In 1985 I had just graduated from college with a Bachelor’s Degree in Art. Making art became a way to visually explore the connection I felt to the invisible world of dreams, thoughts and emotions, what couldn’t be seen with the human eye, but could be internally sensed. With the trust that I had funded in my own experience, I set out to discover what traditions and wisdom had meaning for me, seeking to create a personal philosophy in which to navigate my own life. I wanted to create a book and accompanying imagery that contained the wisdom shared by people around the world to act as a reminder of what I was capable of during times when I wasn’t feeling all that wise. I would in turn, use the practice of making art as a means of learning about my own creative and spiritual life.
I was introduced to the meaning of archetypes, fundamental patterns of human behavior that emerge at different times in our life through studying Carl Jung’s work. I also studied a variety systems of divination, mainly the Tarot, an Oracle that was most likely created in the East but was brought over to the west in the Middle Ages, a system that potentially offered a valuable set of cross-cultural and universal principles. While I enjoyed the imagery and symbolism of traditional tarot, the interpretations of many decks often seemed to support a dependence on the deck to provide answers from without that should be found within. I also found that any oracle or system of divination was most effectively used as a mirror of one’s present thoughts rather than as a device to somehow predict the future.
In 1989 I enrolled in a Master’s program in ‘Art and Consciousness’ at John F. Kennedy University. The program was an inquiry into the human impulse to create and the role that this impulse could potentially have in shaping how we view our lives. As an artist, as in life, when one is present there is beauty in every moment. Every addition of a visual element, every choice, presents huge new opportunities. I found that my artwork took shape and made a life of its own when I ‘showed up,’ both as a witness and participant to it. To make art out of the experience of living would mean living life in the manner in which I made art: paying attention to the present moment and responding with awareness, being willing to live with questions, but to live presently. I realized that this was the potential of an Oracle, to be able to view how it was that one had put together their experience and as a result have a greater capacity to create and express.