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Throughout history, there have always been artists who have made claims of being 'visionary'. They claimed to make art said to have a spiritual content. Art history shows each successive wave of vision flowing through the world's artists. These artists are united ideologically rather than stylistically, and can be seen as part of an ongoing visionary tradition. My early work is from when my own vision begun to take off in this direction, the series title, 'personal mythology'. The concept of the modern artist as shaman, power animals, spirit guides & healing powers. The agitated brush-strokes spoke of raw states of feeling, and the brightly coloured animals and trees were inner rather than outer landscapes. They were not intended to represent the naturalistic details, but to be spiritual vehicles, to communicate spiritual values & internal truths. I tried to depict the vibrational frequencies of the subject to transmit a spiritual presence. Perhaps science will one day find a name for this superfine energy or maybe it will always remain ineffable.

My subsequent work following this initial outpouring of energy was influenced more by non-Western art. What was fascinating about Native American, Aboriginal and Indian art is the common thread that seemed to run through them, particularly their use of dots to communicate some sort of spiritual aspect. Using a mixture of eastern and western symbolism I painted mythological figures & spectoral trees to talk about about a transfiguration of consciousness and a higher dimension. My earlier work expressed my new vision in a basic, almost childlike way. I called my early work 'Personal Mythology', but 'Raw Vision' would have been apt as well. I was now trying to articulate it in a more sophisticated way in order to increase its transformative power as a work of art. I was doing my own version of what some 'primitive' artists did, believing that the act of painting magically transformed whatever surface they were painting into a membrane between our world & the spirit world.

The task I had was remembering enough of my internal shamanic journeys to paint them, though no painting can ever be a direct snapshot of the artist's visions, as a painting is always a translation. It was size & medium that proved to be the biggest limitation on the power of the paintings, I found I had to turn small paper studies into large canvases, which is tiring to do, but necessary, as the small size disrupted the rhythm, and they were so loaded with narrative the viewer had little room to breathe. A sharpening of the sensibilities was needed, so I tried to show a greater sensitivity to colour. I became so paranoid of including any colour which might negate the whole atmosphere that soon I was experiencing a 'Blue Period'. On reflection, it can be seen that these pictures fall short of their aim. They acted as positive reminders of spiritual experience but were not powerfully transformative as works of art or spoke of any mystical experience of the artist in a way that communicated it like my early work. At the time someone asked me, 'Where have your foxes gone?' A change of direction was needed, though at the time I was so absorbed in what I was doing, I needed an emotional shock to get me out of my state of mind. Once again I harnessed the magical healing powers of art, though it was a different kind of energy. I found that the only way to clear my head was to write, in fact I couldn't not write. So the manic writing was born, an interplay between image & text, my personal mythology now chronicled in this stream of consciousness. The 'Manic Writing' pictures are in a state of movement & flux. They do not follow conventional rules of painting. However I still found it tiring to make these paintings bigger than sketchbook size, as though I was lacking in energy necessary for this.

So I looked to music to provide what was missing. For some time, I had been connecting my art to trance music, as it is related to the shamanistic practice of drumming to alter the awareness. All music is trance. All music is psychedelic. It's not all as blatant as electronic, intelligent dance music, but it is the continuing rhythm that sets up the biological process. For some months, l had been trying to paint the visual equivalent of this flowing rhythm resulting from a DJ mixing tracks seamlessly. The paintings succeed when there is repetitive pattern & rhythm in the pictures & the eye drifts effortlessly across it. The only way to get past this new sticking point as far as l could see, was to become a DJ. in order to retain any sort of authenticity and see the vibe l was trying to paint. At first, the DJ-ing was like a bolt on the side of the painting, a research tool to generate creative energy & clarity of vision. It soon snowballed to become a form of expression in its own right, of equal importance to the visual side, complementing & each other, and now, 9 years later, I astonish myself on a daily basis. Furthermore, the music and social scene that opened up, provided an environment in which these paintings might be shown.

It also ties in neatly with shamanic drumming as spiritual practice and art therapy. Sound frequencies are used to trigger the brain to release healing chemicals to treat a range of illnesses including cancer. During World War II, the Nazis performed experiments on humans which, thankfully have now been banned, where people were subjected to very low sound frequencies. Results included ruptured organs, ruptured blood vessels, and one poor man even died. In light of this, it's worth considering how many bedroom DJ's there now are, messing around with low frequencies, not knowing what they are doing. 'Energy Flash', by Joey Beltram is the record with the record for breaking the most speakers, so it is recommended that if you purchase it on vinyl that you first test your equipment. And it just so happens that I've got a few Joey Beltrams in my record collection!

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Round One


White Fox

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