Here are some of the recurring symbols that I use in my paintings:
Tattoos and Tattoo Symbols (Boats, ships, Anchors, rope, Skulls, Hearts
Mouth of the beast
Hybrids- mermaid, flower woman, cat woman, spider woman
Freaks- siamese twins
Lanterns, cages, and bell jars
Struggle- wrestling, fighting, clawing
Addiction- Pills, Candy, Alcohol
I will be writing a series that shows and reflects on why I use symbols in my work.
Let’s begin by discussing the first symbol: eyes.
In my paintings, I really enjoy depicting eyes. When I create a single eye or an eye on a heart, it’s akin to the ‘all-seeing eye,’ symbolizing awareness, knowledge, and a sense of power. I really wish I could cultivate that third eye to foresee the future for the feeling of security and maybe motivate me for the rewards or consequences of my actions. This would provide me comfort and I think, make me more patient and tolerant of today’s suffering. However, I understand that my suffering from not knowing the future is a choice, just as idealistically envisioning a perfect future is also a choice. Another choice would be to not worry about the future.
Yet, I aim to see better, to not only peer into your heart, but also into my own. That’s one reason why I paint many eyes. What do eyes convey to you?
You may have heard the phrase ‘God knows all, sees all,’ another example linking vision and spirituality. That there is a higher power in the Universe that plans everything, watches over everything, is an idea that conforts and perplexes. If something else sees and knows the best situation for me and I’m blind in a way to my situation, wouldn’t it be better for me to let go of illusions of control and have more faith that everything will work out?
Last month, I shared a quote by Anais Nin: ‘We don’t see things as they ARE, but as we are.’ Eyes might seem to perceive reality, but reality differs for everyone. Let’s say that reality is an agreed-upon hallucination. Our minds are filled with the data of past experience, and that experience colors everything we see or think about.
How you choose to see things is largely based on how you think about them. Perception is learned and reality is a constructed experience. I encourage you to question reality and your understanding of just about everything. Know that how you see things is a choice, and you can change your perspective at any time.
In Buddhism, there are five ways of seeing: physical, heavenly, wisdom, dharma, and Buddha. What do those five views mean to you? They can be interpreted in various ways depending on one’s perspective and mindset.
Let’s talk more about the Buddha eye. It remains half-open and half-closed in a meditative state, enabling it to perceive beyond material things. Sometimes, it is represented by a third eye. In Buddhist art there are the inner eyes of wisdom and material eyes that perceive the external world. Eyes can «see» the truth or the presence of greed, hatred, and ignorance. Seeing is another way to say awareness.
Dreams of eyes are believed to signify the opening into a new dimension, which I find intriguing. I adhere to the interpretation that eyes remind us to see past what is common, providing an inner vision to perceive all things in their divine glory. ‘Eyes are the windows to the soul,’ with the soul representing our spiritual side and limitless vision. Eyes also being the windows to the condition of the soul. Even through a smile, sadness in the eyes can be detected.
For me, painting is a non-verbal way to express myself, just like a gaze can convey so much without words.I aim to tie all this together by mentioning that in Greek myth, the character Psyche embodies the soul and can travel between worlds. But I’m not sure how to tie it together. Perhaps tonight, I will find the link between her and dreams of eyes in my sleep.
Paintings with big-eyed figures are an essential characteristic of the Lowbrow art movement. And I consider myself and my work to be a part of this art movement. It was Margarette Keanne who popularized the concept of big-eyed waifs in the early sixties, expressing childlike innocence and perhaps the vulnerabilit of naivety.
Additionally, eyes are associated with hypnotic influence, like the penetrating gaze of Count Dracula. The concept of mesmerizing derives from Mesmer, the man who created the theory of ‘animal magnetism,’ later known as ‘hypnotism,’ signifying a natural energy transference between all animated and inanimate objects. Do you think you are vulnerable to certain things you look at? I’ll delve more into this soon! This concept raises questions about the impact of visual stimuli on our psyche and emotions.
I have been putting a white dot in the eyes of my paintings for so long that I can’t remember when it started. The white dot might signify thet spark of life, the light within us reflected out, intuition and connection to a higher understanding. I feel like my art carries a plethora of meanings and emotions related to eyes, and I hope this theme evokes a wide range of feelings and interpretations for my audience.
In conclusion, eyes in my paintings represent psychic vision and enlightenment, encompassing various meanings and emotions related to human perception, spirituality, and consciousness.
In my art, I explore a myriad of symbols, each carrying profound meanings. Among them, I often depict eyes that embody protection and the essence of life. The eye’s symbolism extends further with the concept of the third eye, representing intuition and the ability to perceive beyond the material world. It’s like having the gift of prophecy, enabling one to glimpse into the future and behold visions yet to unfold.
Through my paintings, I aim to bring focus and clarity, providing a window to diverse facets of human experience. Eyes serve as a gateway to understanding and insight, encompassing traits of omniscience, presence, intelligence, perception, and keen observation. They symbolize an opening to heightened awareness and an earnest desire to hold onto an ideal vision for the future. Moreover, my art delves into the realm of psychic vision and enlightenment, encouraging viewers to explore the depths of their own spiritual consciousness.