Category Archives: art

Sculptures blast a hole in the spacetime continuum

I’ve had a tiger by the tail, trying to get to the point of actually doing this Peter Pan sculpture. I agonised over the question whether it will be worth the space and time it takes up. Sculptures can’t be filed away in 2-D like a canvas. They are 3-D, in your face, have weight and breadth and depth. They are an expensive embarrassment if bad, a logistical problem and a sales problem even if good. And, as my own responses in Melbourne recently tell me only too clearly, even a ‘good’ sculpture can leave the viewer quite unmoved. A sculpture needs to be remarkable, 3-D startling, arresting, relating to us in the 3-D world they inhabit. I’d like mine to be climbable, playable with, at least for children. I’d like dynamism, moving parts perhaps, using water in some way perhaps. Or wind, or fire. Fountains, firepits, pizza ovens, play platforms, rideable, climbable, slide-downable, adorable – something! Plus dramatic, rousing, aspirational… haunting…

So hard has this been for me to fit into my weary already-overstuffed world of mainly social shoulds and maybes and onedays, that I found myself last week migrainey – something I had almost disappeared from my repertoire of responses.

And yesterday watching some Youtube videos by artists, I suddenly got the novel idea of going right back to basics – being me, the artist/thinker/dreamer/mystic, and just doing creations by myself, for myself as self-mentor, self critic, and self-muse (without excluding the possibility that if I actually do this, some ideal mentors, critics and muses might actually appear and help me in my quest! But I’m not holding up anything any more waiting for these ideal Godots… after all, I’m lucky enough to still have a wife who loves me enough, and now knows me well enough, to not try and stop me from the mad path of art, and a brother likewise, who from time to time gets inspired enough with one of my ideas to offer me some money to follow the mad hare a bit further down the rabbithole…). So I’m trying to idea out – Dreamspace as the Peter Harris gallery and studio and workshop.

The great thing now is to not follow too many trails at once, and starve like that donkey (not Balaam’s ass but… Aesop’s? No, Wikipedia says it was Jean Buridan’s, a deterministic philosopher in the 14th Century) between not just two but multiple piles of hay… There are too many Peter Harrises, all saying, ‘Be me!’ I must make a round table for us all, sit us down, and come to a consensus… a priority list. We only have one body to inhabit… We are pretty sure though that we should ‘dig our own treasure pit’, stop trying to also open up others’ pits, to teach them, inspire them, enlighten them, at least not directly as a teacher. If others are inspired or taught by what I produce, paint, scupt, or write, good; if not, never mind. I will have made a statement, put my message and last testament in a nice green bottle of art and cast it upon the human sea. That will feel good.

Watch this space for an actual sculpture – or two! I will scale up the simplest model I made first, then the more complex one several like best. Who knows, it might just pay the rent this month, and next month who knows what doors it might just blast open?

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Filed under art, artworks by Wizard of Eutopia, being an artist, sculptures in progress, theory of art

Art and babies: epicentres of disruption

Hi friends who may still be following here! I’ve been away in http://www.dreamspace.nz the gallery and workshops in Gisborne…and http://www.dreamhaven.nz… and the Facebook colonisations of these… I’ve been doing some sculpture ..a commission for the Captain Cook memorial…giant ferrocement gourds..hue in Maori. Now inspired by a dream and my brother’s offer of a donation, I’m doing a statue of a Peter pan figure from our epic Apples of Aeden, Quickblade.

So an artwork begins…And there’s where the DISRUPTION starts. All big art projects blast a hole in the space-time-causality continuum around them – family, jobs, timetables, miscellaneous duties… they push aside lesser values to assert their right to exist. Just like babies – only these babies are more suspect, dubious arrivals into the status quo that surrounds them. And the artist, as mother, is questioned, found guilty of wanton disregard for the careful hierarchy of values that makes up respectable life. Money, or the lack of it, is usually brought up as exhibit A for the prosecution. Irresponsible procreation with no visible means of support is the verdict.

And yet, there it is: the the mother has given birth to this new thing, this awkward artefact to be fitted into their universe. Later, if it is well accepted, the judges will pay belated respects to the artist…perhaps erect a monument in his memory.

Such is normally the outward path of the ser

ious artist. Only the rich inner life of creation of a beloved child, sometimes with the help of friend muse or grandchild – as here! can compensate for the uncertainty, the rejection and criticism, the poverty..

Happily, every now and then he receives a commission that pays well…usually a ‘safe’ project such as these hue. But safe projects do provide respite for the plotting and gestation of more daring works. 🙂 That’s about where I’m at right now. A good space to be in, however insecure.

