I’ve been working on personal work. I don’t want to tease, but I’d rather not post until I got 4-5 pieces done, but I can tell you about it. A commonality among all cultures if you dig far back enough is the idea of land based spirits or gods. Some are particular to a mountain, a river or valley, or other feature of note. Some to a species of plant, or animal. Because we humans like to make things in our own image, some look like us. Have human features even though they look otherworldly. Often they were defined as being a little too tall or short, extremely attractive or ugly, with a ‘vibe’ about them. Something that whispers to us base human creatures that these are Other. It doesn’t matter where you look, from Africa to South America to Asia to Europe to North America and all the little islands between. There’s always talk of spirits separate from our own (and that includes ghosts). Is it something base to our psyche or do the Fey (as called in the British Isles) exist? We can’t scientifically prove them so by those means no, but throughout history people have claimed to have these experiences.
I love science. I think whenever we want to speak of truth the scientific method is our best bet (even though the researcher can be biased… no system is perfect). I also think there’s a lot to be said for having wonder and curiosity, and belief in magic greater than our mundane experiences. Like, being totally logical for me sucks the joy out a bit, because it leaves no room to dream and only theories to test. I suppose if you wanted to define my ideals personally, when it comes to practical matters that involve health, wealth, and prosperity it’s the practical and logical I’ll go to first. Essential oils don’t replace vaccines. I’ve never seen a Reiki healing cure shit. I know lots of people who have a lot of faith in their own energy and power. Not charlatans, because those people know they’re selling snake oil, but legit people who think their spiritual path can help others. A few times some have tried to heal me, or read me, and none of it has worked. I find a fascination with the occult and mythologies of the world. I’ve been to places that I felt have energy and make me feel… but I’d have to concede that those may be my experiences alone. However we are social beings, and we need stories and myth. Even Atheists have their stories about how people discovered things that prove their concept of a lack of a higher power. I think sometimes that we believe in the concept of a world that makes sense to us, and sometimes that includes magic and spirits and a higher power, and sometimes that includes the absence of all of those things.
Most importantly, I’ve been asking myself ‘what does the world need, and what can I do about it?’. I can’t cure the world of it’s great ills, corruption, bigotry, unnecessary violence, unwarranted fear. I think this is why we make stories about the great and terrible fey no matter what country you call home. We all have our stories about how some magical being or creature, angel, fairy, deity shows us beauty and can give us peace, and demon, fey, monster, lost spirit, or deity can show us horror and curses should we fall away from our ethics. A good read to get you started on this notion is Woman Who Runs With the Wolves by Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes.
I’d say though because of how the internet and ease of travel has broken down boarders and barriers, and how the knowledge we share is less limited by region or local culture… and a certain lack of wanting to know about stuff like this (lets face it, folklore doesn’t have the pull of a blockbuster film or TV series). I used to pull directly from the mythologies I knew best, but I’ve found that work to be obscure and alienating to many people. A creative can’t please everyone, and nobody should play to the gallery. However I do struggle with being too obscure, or too ‘adult’. I recognize that part of the problem may be the conservative culture that I live in (the arts in Columbus Ohio don’t really give a lot of freedom to display work that contains nudes… not in any venue that attracts a decent audience anyway), and that I haven’t ‘found my audience’. As a creator, I want to be heard, and if I’m making work and nobody is giving me any attention, well I feel less of a need to speak. For me the audience responding fuels my fire. It’s not that I don’t make work when I don’t get any support, I just find I either want to keep it to myself or it becomes so boring and safe I wonder what is even the point.
So Anyway. I’m working on a new body of things. I have been saving surfaces galore, and I’ve been sketching a lot more than I have been. My first goal is to make the work interesting and exciting to me. Then I suppose we will see if anyone else gives a shit. The general theme has something to do with a relationship to nature… which I know is vague. If I plan things out too much I lose interest, so a vague plan it’ll have to be. It’s one step at a time here. I work best if I treat a series as a journey and not a fully planed out thing where it’s all product.
I personally feel it’s probably best to not talk about what you’re doing until it’s actually done, because the brain can confuse talk with action and words are actually just wind. I have a long slog to go. I’m hoping the first of the paintings I’m working on will be done in a week or less. We shall see.