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Utopian art in a dystopian World

Reflecting on my art and the process flow takes me to places I wouldn’t otherwise visit. These two particular artworks represent many things to me, so I will try to articulate them clearly and hopefully convey something of the meaning to you, the reader.

Let’s start with science fiction and in particular, the Stanley Kubrick film: 2001. The first time I saw this movie in a theater I was almost literally blown away. The cinematography, the music, the realistic portrayal of life in space, followed by the mystical experiences of the protagonist, Dave, brilliantly underplayed by Kier Dullea, as he goes through profound experiences of accelerated aging, death and rebirth, of timelessness, wove an unforgettable tapestry into my consciousness. So these two pieces are a tribute to Stanley Kubrick, and to his film, which was based on a story by the great science fiction author, Arthur C Clarke.

Utopia vs Dystopia. Questions arose as I was creating these two paintings: Is there a perfect world? A perfect place somewhere in this world? A perfect inner state? A better planet on which we humans could start over? Can we create a future world that’s free from hunger, poverty, climate change, suffering? We seem to have a vague sense that there is, somehow, somewhere, but where is it? And can it truly be attained?

Many dystopian films, novels, TV shows, are being produced these days. Why are we obsessed with a ruined future for humanity? Is it a way to warn ourselves not to continue the consumption and pollution of our world? Can we slow and eventually reverse the radical population explosion that threatens all life on the planet?

In modern psychological astrology, Neptune is considered to be the planet of illusion and fantasy, of fateful fascination with glamour and of self undoing. A dystopian lifestyle of indulgence and addiction might look good on the outside, but it would bring painful results in the long run.

Neptune is also a transpersonal planet, signifying the dissolving of boundaries and dualities. It is a symbol for oneness, transcendence, timelessness, miracles, synchronicities. Obviously, the physical planet is not habitable so it could never be a true Utopia. In the first painting it is a representation of refuge, a place of transcendence. In the second painting I wanted Neptune to symbolize a dystopian place (hence the crack), also an inner dystopia, a lifestyle of unconscious and addictive behaviour.

While creating these pieces I was reflecting on my progress toward minting NFT art. Back in June 2021 I was tempted to just post all my best paintings on Opensea.com, the largest and most openly available site for NFT’s and see what happens. Since then, I have slowed considerably, continuing to reflect on my best possible path; my options and opportunities. First, I want to finish and post my new website. Artbyinglis.com will be reborn sometime in September. I also now understand that the wise and careful choice of an NFT website will be of great importance to my ongoing career as an artist and for my financial future.

I believe I can create a comfortable income from my art in the next few decades, while I travel and continue my experiment with slowing the aging process. Also, a steady income will allow me to continue to paint in total freedom! My personal art Utopia! My artist ego will be overjoyed!

Drums Along The Nile. Digital 2021.

This painting was created in a Flow state. According to Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, psychologist and discoverer of Flow, this state is recognizable by 6 characteristics:

  1. Complete concentration on a limited field of creativity or information. Attention locked onto the task. Enjoyment in the here and now.
  2. Merging of action and awareness. No longer able to separate the doer from the activity being done.
  3. Sense of Self vanishing. In flow our sense of self melts, or even at times disappears.
  4. Altered sense of time. Time may slow down or speed up depending on the person and the activity.
  5. Sense of control. We become the pure energy of creativity.
  6. The activity is its own reward. We may have a specific goal, such as remuneration for our efforts, but the pure act of creativity brings its own joy.
  7. We will experience joy spontaneously arising from within. This could be analyzed in terms of brain chemistry and neuroscience, but the process of Flow will always have an element of mystery or we could say: the Mystical!
  8. Instagram: RobZentaur1

Art, Mind & Money

 For many years I have been drawing, designing, painting, and creating. Sometimes I take inspiration from the work of the great masters, past and present.  At times, quite simply, I paint because I have no choice. I am an artist. 

