IMMORTALITY AND ART
by Pygoya - an open letter to Dr. Michael Newton, author
of Journey of Souls (1994) and Destiny of Souls (2004)
Dear Dr. Newton,
With all due respect for your genius and hypnotherapy research into the spiritual world, I write this open letter of appreciation as an artist, having spent a lifetime with the conflict (and criticism) of juggling roles and jobs in life. Your books, "Journey of Souls" (1994) and "Destiny of Souls" (2004) help elucidate for myself what my life has been about and assist in clarifying my future direction in life. I now don't feel like a "lost soul" but have identified my mission in life in the here and NOW. God willing, I shall build a museum for the digital arts, with emphasis on the Web-based type, to round out my art career. "Build it and they shall come" will be the motto hung front and center at this imminent brick n' mortar institution envisioned to be located somewhere in America.
"In Transit," digital
As a clinical psychologist your preferred mode of therapy is hypnosis and as an innovator you developed techniques that venture deep into not just life regression but between physical existences, within the spiritual realm. I find your work fascinating and am personally able to accept what you "report" after decades of working with clients in subconcious mental states. After all, I have used clinical hypnosis as a tool to alleviate dental anxiety as a practicing dentist, sometimes drilling painlessly even without a "shot." So there is no resistance on my part in the acceptance of your choice of research modality of the afterlife. I read your publications, with my own understanding of the power and validity of hypnosis as a means to access other levels of consciousness, with an open mind. I admire and respect your courage to publish what you have discovered.
"Ethereal Layers," oil on canvas
As artists we always hear "You'll be famous after you're dead (but not "rich and famous" in this life time);" "You're trying to be immortal through your art." But at 59, I have loss enough creative contemporaries to demonstrate that these clichés' are cultural myths. There has been no sudden turn around in the value of works that I have bought from the deceased after their passing. I am still stuck with a collection of local works that doesn't financially appreciate. Maybe instead of supporting my "starving artist" friends, I should have "invested" in a Picasso print 25 years ago. Of course, that really isn't the reason I acquired these works; I still derive pleasure in viewing them, and remembering the dearly departed.
And disappointingly, the attempt to achieve immortality may not be through one's effort as an artist limited to one short life time. It may take generations of time and effort to eventually "get to the top." I like to believe most of us are not so ego-centric to selfishly believe our art isn't for the common good but also is an extension of the cultural climate that we are born into.
Even after death, quality of craftsmanship and significance of aesthetic conceptual content still counts. But besides these inherent factors that may have held back "fame and fortune" during life, there exists the definite blockages to artistic success of 1) being in the right place and time, and 2) supply and demand. As an experimental digital artist, time expended basking on the beach of Waikiki, goggling at well packed bikinis. hasn't helped. Long ago I made my life decision not to relocate to New York City after art school in Chicago but choose to return home for family sake and Hawaii's tropical "creature comforts." In regards to 2), there sure exists an abundance of talented digital artists, in plain sight on the Internet and in its cyber-cultural "global (arts) village." So many are called but very few are chosen. It's the plight of the generation of artists born into this new millennium of high technology with personal empowered visibility. There's too many of us.
"Auras," oil on canvas
Permit me to share how your books have been therapeutic for my life moving forward. I will get off the beach, take career risks, and move to the Mainland - where I can afford to build my own baseball diamond in the corn fields.... as in "Field of Dreams," starring Kevin Costner. I believe through the emergence of the Internet, it is feasible to "build it (anywhere, but with a great Web site) and they shall come." My extended Hawaiian vacation may be over :=(.
I will keep stuff on "me" brief but I hope relevant as some sort of guideline for at least some artists out there, online. After all, it's doing wonders for me. I have been mobilized into action! I now have a realtor on the West Coast (USA) that specializes in commercial property, searching for museum space and I plan to take an early retirement from dentistry, as much as I like doing the work of a healer. Since we are all connected, when my private sphere reality changes, so will yours. Sometimes, as described in Malcolm Gladwell's "The Tipping Point" (2002), individual action can make a big difference, precipitating a sudden social change of epidemic magnitude. A museum of digital and internet art could become a reality, no longer residing merely within one man's fanatical dream state. The Internet is the present's social context in which "Connectors," such as Ingrid Kamerbeek of the Webists, who through special personal ability bring people together. Within this new realm I like to think of myself as a "Maven," or "people who accumulate knowledge," "teach," and facilitate "word-of-mouth (social) epidemics." I use psychology to assist in our understanding of the digital medium as a unique and legitimate art form. Eventually the "Salesmen," through their Web sites, will "persuade" the mainstream of the collectibility of cyber-art, establishing quality Giclee print editions as successful commodities in the brick n' mortar gallery world.
