|the artist acts like a mediumistic being who, from the labyrinth beyond time and space, seeks his way out to a clearing.|
|I want a trouble-maker for a lover,|
Blood spiller, blood drinker, a heart of flame,
Who quarrels with the sky and fights with fate,
Who burns like fire on the rushing sea.
From Rumi’s Kolliyaat-e Shams-e Tabrizi
|Among those whom I like or admire, I can find no common denominator, but among those whom I love, I can: all of them make me laugh.|
--W. H. Auden
|Do You Realize - that you have the most beautiful face|
Do You Realize - we're floating in space
Do You Realize - that happiness makes you cry
Do You Realize - that everyone you know someday will die
And instead of saying all of your goodbyes - let them know
You realize that life goes fast
It's hard to make the good things last
You realize the sun doesn't go down
It's just an illusion caused by the world spinning round
Do You Realize - that you have the most beautiful face
|The best things in life are not things.|
depthRADIUS is pleased and proud to present Liam Sharp as a guest writer and welcome his editorial prowess as our newest contributing writer. Liam is legendary as the sci–fi comic book artist, writer and publisher enfant terrible of Britain, his career having begun with 2000 AD magazine. He went on as artist, scripter and short story writer for publications such Heavy Metal and Vampirella. He started his own publishing company, Mam Tor, to self–publish Sharpenings: the Art of Liam Sharp. In 2011, Liam Sharp co–founded Madefire and is the company's CCO. Liam is also author of the novel God Killers. His contributions to our community will no doubt be as significant and inspiring as the work achieved thus far by this multi–faceted artist.
Longer ago than memory, a piece of wood, and the fire that burned it, did more than cook and smoke food, gift a nighttime cave with light and warmth. When the flame was out, and only a burned stump remained, somebody took that and they marked a wall with it.
Scrawling in charcoal they created mythic art, and human beings then did what no other creatures roaming the plains, swimming in the seas or flying in the skies could do. They began telling themselves their very own story of their creation, being and destiny.
The most ancient poem we have is a Mesopotamian fantasy called The Epic of Gilgamesh, from 2500bc. Beyond that we get Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey—The Trojan War, Achilles, Hector, Odysseus and his ten–year journey home. The great quest, the fellowship, the un–surmountable obstacles, and (of course) the monsters!
What it did was record our struggle with nature, and help us understand the challenges of our environment. It empowered us, emboldened us before battle. It gave us strength in times of famine or hardship.
Most importantly, it ennobled us—giving us heroic ancestors, whose parents were gods—thereby linking us directly with our creators. As Isaac Asimov once observed: these were the parents we invented for ourselves, that would not grow old and die, but would instead remain perpetually bigger and better and stronger than we could ever be. And so this, in turn, also gifted us hope beyond life. It made death comprehendible and acceptable to us.
Culturally and socially the mythic constructs girding our spiritual lives give us a powerful sense of purpose and deeper reasons for our ultimate existence as unique life forms.
In literature, Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels repurposes the ancient magical quest format to create biting satire. Lewis Caroll’s Alice in Wonderland seems to be a drug–fuelled quivering meditation on denial and frustrated longing—but wearing mythic clothing.
In art, Goya, Brueghel and Bosch all used mythic imagery to supreme effect to make social and dangerously political statements. Later the surrealists would create works that trawled the imagination. Dali in particular created work that was anthropomorphic and mythic.
As we see, the imaginative bent of mankind, our ability to create fictions, does more than just swell our hearts—it gets us looking forward. It can comment on now—as allegory—or it can be prophetic.
I argue that it is our ability to imagine the fantastic, the impossible, the mythic that is the unique faculty that defines us as human beings.
Living in our current world of staggering social imbalances and soul–sickening cynicism, even as the dazzling gates of all digital wonders swing open before us — how can it be that the need for the next iteration, a powerful return, to mythic arts creation, is not the deafening hue and cry ringing out across our planet?
The new tools for the creation of heroes & gods. Multiple digital tools have freed us again, and we’re crafting a new language using them. It’s a bold language, and it has no boundaries. It’s an appropriator of multiple mediums, from photography to paint, to pencil, to pixels. We’re carving digital clay in real–time. For now, at least, there are no rules–and that makes for exciting times!
As Prometheus once gifted man with the enlightenment of myth–making fire, Madefire and deviantART now facilitate storytellers with the Motion Book tool. Open to ALL creators in ANY medium, it has been built especially to make sequential stories within these new virtual caverns. This is a shout out to anybody, with the desire to create—pro and amateur alike! Publish your stories in the Motion Book section on deviantART, and sell them or make them free—it’s your call. Bring your words and your pictures. Bring your vision!
Layers reveal layers, the grammar of reading is broken down and reinvented anew. There is no top down, or left to right. Time becomes the margin, the gutter, the engine that drives the story forward—and you control that as the reader, or the story–builder.
