I have always been interested in art and I used to draw pictures for my nannan as a child. At primary school I remember receiving positive feedback from my teachers about the creations I concocted from clay or food and then overdoing it with cinnamon to ruin it. At secondary school, Art and PE were my favourite subjects, but I never really saw Art as a career choice, so I didn’t take it too seriously at the time. After School, I was abit lost as to what I wanted to pursue in life. My highest GCSE grade was in art, so I decided to go that route and started studying Art and Design at College. My education in art as helped me to develop many different styles and improve my drawing and painting skills over the years. My work varies in style from Realism, Surrealism, Cubism, Pointillism etc depicting various subject matter. I used to copy people on magazine covers to get a true likeness of them with drawing and kept drawing for many many years until I was somewhat competent at it. I took some of my drawings to a tattoo studio and began an apprenticeship program for 2 years, but had to terminate this due to health reasons. Then I decided to go back to University to do an Mfa in Fine Art after doing a BA in Creative Arts Practice in 2011. The contexts of my current work is Shamanism, Psychedelics and Sacred Geometry.
Many things inspire me such as nature, other artists and movements, and meditation.
My investigation into shamanism began with a membership of the ‘Shaman Visionary Circle’ with Hank Wesselman PhD, who sadly passed away in February 2021, so this was discontinued. Then I discovered Lynne V Andrews ‘Shaman Mystery School’ which is a four year long shamanic apprentiship that focusses on healing using the medicine wheel and the creation of sacred artwork.
Psychedelics shifted my perception of reality; they opened my eyes to the mystical experience and set me on this healing path. They have influenced my art practice and psychedelic patterns can be seen in more recent work.
Many Shamanic journeys and psychedelic experiences are depicted in artworks around the world and are referred to as ‘Visionary Art.’ Artists such as Alex Grey, Amanda Sage, Pablo Amaringo and Ruysen Flores express the powerful visual impact these experiences have on the mind. Artists in every medium have braved the territory of expanded consciousness through ritualistic, native practices, alternative modes of spirituality, altered states of consciousness, for personal evolution and creative insight. The model of the Shaman as empowered inward Journeyer and wounded healer has unique importance in today’s fragmented postmodern world.
Cubism has had a huge influence on my practice since 2008 due to the fractured forms and strange compositions. But where Cubism seems rigid in its output, psychedelic art is more fluid and so combining these two styles creates a balance and contrast, a juxtaposition of opposites.
Various materials and processes are involved in the development of my work. Acrylic paint is used if I want fast drying results that I work up in layers and if I am working from a photograph, I will use the grid system to transfer the image and work square by square. Drawings are either from my imagination or represent a scene or still-life or are tattoo designs for people.
The four main characteristics of Cubism are the application of multiple viewpoints, the use of geometric shapes, a monochromatic colour palette and a flattened picture plane, all of which are expressed within my drawings in varying proportions. They are monochromatic because it helps me to focus on the content more than the colour values and composition too much at this stage. Most of my paintings develop from these initial drawings and I can place them as ideas to develop further.
Conceptually my work is anchored in my background in the common elements of art. Line, space, shape, colour, texture and value. My recent paintings convey my own psychedelic experiences while incorporating these elements with the aim of creating symmetrical psychedelic artwork that portrays my journey with shamanism and healing. The paintings start from an initial drawing of a concept, then transferred to canvas either by eye or carbon transfer paper, depending on the scale.
Canvas is used for its durability and its ability to hold collaged material well. Oil paint is used because it is vibrant and easier to blend than Acrylic. Layers of paint are worked up to achieve light and dark areas via blending paint smoothly and pushing and pulling paint into each other to create a brushstroke effect. This is my first time creating symmetrical artwork and ideas tend to develop and change while painting, so it is an ever-evolving work in progress until I am happy with the result.
Other methods include Linocutting, Screen-printing and Woodblock printing and then working over the prints with Acrylic paint, pencil crayons, POSCA Pens and pencil.
I also use many items from nature for making things such as fetishes.