“what you learn in art can never be used: if you give in, it’s called imitation.. “

I came across this in one of my recent readings. It went on to state that art is a way of exploring, creation, reflection and searching that continues day in and day out. Most of what we make being unusable.  And a sizeable amount of our efforts ending in failures if we are truly and deeply involved.

“Making a lot of beautiful things that are like a lot of other beautiful things is manufacturing, not art.

Our mind is a wilderness. As artists, we are explorers along the frontier. We run into dead ends, box canyons, sheer walled cliffs. The vein being mined runs out. Sand runs through our fingers  after drilling for water. Hacking at weeds reveals only stone. Abandoned, woozy and sweating under the sun, not even the vultures will circle. We continue to place one foot in front of the other but never relent. Understanding the importance of staying on this path that appears before us; we cross the wasteland and sooner or later enter a paradise that is ours alone.¹

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The path of an artist, a warrior, of life – it’s much the same.

Recent work over the past several months has taken me in many directions. Much of it has been spent re-visioning, imagining, and visiting ideas that I had previously left off for reasons of time, focus and other pressing needs. Over time, original impressions have had time to mix with the mulch of daily life. Many of them fermenting and decomposing until ultimately they have provided a rich medium for lush new growth.

Ongoing reading on contemplative enquiry and Goethe’s approach to the world has renewed a long held interest in the history of pigments, the foundations of how we perceive and understand colour and a renewed interest in painting, watercolour and visual comprehension.

Throughout this I have been revisiting work by Ivan Illich on the conceptual nature of the world we live in and it’s relationship to language, body and our human nature. Taking a much harder look at the literate world as we slide into a post-literate future; the nature of ‘stuff‘ and how it enters into our imagination, behaviour and belief and the social structures we use to support it all.

I have taken to shooting pictures almost exclusively with my phone at the moment. It intrigues me how our phones have managed to conquer and command massive parts of our lives and former equipment, devices and tools in an iron fisted grip as strong as that of the Roman Church at the height of it’s power. A catholic tool that mediates, interprets and binds all experience to it. It’s caused me to poke about in pre-history and the period before the end of the 12th century in a very disjointed and inexplicable way.

My current focus is more on apprehension and comprehension than the technical pursuit of ultimate sharpness at the moment, although I still have the gut feeling that a kind of hyper-realism is necessary for our time.  All this underpinned with the sound of Indian Classical and vernacular Brazilian music

A thorough sojourn in the wider social experience of our age has convinced me to return to writing more thoughtfully and trying to comb apart some of these strands over the next couple of months as I return to this blog. Never a dull moment, it’s great to be back.

¹ paraphrased from a reading on art by Deng Ming Dao

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