“We are each at a point in our own transformation. There is a gentle acuity of observation and development of the ethical sense which can allow a new state of consciousness to open – a state which can change our vision of the universe; and in this state of openness, a transformation to a higher plane becomes possible.”
‘Ritual Art of India’, Ajit Mookerjee, Page 16
I began my M.A in illustration at Cardiff School of Art and Design in September 2017 and have continued to explore collaborations with natural forces through my research and practical work. I am working on an organically developing narrative, a book in film form which unfolds naturally and my role as artist and illustrator is to act as instinctively and intuitively as possible. My aim is not to impose synthetic materials on the environments I am working in anymore, but to work with organic, natural found materials; either working on the spot as I did in the accompanying images you see here or by taking materials from the environment, working with them and taking them back. I am using film as well as still images and my research and practical work are beginning to work together well. I have been looking at Indian ritual art, Phenomenology, ideas around perception and the Art of Richard Long and Andy Goldsworthy among others.
I write while I am in the environments I work in. I write about how I am feeling and what I sense around me. My writing can be poetic, philosophical and/or stream of consciousness. I am fascinated by the magic of nature and its unpredictability. I enjoy working with it, fully immersing my senses into whichever environment I am in and working intuitively and in response to it and what I am experiencing around me. I am in a relationship with everything that is around me. I quiet my mind and and sense it all through my eyes, ears, touch, smell, taste and what I intuit. It makes me feel light and I work lightly.
All the other beings around me are also sensing in their own unique way. The silent Lichen, the noisy birds, the majestic trees. I try to tune in to them, I don’t know for sure how, but I listen and feel when I should start making my work. I work intuitively in response to all I am experiencing and work phenomenologically:
“Magic, then, in its perhaps most primordial sense, is the experience of existing in a world made up of multiple intelligences, the intuition that every form one perceives- from the swallow swooping overhead to the fly on a blade of grass, and indeed the blade of grass itself- is an experiencing form, an entity with its own predilectations and sensations, albeit sensations that are very different from our own”
‘The Spell of the Sensuous, Perception and Language in a more than Human World’, David Abram, page 9-10.
The wind is a particular favourite of mine for collaboration as well as the sea. However I am beginning to explore more and find the value in the more subtle changes in movement, colour, shape etc… in gentler phenomena that are around us. There is a deep, subtle consciousness – a powerful and gentle intelligence that can be felt and which we do not necessarily notice all the time. I leave various pieces of my art in the environments I work in and the forces at play there change it and therefore a collaboration occurs. A narrative inevitably comes about. Perhaps it is not necessarily the kind of narrative we would expect or even understand fully. It will potentially be in the language of nature.
Is there humour in all of nature? Is a sense of humour inherent in all things? I have found generally that it is the natural way to play and have often found myself laughing in the woods or watching the films I have made. – I ask are they really doing that? Or is this my interpretation based on my own experience and how I experience the world? For example I pinned some leaves to a tree trunk and filmed them. They were flapping about a bit in the wind and a few flew off and escaped. When I played the film back and really listened to the sounds I could hear birds singing. It seemed as though it was the leaves who were tweeting as they moved. If I had never experienced a bird or a leaf before I could have been forgiven for believing that leaves tweet. Is nature consciously playful? Or is that just my own interpretation due to my own personal experience as a human being?
Does a lichen laugh? Does a leaf cry? Do trees get sad?
Possibly not in the same way that we do, but they could have something similar to our laughter, tears or sadness. Is there a consciousness that is aware that it is collaborating with me? There have been moments when I am working in collaboration with the forces of nature – particularly the sea – when I have felt that I am working in response to a conscious being that is present there with me. I do not get this feeling all the time, but when it happens the feeling is very strong. There is something playing, all my collaborations with nature are playful.
Now to the big question… Do they love? Do lichen, trees, badgers, leaves, molecules, ferns, grasses, planets, insects and fish love? Is love universal to all conscious life? Is love organic? If it is then love would be perishable, going back to the soil or into the air and becoming something else and then something else yet retaining its essence. Love then permeating all things, its roots entwining with its beloved and going on into eternity… love lives in my heart waiting, will it be allowed to grow? to find its fulfilment? Its lover? When it does will it need to be pruned or can it be wild? I don’t think you can ever know what to expect. I believe that love is organic, living and eternal, an energy that connects and passes between us. Let it be what it is, but it must be allowed to grow.
‘Love reaching out in infinite liberation, dancing dancing, dancing…’