Archives for posts with tag: Meditation

When I first started this blog, I specifically wanted to write about my journey through the art market, offering insight into the state of affairs and how to navigate through what is truly a complicated and oftentimes bewildering industry, where the cream doesn’t necessarily rise to the top. Though, I’ll readily admit that my endeavor to expound on such a topic was not only ambitious, but also overly optimistic, considering how little experience I had in navigating any market on my own, then. And even now, almost six years later, I am still only beginning to make sense of how I fit into that puzzle and how I want to maneuver through it.

So, perhaps more important than my perspective (having officially changed the title of this blog from “Through My Eyes” to “Rapt”), is the fact that I simply Love what I do. It’s the only reason why I’m still in the game and still riding this crazy roller-coaster of a life; because there is nothing easy or glamorous about the hard fight, especially when so many victories are won at too great a cost to have been worthwhile (for any normal person).

That’s not to say that my efforts are wasted, but that the ultimate reward is an elusive one that only a few will ever truly secure. Many are called, it seems. But only a few are chosen. So, in this business, if your heart and mind aren’t perfectly aligned and ready to brush off disappointment (for the sake of pursuing your passion), don’t quit your day job. Steve Jobs once said, “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life… and the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.”

Mine was always a Labor of Love, since childhood. And I’ve never compromised my vision for the sake of accolades or the easy paycheck. That might make my job a little more difficult at times. But it also makes each new triumph, along the way, much more fulfilling.

I remember my dad telling me, even before I decided to embark on my creative journey, “Always do your work as if you’re going to sign it.” And, although that might sound like the voice of perfectionism to some, it resonated with me, despite only now fully comprehending the significance of that statement, as someone living the life of an artist. Doing my work as if I’m going to sign it has not only held me accountable for my own shortcomings, without deflecting blame elsewhere, but it also creates the opportunity for all my actions to fully express who I am (beyond mere words). I don’t want to tell someone that I am this or that, or some variation. I want them to know it by the way I conduct myself, every day.

So, I still ultimately hope to chart a useful path for other artists to adopt and modify as a loose guide. But, until that accomplishment is capable of speaking for itself, there is no reason for me to assume the role of the teacher. I will continue to report on any advancements in my position (up the ladder, of course). But I’ve decided to slightly shift the direction of this blog, to simply share the enjoyment of the journey with you, and to find better ways of helping you stay inspired on yours as well. So, as of today, this blog is no longer a window into the market, “Through My Eyes”, but an expression of what I am: “Rapt”, and Ready to continue my work.

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Just a quick poem for you, as I re-establish my practice of daily meditation; returning to the source, which is the root and sustenance, which is the breath of mindful living.

“One Breath at a Time”

It is neither the first nor second

Nor will it be the last

But one among many in a sequence that creates Life

With or without the dream

Which only obscures the passage

And obfuscates the true purpose of the journey

Which was always the destination

Moving from one moment to the next

First experienced

Then expressed

One breath at a time

A continuation of the previous entry: “Flashback to Now”

After a brief moment of panic, purely induced by the expectations set upon myself, meditation and sustained mindful breathing has finally restored me to my natural rhythm, which seems aware of itself (once again) as it converges with the subtle energy around me. And, all at once, I am reminded that I am still present and fully immersed in the flow.

Even now, as the steady palpitation that powers this body mingles with the cadence of these typed and whispered words, I am grateful for the knowledge that I am human, after all, and still a work in progress, despite oftentimes driving myself like a machine that was designed for the assembly line. I am multitudinous, and complicated. But I am also just a person, who hungers and bleeds like any other. And I have to remind myself to take a step back from time to time, for perspective. Because, even life itself is variable, as the world around us progresses from day to day.

So, as I continue laying the pieces of my current puzzle across active consciousness, evaluating what is worth salvaging and in what sequence, each fragment of empty or occupied space appears unrelated and incomprehensible at first. But, like stray notes of a chord, when assembled in the proper order creates music, life too is but a living mosaic, to which I have now returned to work.

The Automatic Process is just one of many methods of creating a painting (or any work of art). But it’s the method I most commonly prefer, primarily because it allows the artist to tap into his/her subconsciousness, oftentimes with surprising results, as artwork that isn’t planned so much as it just happens.

Insatiable

“Insatiable” © 2013, Michael Torres ~ All Rights Reserved

Although I also work from fully visualized concepts that are sketched out and systematically executed, my opinion is that The Automatic Process (with practice) can be more genuinely expressive and revealing; not entirely explicit of the artist’s presumed comprehension of the subject, which can be unavoidably subjective, but of the artist’s unacknowledged (or unrealized) aversions, preferences, and innate tendencies toward that subject, which perhaps arrive at a closer proximity to objectivity (without the filters of subjective reasoning). It is a technique that liberates what is normally suppressed by our conditioning (through nature and/or nurture) and animates what I deliberately refer to as Sub-consciousness, rather than The Unconscious, because to actively utilize the unconscious mind’s wealth is to awaken its potential.