Comparisons of my own work with that of other artists, living or dead, gets me nowhere. If I get caught up in thoughts about what you like or whether you will approve of my work, or whether you will pay me for products of my artistic labors, I get stuck in self concerns and projections. That is not pure creativity.

If I am focused on my painting moment by moment, with mind relatively clear, then I am in the flow and nothing else really matters.

Years ago, I did a lot of work using the stipple technique with a technical pen, consisting of thousands of dots, creating an illusion of three dimensionality. Because of the repetitious nature of the method, I found myself thinking about all kinds of other things while drawing. Noticing the wandering mind, I would just focus on creating those dots, and not follow the train of thought. This turned drawing into a meditative process. That was very refreshing, and I found the creative inspiration arose very naturally.

In the pen & ink drawing below, created in 1986, I initially set out to create a portrait, and I didn’t know what the end product would look like. The costume, the various symbolic animals, and the background came from a pure creative source which I cannot claim to own.

If I sit down and try to create a painting that will sell, or get ‘likes’ on social media, I usually do not find much joy in it because I’m trying to guess what other people’s reactions will be. I have always been fortunate in that I do not have any pressure to sell my art. This allows me to paint and draw in a very free process. It also contributes to the joy, the sheer fun and satisfaction of experimentation. Curiosity is a big driver for me. How will this turn out? What if I apply a different brush to that area? Oh, that’s interesting. Let’s try some more of that. Or perhaps a new lighting effect? I find digital painting has expanded my artistic horizons a thousand-fold.

Recently I have decided to jump on the NFT (non-fungible tokens) train and see if I could sell some of my art for crypto currency. I came to realize that other people’s opinions of my art would matter a lot if I was to make real money.  So I decided to redesign my art website, post some of my best work on Instagram, revive my blog, and just generally get more recognition from the public and from fellow artists.  Frankly, this has been a struggle. I am not naturally inclined towards marketing and learning all the various new strategies has proved somewhat difficult. I find myself wanting to paint rather than promoting my paintings. 

So I picked up a book on peak performance, ‘The Art of Impossible’ by Steven Kotler, and am learning Passion, Purpose and Persistence, and some progress is being made. I am beginning to enjoy dealing with the many challenges. And not saying “I’ve had enough.” when the going gets tough!

To be continued…….

My Artist Ego Reborn

What does it mean to be a digital artist in these times of online galleries, NFT art, Beeple selling paintings for millions, 3-D art, Ethereum, Binance, and heavy competition? Many are in it for the fame & glory, the dream/hope of making millions overnight. This is one side of the coin: the extreme focus on the material, rather than the esthetic, value of art. 

On the other side, what does it mean to make art for the shear joy of it? Creativity for creativity’s sake. That has always been my chief goal. Channeling the muse; giving form to the impulse; the painting painting itself. As I get older, my creativity has not diminished, rather it is growing exponentially as new opportunities arise. I have more creative ideas than I will ever have time to see to fruition.

I have been sharing my work on Facebook for free for the past 9 years. Having thousands see these paintings is, in itself, very rewarding. This is the pure communicative aspect of art. Art is primarily a form of communication, even if its just communicating with yourself.

There are more analog and digital artists out there today than ever before. They are painting, drawing, printing, modeling, cartooning, animating! Just look at the number of art websites…..staggeringly stupendous!  We are all finding new ways of expression and just beginning to tap into our multi-faceted muses.     

Digital artists have been unlocking new doors for more than twenty years. We are creating today’s art, tomorrows art, and we will not go away. We are creating Eternal Art! Few are talking about this aspect of art lasting forever.

I personally started working with Corel Painter in 1999. It was an infinite expansion of possibilities! An interesting anecdote:  In 2002 I approached a prosperous looking gallery in Seattle with some of my work and the owner said, disdainfully, “I am not the least bit interested in digital art!” In retrospect it was ironically humorous! That gallery has long since disappeared, and millions of online galleries have appeared. Artists are making money without the limitations and costs of brick and mortar galleries. Exciting!