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A t shirt full of ancient stone

I had an interlude on the old Kaipara today, an impromptu quest for the smooth heavy brown stones that I’ve carved from time to time – including lately as I live alone in the Hall of the Ark while I finish relining the hall for the hopeful new owners (who want to teach yoga in it). I put a crystal on the brow of the Bird and made holes in the pupils so you can sit inside and look through its eyes…:)

It was just an interlude between taking sofas and gas tanks from the land before handover day and going back to the Ark to cook dinner and prepare to get back into the renovations, but a bit of magic opened up by doing it.

I have written a whole ebook on the subject of these stones, kind of – it was discovering them that set me to thinking about loving stuff, all stuff, beginning right here with what is to hand that we relate to. A dollar on Amazon How to Love Everyone and Everything….Starting with a Stone  and free on Smashwords  Here. And I did relate to these strange, ancient smooth stones, all sitting on a section of the muddy shore in a kind of ancient convocation unearthed by time. So, now we have sold the land which is close to the Kaipara, having loaded the trailer I thought why not walk the dogs and seek a few more of these sacred little stones, so unassuming but like gold for a carver…

 

It’s a bit hard to do a good selfie while holding 63 heavy pebbles in your t shirt!  Funny, when I counted them later – that’s how ooold I’ll be this year… So, maybe I went a bit greedy prospector, but I know eventually I or someone at Dreamspace – Tiana are you reading this? -will probably carve them all. Some could just be polished a bit and left as found objects of great antiquity, too…

The lone mangrove tree marks the spot. In the sunset it was like a tree of life standing in the tidal mud and oyster-covered stones…

Magic. Oh yes the carving is my evolving take on ancient fertility goddess figurines. And the adzey thing is a chisel I angleground today from a piece of hard old steel I found inside the wall of the hall.

Next post here I may already be back in Gisborne to stay, creating more things I ‘know to be useful and believe to be beautiful’. Here’s to Dreamspace Gallery and workshops!

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Being me now – everyone else was taken!

Three fifteen is a dangerous time to wake up. If you start thinking it usually goes downhill fast. So you try to go back to sleep.

What if you don’t, but instead look at why your thoughts are gloomy, why your energy is so low?

I did that this morning at around 4 AM, Gisborne time – we’re ahead of the world so maybe I was the first soul to wake this day?? Well apart from the worthy farmers and shift workers. OK the first artist? OK at least the first philosopher! So, I got to thinking… I’m so… blocked. I have a monstrous block. Maybe I need a phsychologist to sort me out. No, I really know what he’d say, and if he didn’t I’d now what he should have said. So why not just do that!? What would a good psychologist say to Peter Harris aka the Wizard of Eutopia? ‘Put up or shut up’. Or what Paulo Coelho’s  Alchemist told the Englishman who wanted to become a real alchemist and not just a book one: ‘TRY!’ Try and transmute that lead into gold. Even if you think you tried before, now, this time, in THIS moment, TRY it.

What did my inner Alchemist tell me to try? What all inner Alchemists tell us all the time if we’d only listen: BE YOURSELF ALREADY! But what is me? Well, what’s my name? wizard of eutopia… hm… wizards do what? Well they change situations, make eutopias happen, catalyse. They’re alchemists of culture, turning the leaden societies about them into gold. They create portals through which people may go into a golden era. They hold a space, they plant a flag, they declare the ancient divine platitudes to a new generation of unbelievers who want the courage to believe them. Hm… haven’t I been there, tried that?

So I need to come out and TRY it AGAIN. Better. Eutopia is a phoenix bird, needs the wizard to revive it. But first he must revive himself.  ‘The kingdom of heaven is within us’. Amen!

SO, my plan is to

1 Get a space (I have one in mind – it’s big and spacious and cheap, here in Gisborne), start communicating with people who come there, have a round table with a phase timer so we remember to do all the dynamic things, in good order, in the divine Balance: 1 Love and listen; 2 Imagine and envision; 3 Reason and plan; 4 Act and communicate. For the logic of this see my www.4phase.org

2 Do my art in that space, and make the ferrocement hobbit havens and other sculptural icons.

3 Maybe open the space to other ‘harvesters, creators and rejoicers’. On the front it will say something like  ‘Eutopia. All welcome’ Or Altars of Art. Names and naming does tie me in knots often, but not this time!

email me wizardofeutopia@gmail.com if you like the  sound of this. If in Gisborne you could join me

