, accelerating and energizing it with new creative energy? What if groups such as these, such as yourself, your fellow readers, my guides, my mentors, journeyers just beginning and just ending, went then with this practice of addressing what doesn’t work anymore, what requires exfoliation, and like the snake with it’s meandering river of smooth energy, gently moved towards its intended goal, the peaceful union with Earth and Cosmos?

"Reawakening Feminine Power"What if we left behind our obsession with the mind, with knowledge, with acquisition in general, with data entry and getting places; if we left behind our concurrently related and intertwined obsession with the physical body, with pleasure (even pain), comfort, our addiction to stress and adrenal stimulation, with our love of torture and release from torture – what if!!! What then? Would we find a new relationship with the Earth begin to blossom? Would we enter a new age of never-before-conceived (“twas just a twinkling in the eye!”) prosperity and peaceful existence? How is this possible when the world is multiplying in pieces, as all of our material universe does (excepting black holes)? Will we learn to channel the urge to procreate into new forms of pro-creation? Will the will to power, the will to desire, the will of pleasure and pain, always be there and continue to wreak havoc on those who do not understand it (and even more dangerously, those who do?)

I do not know the answer to these questions, but I do have inklings in the eye of my soul – something which seems to say that what arrives consecutively in the course of an evolution is unrecognizable to that which came before it. The preceding and receding art of life that we have so fabulously cultivated, is decaying and sloughing off like dead snake skin. Still we worship the snake. Still we mourn the old skin. Let us celebrate! Let us celebrate justly the magnificence of our most successful creations! Let us learn from our mistakes! Let us live patiently with new knowledge and remain open to the intuitive (feminine) energy that rises now to take care of a messy planet. Just as we have always done, just as is in our nature. Our Mother Nature.

White Lotus

What part of the brain – if it is the brain – is responsible for deciding to act one way or another? One traditional answer is that this is not the job of the brain at all but rather of the soul. Hovering above the brain like Casper the Friendly Ghost, the soul perturbs the networks of the brain, thereby triggering the neural activity that will ultimately lead to behaviour. Although such dualistic accounts are emotionally reassuring and intuitively satisfying, they break down as soon as one digs a bit deeper. How can this ghost, made out of some kind of metaphysical ectoplasm, influence brain matter without being detected? What sort of laws does Casper follow? Science has abandoned strong dualistic explanations in favor of natural accounts that assign causes and responsibility to specific actors and mechanisms that can be further studied. And so it is with the notion of the will […]” – Excerpt from Christof Koch’s article: ‘The Will to Power – Is “Free Will” All in Your Head?‘, in Scientific American magazine, November 2009.

(Is this not an example of the overriding of the feminine unexplainable by the rational masculine? What kinds of repercussions will the imbalanced duality of masculine-feminine towards masculine-masculine have? I refuse! I take a stand for the sacred feminine! Not the exploited and vilified de-feminized object of lust, but the sacred, ancient creator, the pulsation of the Earth’s womb itself. I love my womanhood, and so shall we all if we let go of the upstream swimming! Women of the world, relax!)

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“Further Ado is about people who live their lives well, and with passion. It’s spirited and surprising. It’s full of fanfare, ceremony and pomp, empowerment and inspiration. Because, after all, we are all our own opinion columnists.”

I loved responding to the questions Amelia Marshall put to me last weekend, the woman behind Futher Adoa blog written by a journalist. Democracy in action! Words free of binds! Thank you Amelia for not changing a word of my responses, and for asking such great questions. It is, after all, the questions which mean the world in the first place.

Read the interview I did with Amelia for Further Ado here.

Ps. I went to visit the Stanley Kubrick archives near a station called Elephant and Castle (amazing) in London yesterday. One expected it to be more like a museum, but instead I was welcomed into a room exactly like the 2001: A Space Odyssey space-base lobby (with the white floors, walls, ceilings, and those blood cell red chairs) but smaller…

… filled out a form for the lovely people in pencil detailing who I was and why I was there (“international research for co-writers…? To soak up the artistry of genius?”) and shown a catalog on an old computer through which I could choose exactly what it was I wanted to see. Then I was given white gloves when the boxes arrived, which made my day. I only had half an hour, but it was an immense pleasure to hold in my own hands Stanley’s photographs, particularly the ones he took when location scouting for The Shining, as well as the original first drafts of the beautiful Barry Lyndon screenplays. Amazing to read and more so, see. So real, so close to home. So exciting!

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Just came across the person that is Robert Crumb and more specifically, the pen that he wields. His work, and more specifically the observations that are channeled through his work, remind me of an image my friend Danny drew for me, a potential Paper Castle Logo, which I based on the idea that:

If the pen is mightier than the sword, could not also the pen be your sword, just as sharp and damaging and powerful in this day and age than any sword was in days now gone?

“What are you trying to get at in your work?

“Jesus! I don’t know. I don’t work in terms of conscious messages.”

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“Some people never go crazy. What truly horrible lives they must lead.” – Charles Bukowski

The following is a statement from Mark Rothko, about the hurricane you step into if you decide to dedicate yourself to the creative life. It is painful, it is excruciating, it is ecstasy. (Believe at your own will)

THEY SAY:

1. To us art is an adventure into an unknown world, which can be explored only by those willing to take the risks.

2. This world of imagination is fancy-free and violently opposed to common sense.

3. It is our function as artists to make the spectator see the world our way not his way. (hmm)

4. We favor the simple expression of the complex thought. We are for the large shape because it has the impact of the unequivocal. We wish to reassert the picture plane. We are for flat forms because they destroy illusion and reveal truth.

5. It is a widely accepted notion among painters that it does not matter what one paints as long as it is well painted. This is the essence of academicism. There is no such thing as a good painting about nothing.

We assert that the subject is crucial and only that subject matter is valid which is tragic and timeless. That is why we profess spiritual kinship with primitive and archaic art.

(Statement, June 7, 1943. Mark Rothko, Adolf Gottlieb, Barnett Newman)

Perhaps this is why I am visited by words like ‘Necromancer’ in my wakeful sleep. I know that I am pummelled day and night by some creature that haunts me. I must have picked it up somewhere in Arizona, or between the East and West of Australia, that black hut desert and sky, so much space, so much air, it’s almost suffocating. I must have picked it up there. This world is so full of spirits. I never even knew what Necromancer meant, until the following day when I discovered, to my surprise:

Necromancy is a form of divination in which the practitioner seeks to summon “operative spirits” or “spirits of divination”, for multiple reasons, from spiritual protection to wisdom. The word necromancy derives from the Greek (nekrós), “dead”, and (manteía), “divination”.

However, since the Renaissance, necromancy has come to be associated more broadly with black magic and demon-summoning in general, sometimes losing its earlier, more specialized meaning.

In modern time necromancy is used as a more general term to describe the art (or manipulation) of death, and generally implies a magical connotation.”

Maybe I am a witch, after all. Who likes witches? Who likes magic? I am a young witch. I must be careful where I place my powers.

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