At this point I would like reiterate my artist’s statement:  “Art is the lifeblood of civilization! I will continue to paint until am I no longer able. My primary goal is to give expression to a more transcendent view of life and reality. Another is to bring beauty into people’s lives. My art will last forever in its original form, without loss of color or degradation of material.”

Title: Mars in Leo. Mythic, symbolic, astrological, digital art. As planet Mars makes its return to my natal Mars position, the creative energy is flowing like never before. I am in process of preparing 130 paintings to be sold as NFT’s.

NFT art is here to stay. Finally digital artists have a golden opportunity to sell our work and be compensated for numberless hours of work. Exciting! Stay tuned for more blogs about the process. Please follow my blog for ideas on creating and minting NFT art, artist as self and the role of ego, why we create, the role of art in current society, much more.

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Art-by-Inglis-133545833419673

website: www.artbyinglis.com (down for construction – back up by June 30, 2021)

Next Blog: Eternal Art?!

Two Hearts becoming One

This painting evolved while I was experiencing a growing love relationship. There were many aspects to the relationship which pointed to a very fulfilling and complete merging. As time went on our love grew and deepened, and we are now experiencing a very pure essence of love that has elements of both passion and purity, eros and agape.

According to A. H. Almass, founder of the transpersonal psychology school, Ridhwan, or Diamond Heart, there are several levels of love essence. One is called Merging Love: “When you know and experience your Essence, you can allow yourself to experience merging love with another person; you don’t feel the need for barriers between you and the other. When you feel your own beingness and the beingness of the other, it is possible for them to become one. When there is no issue of me and you, of boundaries and separation, then there is no issue of us as One. Merging love creates a state with no barriers. There are no barriers drawn between you and anyone or anything, between you and your body, your surroundings, the whole universe. You are merged with the All. This kind of love is one of the most difficult for people to experience in love relationships even though it is exactly what they say they want.”

“Most conflicts in love relationships are about merging love. “How close can I be with you? I don’t want to be too close, but I don’t want to be too far away either.” Or “ When I get too close, then suddenly I feel vulnerable and want to create more distance.” This dance of closeness and separation are of the personality. Issues of closeness and distance will attempt to block merging love . When you are in your beingness, it doesn’t matter how close or how far you are. Your boundaries are overflowing and melting away. When your boundary comes close to the warmth of the other person, it just melts.” – A. H. Almaas – Diamond Heart, volume 2

This painting is available as a limited edition archival quality print, numbered 1 to 50, size: approx. 24″ x 18” for $200 Cdn. The “Inglis” Logo will be reduced to a small size and placed in the lower left corner of the painting. Shipping within North America is $40 Cdn. Please send me an e-mail via my website http://www.artbyinglis.com to order. The image has not been posted to the site yet.  Thank you for your interest in my work.

Rhinoceros

Zen Master Yanguan said to his attendant: “Bring me the rhinoceros fan.” The attendant replied: “The rhinoceros fan is broken.” The master said: “Then bring me the rhinoceros!”

For no reason this rhinoceros emerged from my mind today and the virtual darkness gave way to light and form.

Creating the Muse

The Muse can sometimes visit when you least expect her. So I always have a set of pens and pencils with me. Even as a primarily digital artist I find sketching so fulfilling. Some of my sketches get scanned and become full paintings while some get visited in the future as I leaf through old sketch books. Always wonderful to see work created decades ago. It shows what progress I’ve made but most, important for my soul, the pure expression of that moment in space/ time. 

I feel that I could spend most of my days creating new works, painting, painting, painting. The muse seems to always be close by, available, whispering, sometimes shouting in my ear. Unfortunately other matters hold priority right now. I’m working on my new Astrology and Tarot website and that’s a very slow process. I wish the muse would visit me more frequently over there.

If you are an artist I suggest to you that your job is to invite the Muse, before anything. What does she/ he look like? What is her preferred medium? When is he/ she happiest? Is it when you start something, or when you are finished? Get to know that part of you and the muse will remain close, always ready to inspire and uplift you. I have a close friend, a psychotherapist that tells me “You must paint and give voice to the joy in your soul, otherwise an important part of you gets shut down. If ignored for too long it will make you unhappy, and you, in forgetfulness of the Muse, will not know why you are feeling so low.”