For some, it might seem ridiculous to think that such a source can be harvested. However, just like learning a new language, a new skill, or improving one’s memory, tapping into one’s subconsciousness is an acquired ability that can be harnessed through practice, a function that isn’t quite as abstract as one might think. In fact, The Automatic Process is more accurately about allowing one’s self to be vulnerable, admitting (to ourselves, at very least) that we don’t always know why we feel certain ways. It’s about letting go of our imaginary controls, to make room for revelation. And it’s about purposefully encountering our innermost (which is indelible and vast); a frightening proposition, I know, but a journey well worth endeavoring.

Catalog: 1992 - Mar, 2011

“Undertow” © 2013, Michael Torres ~ All Rights Reserved

From Freud to Breton, to Your’s Truly:

To shed more light on the subject, I was first introduced to the idea of Psychic Automatism when exploring the roots of the surrealist movement and was immediately intrigued by the suggestion that the limits of active consciousness could be expanded and employed. It was a claim originally proposed by Sigmund Freud, whose psychoanalytic discoveries gave substance to André Breton’s First Surrealist Manifesto, officially establishing Surrealism as an intellectual practice. (read The First Surrealist Manifesto, by André Breton, here: Surrealist Manifesto)

However, because there is no fixed single method of approach, the process of Automatism can vary drastically, influenced by any number of factors (such as personality, emotional state, space and time). And yet, for the most part, I’ve remained faithful to the surrealist’s original manner, adopting what is called Automatic Painting. Though, what is generally considered random and accidental mark making, I now refer to as intuitive composition, simply because of the progression I have witnessed in my own work, which evolved from pure abstract expressionism to diverse representations of abstraction, expressionism, and surrealism.

Here are a few examples of work created with The Automatic Process that exhibit a natural evolution, as I become more and more comfortable with this form of expression. Though the process itself remains necessarily flexible.

Puncture Wound

“Puncture Wound” © 2012, Michael Torres ~ All Rights Reserved

A Violent Departure

“A Violent Departure” © 2013, Michael Torres ~ All Rights Reserved

Achieving Symmetry

“Achieving Symmetry” © 2014, Michael Torres ~ All Rights Reserved

Meditation-Eq

“Out of Bounds” © 2017, Michael Torres ~ All Rights Reserved

My Process:

As previously mentioned, my work isn’t always created in an automatic style. I still honor the tradition of painting when approaching classical subjects, such as landscapes and the body. But when I’m feeling inspired and uninhibited, I usually begin with a single color (if driven by raw emotion) or a simple sketch (when working from a concept that is intended to evolve) and allow instinct and intuition to guide each step along the way.

The key, once the work commences, is to remain immersed in the process, which requires me to “receive” rather than to dictate, seeking internal guidance without surrendering to the temptation to “edit”. And only when the subject has developed enough to contain substance and to speak for itself do I attempt aiding in the work’s aesthetic movement, by refining composition. The process’s real promise, after all, lies in discovery; not for vainglorious purposes, but for the emotional connections established by the image’s own individual presence and for its meaning, which is created and shared through discourse (between the work, the artist, the audience, and that mysterious source within each of us that never sleeps).

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ContinuumSometimes… I get lost in the tangle. I get lost in the confusion of space and time, which carries me through the quietude, an encompassing silence that shares its mass and weight with me until I am no longer discernible from the vastness I’m attempting to fill; not to substantiate it, but to mitigate my own burden, which is comprised entirely of gravity, evidence of the stillness that flourishes at the center of everything.

From the surface, the pattern may appear only to perpetuate the repetitions. But the extremes of that structure have become so abundant and so intricately woven that the accumulation now seems like ornament, from a distance, like a dense cluster of meticulously carved impressions that were purposefully arranged within the enormity, which has no rhyme or reason on its own or within the immediate. Though, we may find ourselves at any time within that same instance.

In silence and solitude, where our conversation with the universe takes place, I lose myself, hoping to return with more than what I carried into that vastness, more than the substance I encompass and its portrayal, which is projected into the aether until a mutual exchange blends consciousness with the mysteries of existence in a single breath, inhaled and exhaled, and carried in a vibration, where I am both a part of and severed from the tangle of life and it’s myriad impression… always a memory (with each passing second), a memory that is integrated within the Self who is also consumed and discarded before the next draw of breath. And in that flow, both giving and receiving, everything that is conceivable, and its antithesis, are unified, though each expression becomes a different interpretation of the same encounter, a different point of view that is not in opposition, but in perfect harmony within the same focused confusion that created the world and all of its compliments and contradictions.

Transmutation

From the outside looking in, as a traveler revisiting forgotten relics, I have finally seen the patterns and have heard a voice emerge from the repetitions, saying “At long last… you’ve arrived.”

Those words…

More of an imprint than a sound, buried themselves without preamble. Though its intonation unearthed its roots and anchored itself firmly into my walls, sprouting  like a seed that springs without need or nurture, all at once becoming divined and purely nature, the implications climbing and spreading like branches from a spark who rejoices at the promise of fire.

I found a reflection of myself in that moment, underneath the accumulation and in-between the here and there, as if stretched like an echo that knows it will be remembered, long before it is even dead.

through-the-wreckage

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