Make a snapshot jpg of your written words, or type them in using the tool, and create an article, a short story, a novel. Upload jpgs of your comic pages and create a print–style comic. Upload your photos, your sketches—anything you like! And, should you choose, add your music, motion, depth—it’s your story. Make it whatever you want it to be!
And support your fellow creators by reading their books. Share them. Love them. Find your clan, who are writing these new mythologies, and let’s pass the Promethean torch.
We live in an age of wonder, and as mythic creators we must take back stories—reclaiming them.
We’re telling the world, the media, the doubter, the commentator and critic that we don’t need to be told what to like!
We don’t have to listen to the artelligentia who think they can distinguish a pseud–grail of authentic art from all other art. But all art is art—no matter how naïve—and it is all subjective, and it is all ours.
Tell us your stories! Light a million digital torches. Show us what you've got!
As the members of the Today Page editorial board were putting together the editorial and visual elements of the article about “The Song of the Lark” saving Bill Murray’s life, the emotional quality of the content seemed to raise a special spirit that filled the space. Each of the team present began sharing which painting or poem or photograph had pulled them through a rough time in their life. We knew we had to share these “rescue art” stories with the community—but even more importantly, we want to know about your lifesaving experiences with art.
Would you mind sharing your personal story? There is, no doubt, someone online in our worldwide network whose life might be saved by the shared memory of a brother or sister in the arts community.
“I saw this painting in the museum not long after I first arrived in Los Angeles to try to make my way toward a new life. This painting resonated with what I was feeling and experiencing like nothing else had since my first day in the city. Los Angeles is filled with people, but I knew no one, so my personal landscape was as barren as the countryside this poet walks in. I was all alone but for the memories of everyone I had ever known, of every place I had ever been and every thing I had ever done, all that had now brought me to where I found myself, gazing at myself reflected in this painting.
Like the subject of the painting walking in this field, I realized I was trying to hear my Muse in all of life that had come before. It was then, I knew, that once again what needed to be expressed would flow from within me as if it were automatic, as if the hand of the Muse had again alighted on mine to serve as its guide. Well, one could hope for such things.”
“The essential truth is that sometimes you’re worried that they’ll find out it’s a fluke, that you don't really have it. You’ve lost the muse or—the worst dread—you never had it at all. I went through all that madness early on.”
– Robin Williams
“I was about 8 years old when I saw this painting for the first time. My young brain hadn’t at that time defined what “epic” truly meant. Even though my mother was Roman Catholic and my father Church of England we weren’t a religious family so on seeing ‘The Great Day of His Wrath’ for the first time, I saw it purely as a natural disaster bring about the end of the world. The idea of a single entity or intelligent being able to create destruction on such a large scale was incomprehensible to such a young mind. I had guilt issues after squashing bugs so the thought of anyone being able to bring the lives of millions of people to an end was completely beyond me.
This is a painting that I visit in the Tate gallery, in London, at least once every two or three years. I always sit about eight feet away from it for ten minutes or more before walking closer to admire the detail. I’ve always thought of John Martin as Jack Kirby of the 19th Century. The imagination behind this had to be driven by some inner demon. It was many years later that I found out this was his response to the Industrial Revolution and his fears that it would destroy the world.”
I was in High School and coming to admire Napoleon Bonaparte (a little too much). One day I was arguing on his behalf as the bold modernizer who brought democracy, of a sort, to the rest of backward Europe, albeit on the points of bayonets. But as Stalin said, ‘You have to crack a few eggs to make an omelet.’ My cavalier attitude about Stalin’s, not to mention Bonaparte’s, atrocities was noted by one of my teachers. She scribbled “5/3/08—Goya” on a post–it and sent me to the nearby University’s arts library.
Goya’s “Disasters of War” paintings changed my thinking on “progress at any cost.” At night I dreamed I could hear the Spanish POWs screaming for mercy from the Frenchmen invading their country. I read all about Goya. He painted “May Third” yet pledged allegiance to Bonaparte and painted members of the French regime. In 1811 he was awarded the Royal Order of Spain. The life of this artist was at least as intriguing as that of any political revolutionary. Goya became my new tarnished hero.
“I wish I could present the piece of art that forever changed me, but the search for that life altering moment is still ongoing. Perhaps, this is a good thing. It means I am still on a journey of discovery, full of unsatisfied curiosity to see what awaits, always vigilant for that moment, and ever eager to explore. The journey is often more rewarding than the destination they say.
On this journey I have already encountered several pieces of art which I treasure. Pieces that inspire, hold a touch of magic, add beauty, and bring me joy. This is one such piece. It captures so many emotions and possibilities. It is a dream grounded in reality, for as fantastical as it seems, that moment can be real—the crisp air dancing on my skin, the waves whispering as I gracefully float on enchanted by the glowing gleam of hope filling the night sky.
