Visionary art is an artistic style which pays homage to the mystical experience and the transcendent spiritual wisdom of humanity. The art emerges out of the artist’s inner journey into the realms of collective vision and their personal insights and experiences. The vision is then used as inspiration for the work of art and for self-realization. Once completed the art is an expression of the inner journey, a catalyst to trigger transformative experiences in the viewer and a form of prayer and surrendering to a mystical state of consciousness. Robert Venosa put it simply referring to his art as, “the transcendental mirror”; the transcendent images reflect the transcendent aspects of the viewer and leave the residue of this visionary reality in the mind of the beholder.
The visionary artists are making a powerful statement about the value of the inner reality and the power of mystical experiences to transform and uplift the world. The visionary community sees the primary mystical experience as being the core of all spiritual traditions and makes new archetypes for the transcendent experience through art. The new archetypes reflect the contemporary expedition into this other inner dimension of being through contemporary means. Visionary artists, like the ones featured in this blog, are making a statement about the positive and challenging aspects of visionary experiences and validating the reality of this internal experience.
This visionary artwork is truly a product of an emerging spiritual movement based on direct experience; many of the symbols used to describe the indescribable mystical reality are often inspired by spiritual traditions of the whole Earth. The ability to experience global spiritual culture is a radical shift from 40 years ago, this phenomenon is shaping the way spiritualism is approached and is changing the dialogue about the fundamental nature of reality.
The core of spiritualism in visionary art is in the direct experience of the infinite reality, where all is one, space-time and self are transcended. This is in agreement with the teachings of Tantra, Buddhism, indigenous leaders, and parallels theories emerging from quantum physicists. Today many have created their own religions or spiritual path by drawing inspiration from ancient traditions. This spiritualism based on the inner journey is expressed in visionary art. The experience of creating the artwork is similar to prayer as it connects the artist to the inner consciousness and can evoke powerful non-ordinary states of consciousness in the viewer and or creator of the art.
The creative vision of this community goes far beyond the flat surface of the canvas. Interactive festivals like Burning Man, Boom Festival, Envision and other intentional gatherings are an outcropping of this new dynamic and creative arts community. These artists are looking to create installation art, video art, architecture, music, light shows, dance, festivals and other forms of expression. Short intentional gatherings create a visionary space and become a place in which personal transformation, spiritual journey, enthogenic inspired dance and performance can combine with a supportive community. Once the gathering is over they leave no physical trace all that remains are the images, memories and the art.
To achieve these inspirational experiences of personal transformation and mystical revelry a combination of means are utilized by visionary artists including art, dance, music, prayer, meditation, yoga, psychedelics and other ‘technologies of the scared’. These experiences are often evoked through an entheogenic state of mind; many people refer to entheogens as being psychedelic substances but truly, entheogen is a term meaning god with-in or evoking the mystical reality. The Council on Spiritual Practices defines entheogen as, “a psychoactive sacramental; a plant or chemical substance taken to occasion primary religious experience. Example: Peyote Cactus as used in the Native American Church.” The difference between ingesting a psychedelic substance and taking an entheogen is in the intention; if one is using an entheogen they are seeking unity and spiritual communion with the divine but if one is using a psychedelic they are simply consuming a substance without the intention of inner exploration. Ironically, the casual psychedelic user will still often enter entheogenic states of consciousness especially when exposed to visionary or healing arts.
Many people when viewing visionary art recognize the landscapes the artists are rendering for their own experiences, this suggesting that realms of this other dimension can be similar for people around the world and this similarity of world creative vision is called archetype and has been the subject of intense academic study. Visionary art validates a parallel dimension of being known in western psychology as the transpersonal, this is literally another world different from our material reality which is found by traveling inward. Visionary art suggest that this otherworld really exists because the artist can go there and render its archetypal image and others recognize and relate to the art. The art validates this reality and the artist produces data for the scientists and others exploring this other dimension of human consciousness.
Visionary arts is inseparable from the healing arts, prayer, meditation, yoga and shamanism; they all encourage the movement toward wholeness. All the world’s religions have utilized sacred arts to uplift and inspire the best parts of ourselves. The Earth is rapidly transforming into a place which may not be habitable by humans because of our ignorance about the interconnection of all life. The religious and mystical experience reveals in heart shattering glory, the oneness of existence. The great yogis and shaman of the world all affirm that we are all united on this earth and in the web of life. The recognition of this primal truth has powerful healing and transformative potential. Visionary art plays a powerful role exposing the public to a contemporary expression of this mystic interrelatedness through arts which mirror the transcendent.
By: Transpersonal Spirit
Grof, Stanislav. The Cosmic Game Explorations of the Frontiers of Human Consciousness. State University of New York Press. 1998.
http://lila.info/on-visionary-art-and-on-drawing/ Rob Percival 2010
http://csp.org/practices/entheogens/entheogens.html (council on spiritual practices website)
http://www.ayahuascavisions.com (Pablo Amaringo’s website)