by Willi Paul, Executive Producer of PlanetShifter.com
What are the tools of your craft?
For painting I generally use oils and acrylics on canvas, and digital paint on my computer. The digital painting comes from using a Wacom tablet with an interactive painting program like Corel Painter, or Photoshop. For some of my other digital work, like graphic design and motion graphics, I combine the use of Photoshop, Illustrator, and After Effects on my computer. After Effects is an amazing tool for creating easy motion and animation.
Explain what you mean by "creative jamming."
It's like a brainstorming session but more with pictures than words. It could also be a collaborative session on a single painting while multiple people paint on the same canvas at the same time or in succession. I suppose there is a cornucopia of possible explanations of that phrase "creative jamming", so I'll leave the rest for you to ponder upon.
Are you spiritual? Religious? Political? How do these agendas play together and support a green life?
I would say that I am spiritual. I do follow some politics but that game makes me sick and confused so I usually avoid too much concentration on it. My spirituality comes through in my artwork as an expression of how I feel a connection to a universal source of energy that flows through all life. I generally feel it as a vibrational frequency of light that comes in visual and sonic channels through my being, and into whatever I'm creating. I feel this supports a green life because the more I become aware of that energy the more apparent I can see how my actions and non-action, affect everything else. Sometimes this awareness feels heavy, but it's usually a simple shift in perspective to make it feel light, as a knowing of the unfolding.
Tell us your three favorites bands and three favorite modern artists? How do music and art combine to make a transcendent experience?
Off hand, I guess three of my favorite bands are: Tool, Sigir Ros and Isis. Three visual artists would be: Robert Venosa, Alex Grey, and Andrew Jones. I find that music and art combine in many ways to make a transcendent experience, be it listening to music while creating, or literally combining the two at live events or as a music video. I often paint as though I'm painting music notes but in a way other than traditional music notation. It's more as a flow of energy that comes out as abstract or symbolic energy in color and form.
Caduceus conjures up a mythical land in me, but also deep science, DNA. Tell us what propelled this work to light?
You hit a good point on a reference to a mythical land and DNA.
This painting comes from nurturing the availability of naturally abundant energy in our world and its surrounding universe. I have been on a continual path of healing in spirit while also re-connecting to nature, and this painting represents a little of all. Even more specific, is that at the time the initial under-painting was being created, my girlfriend and her dad were both ill. While painting I was meditating on channeling this naturally abundant healing energy and fusing it into the art as a message to send out to them and the world; (green being the choice color of this vibration, and hence the title "Caduceus" in reference to the medicinal symbol). In reference to DNA you can see the spiraling energy, (shape of DNA), and the frequency of the piece also comes from a knowing that inside our DNA lies dormant an energy just waiting to be tapped, and will transform us into new beings that can live on light energy in the same way that solar panels do... or something like that.
It is also reminiscent of a mythical land, or rather a real land that exists somewhere betwixt ours and another. Some people have told me that the textures and energy remind them very specifically of ayahuasca visions they've had. I haven't done ayahuasca but, I see understand what they are saying, because of other plant visions I've had.
Fire Orb is fantastic! Thank you for uploading it:
(http://www.planetshifter.com/node/856). What is this based on?
Thanks! That one is from a "creative jam session" I had with a friend who is in the concept stages of creating a role playing game called OrbWorld. He invited some artistic friends over to see what we could come up with on the spot while he read out some of his concepts. The fire orb is just that. A fire orb. Well to be more precise a fire Orbling, representing one aspect of the archetype that is the element of fire in Orb World.
As you can see it has some definite flavor of my other work, in that it resonates a frequency of light and sound that comes for the same universal source as my other art.
You spoke about "intention" in our phone conversation. You seem to say that PlanetShifter.com has the right intention that you seek in a community. Talk about this internal guide. How did this develop? Has it mis-lead you in the past?
Well I see that Planet Shifter is aimed at bringing awareness to people through arts and media about environmental sustainability among other related issues, and that's what I'm into also. This type of intention developed in me starting at a young age because my parents were always into such issues. In fact my mom was part of the initiators one of the first main grass roots environmental organizations in the Kooteneys, at the time called EKES, now Wildsight. My parents have been guides towards living a healthy lifestyle of mind and body in connection to nature. We took part in many activities outdoors, with groups, friends and just our family. So this helped foster that aspect of me which has continued today, through my own discoveries as well. At this point I feel need to continue bringing about a deeper awareness of social customs that are damaging to our environment and our spirit. Thus triggering a response to become more consciously activated people living in a peaceful world. My internal guide speaks to me when I see or feel that something is a craving to me, and I must question that craving. Where does it come from? Is it culturally programmed or is it a real necessity? Often it is not a necessity, thus taking part in it only adds to the pool of craving and consumption which leads to more planetary suffering.