So, what has been my biggest, monstrous, block? I think those who know me would agree (?) it’s shyness, this huge reluctance to engage with normal people out there in the normal world. The more I become ME, the weirder and more alien and threatening that ‘normal’ world and those ‘normal’ people seem to become. This morning I got that I am NOT shy per se – just shy of the idea of these implacably normal people, the System they represent that’s the real Monster out to get me, kill my soul, deny my dreams and visions. So it’s simple, really: I get with people who aren’t like that, who do want to be truly alive and think for themselves, and create new things and a better life and a better place. Eutopians… and ‘show them the rainbow and the stairway to the overman’. (thus spake Zarathustra)

Zarathustra’s monster he called the Spirit of Gravity, that mole-dwarf of leaden spirit that denies and drags down. His weapon against it was to fling it off his back and say ‘Stop dwarf!  I! Or you!’ And to show it the endless circle of life and to say Yes to it. I think what really defeated the dwarf was that Zarathustra danced. And that he laughed… like the shepherd in his vision who was choking from a black snake crawling into his throat. He bites off the head and jumps up, no longer a mere mortal but an overcomer, and he laughs. And Nietzsche writes, ‘My longing for this laughter consumes me…’

What is your monster?  When (and how) will you bite its head off and leap up, laughing?

 

 

 

 

 

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Writing again, naturally!

Ah, it is a fateful thing to begin writing! It always demands more until the tail of the writing wags the dog of life… so to speak! Or the world of the tale bends around and swallows the writer whole.  See here for my post on what is afoot in the world of Apples of Aeden, a world big enough to swallow an army of writers! https://applesofaeden.wordpress.com/2016/02/02/the-narrator-staggers-back-to-the-desk/

This painting I did last year is one little image from that world. I hope to do some more images, this time sketches or illuminations to go with the text. Another tail that could wag the dog!

enthorned they dream copy

 

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Sleepwalking through a wonderland

I realized today that’s what I’m doing when I’m ‘busy making other plans’ all the time and miss the staggering wonder of life – people, babies, children, dogs, cats, birds, trees, flowers – a cascade of things and beings, most of which are not out to get me or ruin my life, and some of which (take dogs, for example, ok Poppy and Honey) have amazing, unflagging love and devotion for me. If you are also lucky enough to have someone who lives with you and puts up with you and even occasionally tells you they love you, well  – thy cup runneth over!  Then there’s children and grandchildren – a huge theme of this year for us as our second grandson was born.

Why the sudden appreciation of all life? A near-death experience? No, mercifully all it took was a few hours collecting some of the photos we took this year, for a pictorial Christmas card. Some of grandchildren, some of children, some of my art labours. Here’s the draft.

Christmas card A4 2015-1Christmas card A4 2015-2

Maybe this WAS a particularly lovely year to look back on and wish I had been more ‘present’ to it. (Yes – thanks to brother John were were even in Paris and Oxford, and Florence and Cannes this year, and nobody shot us or anyone of the peaceful multitudes we saw). But really, life is so abundant and fractally amazing, even a year in gardens looking at leaf patterns could have done it for me – if necessary! Those adorable beings which periodically invaded our Appletree garden were a fantastic bonus.

Life is like the transfinite numbers, from which you can strip whole infinities of lower order and they remain the same (!!?). That’s why I suppose many of those who have least have learned the secret of appreciation of what remains – and can see ‘infinity in a grain of sand, or eternity in an hour’ WOW! Right on! And I am not even (and never was) stoned, either!

Why not try making a compilation celebrating YOUR kaleidoscopic, fractally infinite, year of 2015?

 

 

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Homemaking, the Last Homely House, and the meaning of Life

Raewyn had a home day yesterday – we both had colds. It was sunny so we went outside and pruned the big appletree. It was good… Raewyn looked so nice up in the appletree I wanted to share this photo…

raewyn pruning the Appletree apple tree 26 8 15

I have been thinking about modern art, the agreement (seemingly) reflected in it that beauty is ‘only skin-deep’; and how much I hate this view, which is so unthankful and based on some kind of dumb reductionist demand that anything that is good or beautiful must be good in essence, the same through and through, instead of the process kaleidoscope that all physical things are. And I started to think a Homely House is a good and beautiful place where the vision of ideal Beauty and Truth and Goodness is forever being aimed at, never fully achieved, but it’s all right, there is enough there to keep us happy – if we don’t dwell on the gaps but on what is actually there – including the good intentions of the home-makers who are holding that kaleidescope of meaning for themselves and others to enjoy. I thought how all those alienated souls in our culture who lack a sense of home (and we all have a home of some sort) therefore lack the experience of it, and hence lack a sense of meaning in life. The meaning comes in the practice of good things. The practice of the Homely… But I am of course just a ‘romantic’ and don’t speak the ‘language of Art’ as one smug Ponsonby art dealer once informed me. As they informed Tolkien… Well I am with Tolkien, Middle Earth, and the Last Homely House.

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