Secret Origins: “Variations on the Same Thing”

Variations on the Same Thing

A series in which Sean and Amanda speak on the ideas behind their work, as a glimpse behind the artistic veil.

Today: Sean’s painting, “Variations on the Same Thing.” Acrylic. 12×12. Currently on display and for sale at High on Art and Coffee, Lexington, Kentucky.

The impetus of this painting was really quite simple: how can my spiritual/political beliefs influence my art—particularly my visual art—without seeming preachy. That interest sparked with the ideas of Alex Grey, particularly his Cathedral of Sacred Mirrors (and yes, his artwork for TOOL).

Multicolored electrified tendrils enter the “source” in multiple points. They throb with energy, bringing it into the skull. The eyes, windows into the process, are dark, blank. From his mouth pour all of the symbols of faith, belief, spirituality (all the ones I could fit in, anyway). They’re all coming from the same place; outer energy filters through the human meat and spills forth as “truths.”

There are symbols here that I actively jive with—I wear an eight-point star, I’m a fan of the ohm, the elements, the pop culture symbols, etc. There are belief systems represented that I’m pretty much done with, mostly because of what dumbass human beings have done with them. Hell, there are sigils I wholly created for my own purposes (near the mouth, on the forehead).

Superman’s family crest sits near pentacles, Native American imagery, the eye of Horus, the Owl Cave symbol from Twin Peaks. It’s all meaningful, depending on how meaningful you make it. We’re talking about the symbolization of big bold ideas, truth and justice and perseverance, mystery and humility and the existence of other worlds (other viewpoints, other cultures). A diamond S may as well be a cross, or a crescent moon, or a six-point star (or eight!), depending on how you want to treat it. So what the hell are we doing as a people, fighting over this shit, when the only eternal truth is that we each create our eternal truths?

I wanted to use pretty colors, too, and a weird (for me) perspective. But mostly, the profound spiritual stuff.


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