Oh inspiration, goddess of all beauty and creativity within, please stay close. Let me always be in tune with your light and color and give form to your formless true being.  

 

Light and Dark

This painting grew out of a painful place. I was trying to see through a darkness surrounding another person, but I realized the dark fog was within me. So here we see the dance between self and other, light and dark, right and wrong, night and day.

Dance Right or Wrong 9

What does it mean to sell your art? Are you happy that someone liked it enough to send you money? At least you are past poor Vincent. You’ve sold something while still alive. Is there a deep feeling of satisfaction? Do you allow yourself time to let any of that feeling sink in or are you on to the next thing? Try staying with that feeling of accomplishment for a few minutes or a day or a week. Experience it. It is a part of you, regardless of what you accomplish..

Not selling my work bothers me on an ego level but on the absolute level it is nothing at all really, no… really. I often do have the urge to reach out, to communicate, to say something meaningful. I love seeing the map on google analytics that shows where people are that view my site. That’s real communication, since a lot of them don’t even speak my language.

I recently sold a large print and several smaller ones from my website and shipped them off today. I know that this particular buyer sees some of my work as visual depictions of her inner spiritual experiences. My prints will hang on her wall for the rest of her life. This brings a deep sense of connection with the buyer. Satisfaction arises. Stay with it, its OK. Connecting, Oneness, this is the essence of my art.

I have been riding a wave of energy lately and am wanting to put that energy to work.When I launched my art website three years ago I wanted to reach out to people and connect with others on a spiritual level, not just sell prints to corporate art buyers. I have found many people looking and downloading free copies for their virtual art collections but not many buyers of my prints. I have recently ramped up my output on this blog and created a facebook page as well. The facebook page is a little more personal than the blog and may eventually serve as a source of potential buyers. I have no works in brick and mortar galleries at this time. I participated in some group shows in Rochester, NY during my years of living there. With my recent move to Vancouver, I plan to get out and connect with local galleries. In the meantime I am also upgrading my SEO (site optimization) for the main website in an attempt to generate more viewers. Keywords will be changed and content will be modified. I am planning to add a spiritual surrealism gallery as well, since some of my recent best work falls into that category. MyArtistEgo thanks you for visiting.

Rene and Me

Homage to Rene Magritte

This is on the heels of the previous post relating to my choice of artist brand or logo. In the Asian art tradition it is customary to create a stamp to go on each print or original. work. The Inglis apple core logo is my digital stamp or “chop.” I created this work before my website got launched in Nov ’08, over three years ago. The idea behind the title “Homage to Rene Magritte” was to honour a man who amazed me with his work as far back as the Sixties. Yes I do actually remember the 60’s. Having read through Taschen’s excellent book on Magritte I came to realize that he had a vision of realtiy that was very plastic, and very childlike in the best sense. Yes, a train could emerge from a fireplace. It could really rain bowler hatted men. And a single apple could eclipse a room. Depends on the position and perspective of the observer. He had a very Zen-like view of reality, although I doubt he would want to put any label like “Zen” on his work. I’m not sure he even liked the term surrealism. His painting of a pipe, titled “This is not a pipe” completely rips off all the labels. As Frank Zappa once sang “Lick my decals off, baby.” Right on Frank and Rene and  Zen, too. Because the great Chan (zen) teachers, in their infinite compassion and deep wisdom really want us to let go of all concepts, to see the shining non-relative completeness of everything.

So this is my humble attempt to do something Magritte-esque (another label, non?) A rain of apple cores. If you visit the website you will se an animated version of this work. Enjoy. And please, whatever you do, don’t label it good or bad.

If you are interested in the deeper significance of the choice of an apple core for my artist logo please see the previous post: Inglis, Ego and the Applecore Logo. Thanks for showing up on MyArtistEgo.