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Behind the Masks

July 27, 2015

9 I believe a healthy mind must be exercised by being used to think, question, create and connect. You can never think too much and that even though we are encouraged towards finite thinking, our gift of consciousness allows us to pursue untold possibilities, despite societal dogma encouraging boundaries.

I feel there is a disparity between what I express through my art and what society expects from artists, something slightly discordant and I sometimes feel subject to what is a dichotomy. I question the illusionary aspects of reality, wondering why these veils exist, leaving me with the question, what is the agenda of society, beyond maintaing a status quo. Further more I would go as far to say that my experience as an artist has taught me that democracy and meritocracy within society is also an illusion. It’s simple in one respect, because when you don’t conform or accept the imposed doctrine (with the rules and regulations) you can see through it. I personally feel that the systemic doctrine stems from a culture of what amounts to (in crude terms) corruption and deceit from the highest level of the hierarchy, with the masking of truths and the imposition of exploitative incentives. This precedents are set at the top which run through the whole of society and in general terms we just accept it with a little posturing, but never really challenge it to destruction or to a point of forcing change. We are essentially trapped within a system that is only really beneficial to the few, but their tyranny could be seen as folly and quite hollow because it’s based on the exploitation of subordinates, in a time honoured tradition of protecting wealth and status. I thhink it’s healthy to ask questions like, should we take the view it is there because it is and just accept it without question as we are blindly led towards an uncertain future?

When you have a competitive society and a political system which imposes a framework of rules that pits individuals against each other, you create a level of stasis because people are held within the specificity of a self policing hierarchy, tightly within a set of rules, used as leverage to enforce personal agendas. In a way it’s almost like playing a board game in which people become blinded to all but their desire to win and compete within imposed rules. In my own life I come across people who are always speaking about boundaries, but the very notion of a boundary is in fact an obstacle which you need to get past in order to get on with your life. I guess what I’m saying is that common sense, boundaries, compromise, competition, ambition, success are all part of the vocabulary of oppression and that freedom is not something we gain from the expense of others, unlike the exploitative notions of hierarchy where you climb over your peers in search of glory, masked with a smile.

Now I mentioned the word mask, so I must digress  because the mask is something which serves as a powerful metaphor, the mask has also crept into my work over the past few years for many reasons. The mask not only has a place at the highest levels of societal interaction but it also serves as a ubiquitous symbol throughout the whole of society and in many forms. The reality as imposed and agreed upon can in fact only be a convenient mask for the huge back story which created it. So in contemporary society we are now so bombarded by stuff that we are falling under the burden of it all which is really making us vulnerable to living controlled lives and this is no coincidence. At a time when we should be feeling liberated by our collective evolution and astounding achievements we are in fact becoming prisoners to the tight social controls of commercial purility. Because we are in fact governed by an elite, an almost invisible class who own the majority of the worlds capital, a minority that steer the direction of humanity and wield their disproportionate and undemocratic power. It is absolutely amazing that so many can be ruled by so few and how we blindly follow, not even questioning their motive. As an artist I was unable to look to the hierachy for inspiration and so I never climbed, instead my life is a story of abandonment to the margins with no real place. 7 So how we measure success and the values which underpin our lives must be questioned in order for us to find the true human values that we hold in the sanctity of our heart and soul. In the silence of my own intimacy I know who I am and it’s not about comparing myself to others and to societal expectation. I have nothing to prove or a status to aspire to over others, because I’ve chosen to be an artist, as I feel I have something to express and share, what I do is relative to those who observe it. I’m neither a good or a bad artist because I’m just an artist, a single soul with a story to share. 12 At the moment through a greater freedom in the flow of information a picture is emerging of the levels of corruption and exploitation at the highest level of society. And evidence is out there in the public domain but it’s part of a huge quantity of information overload and whether or not it will ever expose the truth to the masses is questionable. It is a web of deceit with many protagonists held to ransom by implication and a system of protection that will stop at nothing. But this system has been in place for a long time and is protected in every conceivable way from those who question and seek change. Still it does no harm to question the motives in a search for a deeper meaning or understanding of the current direction of humanity.

I can say I truly wish life was not like this because it is a reality which is so engrained and beguiling that it’s almost impossible to counteract in any substantial way. One option is to conform and play the system but if in your heart you know that it’s wrong then you would be sacrificing your integrity for a place within a system that perpetuates a certain amount of lies and deceit, both of which are the enemies of art. The problem is that it all matters on so many levels because these factors shape and push humanity into a specific direction and yet those who wield this power pretend to be benign and congenial, when in fact they are guilty of exploitation and oppression. It’s quite extraordinary what art delivers to the artist and as I’ve changed my approach I’ve been exposed to my own truths and subconscious outpourings which I’ve had trouble in understanding. This is because I’ve experimented with freely drawing without any preconceptions, drawing in the moment as it were as I write in the moment. So what this has done is it has allowed me to connect with my intuition and to see life from a new perspective with a greater level of inner truth. It was simple either my life experiences would have broken me and made me conform or inspired me to find the courage to challenge all before me and realise my potential. 6 Recently a few people have asked about specific drawings of mine, with questions and statements like “I don’t get it” or “what does it mean?” and I really can’t answer them because I actually don’t know beyond them being polite questions about life and circumstance. But as I look at my work as a whole I can see something emerging, a picture of the peeling back of life’s layers, from the illusion of solidity to the exposure of mess, chaos and uncertainty. However this is only one aspect of my art which is brought about my search for a context within contemporary society, because a vast part of my work is a pure celebration of the beauty of existence, the euphoria and joy of interaction and connectivity. But above all I feel it is about a search for freedom and truth in order to liberate an open flow of creativity. And I do this chiefly through exploring the horse and the figure as a metaphorical representation of states of being, not as a contrived gesture but from what I feel deep within and am often unaware of. And so my art reveals what I feel is a truth which I’m unaware of untill I analyse my gestures and marks of creativity. I find it fascinating because there is no right way round or absolute gestures of certainty and everything is open to question and scrutiny, an approach that feels like my truth whilst creating problems for me with lifes practicalities. I try not to let fear be my guide and look for the courage to be truly open and unafraid of the corrosive elements of humanity. I do have to say that the response I get to my creativity is overwhelmingly positive here in the social media and the blogging world, something which I truly appreciate and something which inspires me to keep on keeping on. A lot of this stuff I write is a little heavy at times, but I truly feel it and by sharing it I feel emancipated and free to go where ever my art takes me. I lived in fear for years, too shy to expose and share the unconventional wisdom which my art had brought to me, I also felt unworthy and I was unable to assert myself in the throng of society. In the end I felt like a social pariah which led me into being quite introverted, and if anything I would hide my work and not talk about it. My experience of being an artist in ordinary society had finally led me into a corner and like the cornered cat I had to come out fighting, say it like it is and just express myself. I’m glad I’ve done it because it has been the making of me as an artist and I can finally look at my reflection in the mirror and feel proud, because I have done all I can and pushed myself to the limit. 5❤ ❤ ❤

This life is beautiful ❤

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