"City of Shadows," oil on canvas
Just before I read your books, Dr. Newton, available at Amazon.com and your local Barnes & Noble bookstore, I was invited to be the guest speaker at a symposium of teachers that work in the Honolulu public school gifted student program. I was "discovered" by the director through her stumbling upon my framed digital prints in a local restaurant. She declared my work to be that of a "gifted artist," thereby qualifying me to be a speaker in the educational field. Not knowing much about the specialty, I "winged it" as a "case study" documentation, with the art as validating proof for what I had to offer to these soldiers working within the trenches of limited budgeting for special education. The gifted are bunched together by the Board of Education with the unfortunates that possess "learning disabilities." Because of the economy, the local program just took a major budgetary financial hit for 2005. I consented to speak for free.
My approach for the group presentation was to do an introspective review of what it was like to be schooled in a system (1950s) where I felt like a "black sheep" unappreciated in a value system built upon the "3 Rs," providing no special support for early childhood display of artistic talent. Looking back, after having read "Journey of Souls," I now view my presentation and online journal documentation as a bit defensive for having a "multiple personality," an infliction instead of blessing from the perspective of conventional clinical psychology's models of wellness. I bought into the societal judgment that one cannot devote full dedication to managing three vocations, for me, dentistry, art, and psychology. I must be messed up. The bottom line to my self-validating speech was that I had the energy and capacity to practice dentistry, do my art with commitment, and cope with the schizophrenic-like social criticism, all in stride to sustain personal mental health.
"Ethereal Journey," oil on canvas
After considering what you layout, granted merely as a "reporter" of the "consistency" of description of the order of the spiritual world and reincarnations of many client-hypnotic subjects, I find it therapeutic for my own life situation. For now, thanks to your explorations, I am at peace that I can be a dentist as well as artist and do justice to both callings. I find the requirement of continued professional education in both fields exhilarating. I realize now that each profession has its time and place; my choices for healing and creating make me feel whole. I accept there is the possibility that a reincarnated artistic soul selected a dentist as supportive patron to do this specific life's bidding, a challenge for evolving during this creative life embedded within the advent of new artistic digital tools and the global communicative arena of the Internet. I recognize the synchronicity of events, that of having the financial means to establish a new Internet Art Museum, as well as to serve the multitude of digital artists "flagged" through the presence and discovery of their Web pages as validity of worth, both of their medium as well as personal artistic talent. I believe at this moment I am not only responsible to prove the aesthetic legitimacy of this art, of light, through my own works, but have a predestined obligation to assist in the support of the medium and its pioneering artists scattered abroad, reaching beyond the isolation of nationalism and religious camps. I stand ready, along with many others, to complete the mission.
So again, Dr. Newton, my heartfelt appreciation for clarifying what my life, my art, is "all about." There may be, in fact, intermediate and advanced artistic spirits now at work that specialize in an art form that exists through, and as, the vibrant energy of light itself.
"Journey of Souls," oil on canvas
With much thanks,
Pygoya- Webist since 1997 :ex. 1, 2
Next blog for absolutearts.com - Picture This - making art for eternity
Note to every digital artists- All artists are invited to be a part of this museum of the future. Of course there is the reality of the physical limitation of square footage of exhibition space. But all are still welcome to be registered in an artist database for both recognition of the work you are contributing to society as well as consideration for future shows after the development of a schedule of exhibitions. Please make us aware of your work by emailing Ingrid Kamerbeek, co-founder of The Webists at www.artingrid.de. Won't you join us to help level the playing field for ALL ARTISTS who, through free will, dare to commit to this creative yet challenging venue of the artistic life?