I don't think my intuition on this has ever mis-lead me in the past. I would say that my ego mind certainly has, but it is all part of the flow of realized awareness so I accept it as is. I want to point out here that many of the concepts I share, may make me sound like I should be perfect and adhere to them at all times, but I don't. I'm learning in the same world as everyone else, and integrating my own journey as part of the collective, sharing my experience with whomever wants sharing. Planet Shifter is one of those nodes of sharing to help each other in this journey, so here we are...
What other web groups do you visit regularly? What does each offer you?
I usually take part in forums on the Pod Collective
(http://podcollective.com). It is a great art community with many like-minded, and kindred spirits and offer critiques on art, and guidance on many issues relative to our earthly existence. From spirit, to art, events, humor, sustainability, environmental issues, and more. It offers me a chance to connect with kin in activated dialogues that cannot take place otherwise due to our distant locations. Other groups might include ones on networks like Tribe.net, and Facebook. Each has their own specifies, and most often it is to inform on current events, be it world news or gatherings of creative inspiration.
Are you consciously creating new symbols - fresh icons - never mapped or seeded before? Please share some examples in your art of how you created and utilized symbols.
I don't know if I'm creating 'new' symbols, or fresh icons, never mapped before. I do feel that I'm part of an evolving consciousness that is unfolding and showing itself through certain archetypes in visual and sonic media. Though to say they have never been mapped before could be an overstatement. I think the media and tools we are using now, are offering a new type of reflection of an energy that has always been present and manifest throughout human history.
The symbols we are playing with now seem to play a role in connecting those people whose paths fit in a certain way for the benefit of our own unfolding, while sharing this story with those who partake in the interaction of viewing. I suppose one piece I could reference with obvious symbols, would be one I did back in the fall of 2004, during the first year of my new found appreciation for painting, and connections to my visionary kin. This is the painting Synergenesis
(http://simonhaiduk.com/shop/2004/synergenesis.html). It was created then from the inspiration of an event taking place in San Francisco called "Synergenesis", which was aimed at connecting visionary artists and interested viewers, in the exploration of uncovering a world not yet fully manifest, though showing itself through this type of art and media. I couldn't make it to the event, so I stayed home and tapped into that energy and created this piece which has reference to many different symbols, including ones from my dreams, and even representing styles of other artists merging as one. Instead of explaining more, I'll let each viewer muse on what they find symbolic to them. Another piece which comes to mind, is My Awakening
(http://simonhaiduk.com/shop/2004/my-awakening.html). This was the second painting I ever made of this type, in the winter of 2004. I was recently reminded of it, because of a near death experience story I just read, in which the person describes their experience in close detail related to a cosmic transfiguration I experienced, that lead to the expression of this painting.
Specifically the high frequency energy, the tunnel with a bright light at the end, a universal grid matrix that connects all life, and eyes as portals into other worlds or dimensions. There was even further detail that was similar, but too much to go into here. The point being that, including people who have done ayahuasca, this piece reflects a real place where others have been, that came out as symbols they can identify with. You can also see some swirling swastikas representative of that endless flowing energy that is identified as a timeless symbol used throughout human history in a positive connotation. (minus the Nazis). I suppose you could extrapolate symbols and mythology from much of my art, so feel free to play this game as you gaze through each active portal of imagination.
Are you helping to build the mythology of sustainability? Why or why not?
I feel that in my many ways I am helping build this mythology or whatever you want to call it. In the past year I focused much on creating tree and forest imagery that was a bridge between the high frequency ethereal energies of past paintings, mixed with a strong connection to Earth or Gaian groundedness. This is part of my own process in reconnecting to the earth, while sharing it so others can see as well. I use 100% recycled PCP paper for my small prints, and try to take other steps in creating art, and a lifestyle that are more harmonious with the earth and her shared inhabitants. This includes eating as much local and organic produce as I can, and in general stepping out of the mass consumption paradigm of useless junk, into a new holistic one that is more sustainable for all life. I do this because it resonates with an evolving consciousness that I feel to be a part of.
Please explain how you use "sustainable ways of producing work that maintain balance and harmony between the Earth and her shared inhabitants."
Using digital media and painting has allowed me to experiment more without going through multiple containers of toxic chemicals involved with physical paint. As mentioned above, I try and make some of my products for sale in a more sustainable way. Other than that, specifically on a production level, I feel like I'm lacking and that I'm aiming at discovering new ways to express art, that are less toxic. I've recently been inspired, and have been conjuring ideas for visionary landscaping and gardening. Creating functional art that is "sustainable" is where I see myself headed. In the past two years my partner and I have been growing more of our own food, while also gathering locally abundant herbs and produce that grow in the wild.
All aspects of life can become a creation as part of this unfolding in awareness and sustainability. When I look at "the big picture" nothing is truly sustainable and all is in constant flux, though I feel we can have more compassion for the environment we share with other life forms and ourselves. This includes our thoughts and emotions and how we project, or not project a certain reality to the world around us. We've grown up in a cage of consumption and addiction on so many levels, and I feel more of us are waking up to see through that while stepping into a more peaceful place of existence.
Peace to all, Simon
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