Bio – Continued

I’m a Chicago based artist with a background in web design. Mythology and mysticism have been a major influence on my life; I’d call myself a self-educated student of holistic anthropology. My favorite artist is Diane Arbus.

Art was my passion as a little kid, but somehow I got lost along the way to adulthood. Key adults discouraged me early on, including two art teachers who gave good artwork bad grades (probably having more to do with my choice of content than actual talent). For example I was into nudes, even sculpting nude figures of my mother without realizing the awkwardness. It’s no wonder I developed a problem with authority.

Getting back into the arts was a long road for me. In 2005, I had already spent 5 years deeply entrenched in esoteric studies before it dawned on me that I should be painting. I had been doing a lot of craft projects, including a lot of Native American crafts like dream catchers, spirit shields, moccasins, and dolls. Working on spirit shields led me to illustrating a tarot deck, which led to painting. After years of trial and error experimenting with technique, finally I developed a unique style, beginning my first series in the autumn of 2014.

For my first series, Temples, I reworked several of my earliest nude studies. Gnostic lore binds the story line, relating mythology to life experience. The eerily erotic series focuses centrally upon Sophia’s creation of the demiurge and her transformation into the light being Lucifer, a metaphor for the manifestation of energy as matter.

My second series focuses upon one of the most infamous explorers of gnosis, Charles Manson. Having spent a lifetime behind bars, Manson could be considered the real life king of the underworld. I believe an unbiased, in-depth exploration of this man could provide a pivotal key to understanding the human condition.

Listening to a lot of underground music in my youth, bands like Skinny Puppy heightened my awareness of what was going on in the world. Post-Gnostic and Scientology offshoot groups like the Process Church sparked my curiosity. Their system inspired the online oracle Zone31. I also designed Tarotsmith, providing free do-it-yourself divination with decks by independent artists such as myself. My bifrost tarot deck (rough draft of a still forthcoming deck) is exhibited in the Museo del Tarot in Madrid.

 

The Dark Side

Mental illness is a true disease in that it’s passed from person to person and generation to generation in one form of abuse or another, but it’s a psychic disease. I think art is a positive way of dealing with trauma and the complications of abuse, and I think this is why a lot of artists become artists. Ideally, I would like my art to help bring awareness to mental health issues, showing that methods of correcting these issues do exist. I think of my artistic method as “regressionism.” Artistic reverie leads to self-awareness, and is at the same time a method of desensitization of traumatic experiences. Trauma and its wake can leave a person in a state of mental incarceration their whole life if they don’t find a way out. 

As I was just entering adulthood, a psychiatrist prescribed a lethal concoction of 3 pharmaceuticals, 1 of which was known to destroy the pancreas. (I was so lucky to have the benefit of getting the inside scoop from a nurse who violated the code of ethics, or I would not have known better.) Then about 10 years later, 1 of the other meds was discovered to have been equally harmful. Had I not chosen to self-medicate using herbal remedies and accepted the stigma of “non-compliant,” I would most likely not be alive today to share my experiences. My art’s mission is to help initiate a cultural shift.  It is based not only upon my experiences, but those of others who have carried much greater stigmas.

Due to my unfortunate experience with sexual assault, a major part of my artistic mission involves bringing awareness to rape culture. As my life was completely derailed by one single trauma, I know the subject from a unique point of view. Unable to connect with society, I roamed the desert for 20 years before I finally managed to heal the damage. During that time, I sought help but instead was repeatedly blamed for the circumstances that had caused my mental illness.

I found no refuge from those who reached out. Their only desire was to torment the damned. Under constant torment, I learned all about the depths that a mind can be pushed to as I slipped from one mental disorder to another over and over again until it seemed like I could claim a dozen different disorders. At the point where depression started to slip into psychosis, I completely gave up on ever connecting with another human being again. Approaching the point where I could feel my brain itself was beginning to physically derange, I began to manifest the traits of schizophrenia. It was only after completely losing faith in humanity that one special person finally appeared in my life to restore my faith. Today I am grateful for the experience because through art and awareness, my experiences may help other survivors who would dare to relive the pain in order to begin the healing process.