One day, I hope it is. This is what inspires me, finding the magical in the mundane. Magical moments are all around us, we only need stop and look.”
“So then, the relationship of self to other is the complete realization that loving yourself is impossible without loving everything defined as other than yourself.”
– Alan Watts
“There’s so much life present in this painting. From nature’s green, water in motion, and the mystical glowing orbs that are all surrounded by darkness. It reminds me that my life should be filled with the beautiful things that bring me joy, despite what our crazy world has to offer.”
Would you mind sharing your own personal story and artwork in the comments below? You never know who you’ll inspire.
Jean (aka djailledie on deviantART) is a French photographer renowned for his experimentation and innovations in manipulating images. He rarely shoots a “straight” portrait or a landscape or a still life. He uses mere reality as the first raw material of his photographs, which he then enjoys transforming into something more interesting.
“Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.”
– Elizabeth Cady Stanton
“Do not be too timid and squeamish about your reactions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.”
“To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.”
– William James
Every year, the United Nations sets a theme for their International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. The 2014 theme is…
Leave no one behind: think, decide and act together against extreme poverty.”
I n a world as progressed as we believe ourselves to be it seems that poverty is still winning and growing. Income disparity in “advanced” economies such as the United States is growing rapidly with the top 1% gaining and the middle class slipping precariously. The Pope and other world leaders have identified income disparity as the greatest danger facing the world. In the former Soviet-influenced states, oligarchs amass wealth putting every capitalist of the last two centuries to shame while the general population slides deeper into deprivation.
Africa, East Asia and many parts of Central and South America remain as poor as ever even as local economic opportunity grows. In North Korea the population is simply poor. In China, people work themselves to death while their economy is touted as the next great consumer market. We can only guess at what it means to be in a factory city working in a factory, for factory wages, without any suggestion that you will ever evolve to any other place or level. Another kind of poverty?
Of late the press increasingly carries stories that the very wealthy are “pitching-in” to solve world hunger or eradicate malaria or fund micro-banking initiatives. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Clinton Initiative, Mark Zuckerberg from Facebook and his wife all announce in their names their latest “good intentions”. But the fact remains that this reinforces the notion that only the very wealthy can afford to care about the poor.
Governments and religious organizations provide massive funding for programs aimed at the poor all over the world. But even without statistical study we can tell its a thin layer of support.
Poverty breeds war. We spend more money on those. And then we spend on refugees. And then they join the ranks in deep poverty.
President Johnson in the United States announced a war on poverty only to see that dream abandoned for a war on Vietnam instead. This repeated over and over in every part of the world. Leaders and nations with great hopes and intentions towards the poor sidelined by war and greed.
Historically it has always been the working people, not the wealthy, who have proportionally donated massively more of their income to aid the impoverished at home and around the world either directly through charitable donations or through taxation. When workers’ income is falling backward, along with their lifestyles, how can they be expected to come to the aid of the impoverished? Survival is uppermost on the minds of most workers right now, not charity, let alone spending time strategizing for the great coming together of upper and middle classes for a joint effort to eradicate poverty forever.
So the question as to who will truly be “thinking and deciding how to act together” now to end extreme poverty will probably be the question on the lips of those who have read this far.
But how do you/we decide to act?
What in your daily life can contribute to aid the poor or pull down the forces that push people into poverty? How could the arts contribute beyond simply placing the reality of poverty in front of us all in pictures and in words? Could there be a universal symbol of relief, care and comfort without religious overtones to unify all world cultures? How can we teach compassion with our art?
As an artist do you feel you have a special responsibility to use your creativity to invent art projects that bring awareness of injustice and suffering?
Have you ever sent art to your government representatives as a way to initiate action by them?
Have you found any art projects in your neighborhood or country which focus on poverty and on providing solutions to hunger, housing, and support for the disenfranchised?
Do you feel in your heart of hearts that the haves and the have-nots will one day recognize each other as one family?
Current Residence: A Peaceful State|
deviantWEAR sizing preference: L
Print preference: As Big As Possible.
Favourite genre of music: Rock. Jazz(Hard Bop). Blues. 80's Metal. Tribal(Aboriginal thru Electronic). Classical.Troubado
Favourite photographer: Sebastio Salgado. Richard Mapplethorpe. Walker Evans. Weegee.
Favourite style of art: Post-impressionist. Abstract-expressionist. The New Digital Vanguard. Contemporary fantasy.
Operating System: OSX
MP3 player of choice: Shuffle
Shell of choice: Any Conch will do.
Wallpaper of choice: French Louis XIV Rococo Style
Skin of choice: Thick enough to persevere and thin enough to feel.