“And since art enables us to glimpse a reality which lies outside the realm of that which we are normally aware, the emotions which it arouses are not of this world" —C. E. M. Joad
“My hand is entirely the instrument of a more distant sphere. Nor is it in my head that functions in my work; it is something else…"—Paul Klee
As I picked up my pen to scribe out a few thoughts on these paintings, I was met with a loss of words. As I painted these pieces I experienced a whirlwind of emotion and I was transported to other realms, new realms, which I had never previously experienced. I will, however, attempt to speak a bit about them and the experience…
In some of the Latin American Indian shamanic traditions a form of meditation is taught in which one focuses on becoming a particular object, usually an animal or a part of Nature like a tree or a boulder. I’ve practiced and taught Yoga for years as well as engaged in many other forms of eastern and western psychology, martial arts and just about every damned thing. Most of my Art comes from visions I have when meditating and this is the case with these pieces, although they are more of a manifestation of deep emotional experiences I had when delving off into a certain type of meditation. I never plan Art and it’s absolutely impossible for me to draw something someone asks.
Ideas will come to me and they’ll dance around my mind and the dance will not stop until the piece is finished. With these pieces flashes of ideas and/or emotions came to me during meditation and my consciousness focused on becoming those ideas and emotions.
With the Cyclical Mindtrip I: Subterranean Fire-Eta Carina Nebula piece I found myself deep in the Earth feeling the heat of being at one with Nature and at other points my mind soared through the cosmos and I was split into ten million stars and spread out across infinite space.
While painting Cyclical Mindtrip II: Wine dark Depths–Pause: Neptune’s Lament for Maria Sureña–Aurora Borealis I was in the sea, the ocean and specifically the Gulf of Mexico where I spent much time as I was growing up. This was the time of the BP oil spill in the Gulf. I heard horrible news stories of the destruction and this hit me particularly hard because of my love of Nature and also because of my connection to the Gulf. At one point I broke down in tears as I poured the spots of thick black paint on the canvas.
Many times—Art for me is also what might be called an intellectual experience—I tend to delve deeply into the concepts, ideas, and subject matter I’m vibing on. With Cyclical Mindtrip I, I studied up on a bit of Astrophysics and particularly spent a lot of time feeling some very awe-inspiring images of deep spaces and meditating on them. I read many of the mythological stories concerning the sea and sea deities while experiencing Cylical Mindtrip II.
Cyclical Mindtrip III: LGBT Brainworlds—Voyage on the Bifrost is an interesting piece. While vibing with this piece I did a lot of studying on the LGBT struggle and the scientific “controversies”—Nature vs. Nurture, etc.—concerning homosexuality and bisexuality. I meditated on these things and at one point I was delving into some of the myths concerning androgynous or “hermaphrodite” god and goddess figures in world mythology and the image-symbolism-feeling of the Bifrost bridge of Norse mythology swept across my mind…
You should understand that when I delve off into something—study, Art, etc.,—I delve deeply. Picture this: I’m sweating, deep, fast strokes dance across the canvas; paint is flying everywhere. A book calls—I throw my brush to the side and furiously flip through pages to let a particular passage find me. Marked. Another book: referencing, cross-referencing, arguing, debating, holding dialectic. Or, I might fall into a very clam, serene, otherworldly state and find myself with a piece on the wall as I do Yoga under it. Chanting, breathing, flowing…two, three, five, seven, eight hours or more alternating between these states…
Just a few quick thoughts…One of my schizophrenic neighbors has been beating on the walls and my other insane neighbor has been screaming maniacally for hours so I’ve been having to absolutely fight to just scribe out these few words that I hope are somewhat coherent thoughts. Much more could be said about these pieces—thoughts on Color Theory, the large influence of music on these pieces, but perhaps I’ll save this for later..
From Texas Death Row,
With Strength and Love: