Symbols, symbols, symbols. I looooove me some symbols. So this wonderful woman of yore gave me such a lovely buzz in my tummy when I, only very recently, heard of her.
I'm fascinated by how Hilma Af Klint was guided to create. Along with 4 other women, named The Five, she conducted seances to make contact with the High Masters. Communion with these spirits guided her to paint these beautiful, symbolic works filled with a language of colours and shapes.
Hilma's will insisted that her paintings not be shown to the world until 20 years after her death. She died at 81 in 1944. When she, posthumously, received attention from the art world, it was concluded that her work predated artists such as Kandinsky, who was always credited as creating the first abstract art.
I love the idea of art being channeled from a higher realm. Whether you believe in the spirit world or not, the act of ritual definitely connects us with some kind of power. A material explanation for such unseen creative guidance could be the removal of over-analysis in such ritualistic gatherings. Surrendering yourself fully to ritual results in a loss of (or shrinking of) self. Most of our everyday creativity is performed whilst we are very conscious of the self. It's most definitely this awareness of self that can piss on my creative chips and cause me to overthink whatever I am working on. Will people like it? Is it original? Is it my style? All of these egoic questions can totally turn off a more intuitive creative urge in me. I read that Hilma engaged in automatic drawing, a method involving allowing your hand to move freely and randomly over the paper with no pre-considered design. A technique to access and express your subconscious. I have definitely found that a deep connection with my subconscious mind has brought about the best creative results. I came up with my favourite designs (which inspired me to properly launch my brand) after a 10 day silent meditation retreat. In these 10 days, the bellowing, ego-mind was turned down to a gentle whisper. My designs felt like they "came" to me. They sprung up from an intuitive place within that quietening the mind had allowed me access to. The pieces I created were the first designs that truly came from an authentic place, rather than an attempt to create something that I thought other people would like.
But maybe quieting the mind removed the screen between myself and the spirit world. Maybe I communed, unknowingly, with my own High Master. I'm totally down with that possibility. (Although I'm not at all claiming to have pioneered any kind of definitive new creative movement, like Ms Af Klint!). I'm also totally down with the idea of experimenting with my own creative seance. Get in touch if you want to join me and see what comes up!