Life is a continuous paradox. Desire and suffering constantly feeding back into every action you take. When we desire something, we try to create a situation in which we can attain it. If this fails, we suffer. If it doesn’t fail, we suffer because nothing lasts, it will one day abandon us, or even more likely, our desire for it will fade.
This is Buddhism 101, I’m not saying anything that’s not been understood many times before. I would like to pose that it’s in the accidents, the unexpected, that the real magic happens. We should embrace the accidents.
My primordial understanding of this theory comes from my artistic expression. When I was at university I developed a technique of freehand drawing, allowing my subconscious to dictate the eventual outcome. This in itself, is a skill to be learned. It’s like riding a wave, there’s a perfect balance between outer intention and inner expression.
Closing my eyes and allowing my hand to draw of its own accord, I would run the pen around the page. Afterwards I would study the shape I had created and try to think of ways I could characterise it somehow.
For some reason these freehand drawings mostly ended up as strange little personas, alien, surreal and bizarre. A psychologist might say they were elements of my personality. A Jungian might say they are elements of all of our personalities. Who knows, but they’re great fun.
Now here’s the controversial part, don’t worry, I’ll keep it brief.
My introduction to psychedelic drugs undoubtedly had a huge roll to play in this new visual interpretation of the world and would ultimately be responsible for my psychological transformation through the inevitable expansion of perspective that follows psychedelic exposure.
The visual stimuli you experience allows you to formulate patterns both externally and internally, which actually re-enforce each other in a way that leaves you with a deeper understanding of aesthetics and why the world is the way it is.
If you’re interested in discussing this subject further do feel free to contact me, I’m delighted to hear anyone’s interpretation of this experience.
I began wondering how I could invoke ‘The Accident’ in different and more reflexive ways. My mind hearkened back to GSCE art where we would paint with bleach on coloured paper, using different dilutions to paint in negative space. I must thank my old art teachers for this exposure.
So I began to experiment with bleaching coloured papers in various ways in order to create abstract shapes and forms that I would interpret and explore. I also experimented with spray paint, acrylic paint and other mediums but I found bleach to be the most rewarding.
After graduating from University it would be a long time before I could muster up enough inspiration to create. I was in that horrible place in your life where you perpetually self-destruct through constant negative reinforcement. Again, not an accident. This strengthened me, tempered my spirit and taught me a great deal about how we can control ourselves through observation of thought processes.
I dabbled every now and then in illustration and painting, but nothing held me for long, constantly distracted by a search for meaning that ran into cul-de-sacs and circles. You cannot find yourself in other people. This is a journey to be taken alone. Always.
It was a painful break up and the catastrophic collapse of identity that catalysed my journey around the world and into my own soul. I began to draw again, for the pure joy of it. I rekindled my old love of bleaching and injected new processes and techniques that came through sheer experimental pleasure.
This was me, allowing all the accidents to happen, letting go of control and attaining something completely unexpected.
After many years of personally studying consciousness, quantum biology, eastern philosophy, psychedelics, mysticism, esoteric history and other such fringe subjects, I was ready to imbue my own understanding of the world into my art. The result was a very different and personal series of paintings that hold infinite possibility and great expression. See Studies on Black.
I have a list of ideas as long as my arm that I’m ready to invoke onto the page. I am peaceful and content in my journey. I am well fed (I just made the most delicious coconut, parsnip, broccoli risotto, see me for the recipe) and I have found an incredible dwelling in which I am motivated to create art, music, poetry and stories.
My latest painting is based upon a podcast I listened to recently by Ram Dass regarding a letter he received from a man in a cave, ruminating on the splendour of existence. I will fully transcribe this to sit with the piece eventually. Here’s a quick look at where it is this evening. Much work to do but I always like how it dictates itself through, well, the accidents. These runoffs and splatters fuel some kind of magical language, it tells me what it wants to be.
For example in the lower left hand corner, the bleach darted away from the edge of the globe, totally unintentionally. It’s going to become a great building of some kind, punching through the atmosphere. Very cool. The top right – a Volcano. Sploosh.
So embrace all the accidents. They’re not really accidents. Just a change brought forth by your own search for meaning. Allow them to see themselves through, take the time to understand why. You’ll probably find exactly what you’re looking for.
Photo Credit to: Taelynn Christopher