The world of dreams is an intrinsic part of ourselves. If we didn’t dream, we would descend into madness. The re-worked, re-shaped manifestations of our sub-consciousness create a potentially limitless number of worlds and experiences in our minds while we sleep. Most importantly, it is a space full of inspiration. However, with pressing matters always on hand these days, have our dreams – a part of ourselves that is so important – been pushed aside, perhaps even dismissed; replaced by thoughts of trying to beat the morning traffic?
The boundless space we inhabit while we sleep is a world of processes. Thoughts ceaselessly coursing through our brains. With this concept in mind, there seems to be a place of similar characteristics in the waking world. A place of an impossible number of processes happening at an impossible speed.
With the rise of the internet culture, the vastness of human experience has been illuminated, and can be accessed within moments. The sheer enormity and potential of it all means it becomes almost hidden by virtue of its size. Following the ‘Twitter Stream’ gives us all the facts we need, before we knew we needed them. Yet does such an instant environment allow time for evaluation of thoughts, consciousness? In a world where everything is so fast, do we have time to explore our imaginations?
If we stop and think about a piece of art – for maybe half an hour instead of thirty seconds – then our imaginations, allowed to head in whichever tangential way they might like to go, bring their own narratives to the piece. The infinite number of possible interpretations waiting in our subconscious to be drawn forth, I opine, may yet outnumber and out manoeuvre the ethereal entity of the World Wide Web.
What better place to stage a forum and investigation into art and imagination than the internet, then? One of its many values is how useful it is as a platform for discussion and creation.
On the note of ‘creation’, it is a pleasure to introduce you to a glimpse of the wonderful imagination of Kristy Lynn.
Every piece of art, and every human being, has a beginning. Can you describe the place you grew up? And what do you think is the link between where we are born and how we see the world?
· It seems that despite our lack of choice in the matter, where we are born is essential to forming our perspective of the world. As a believer in astrology and both nature and nurture, I can look back on my childhood and see that geography strongly shaped who I am… I was born in the small town of New Albany, Indiana, very close to Louisville, Kentucky. When I was about 8 years old my family moved to Raleigh, North Carolina, a relatively bigger city. Yet I still carry that small town in my heart: I love tiny places outside of cities. I can relax in those types of places, and feel more creative, whereas when living in New York, I absolutely love it – I love the energy – but it’s a harder energy and doesn’t come to me as naturally. I made the paintings “Roots in Water” and “Roots in Pavement” in 2006 referring to my love of water (growing up, my family would visit the ocean often) and to my love of metropolitan areas (roots in pavement referring to the kind of roots one sows in the city). So I think we can feel kinship with different places, but in the end we are often drawn to environments that feel most like home.
As you say on your website, your work visits “the realms of dreamers and explorers” – can you describe your most vivid dream?
· Oh I have so many dreams… the most vivid involve water and animals, often birds. I find symbolism often turning up in the form of fire, ocean waves, even replicas of planets I hold in my hands: all of these at different points in my life. I think it’s essential to take into consideration what the symbols mean personally and not to generalize. Most elements of my dreams show up in my artwork at one point or another. In a way I feel this is my attempt to decipher those symbols…
Do you feel that interacting with and interpreting a piece of art is an exploration in itself?
· Yes, definitely. Each person viewing a piece of art has a unique experience; images and colors may affect one in a myriad of ways. This is what is so wonderful to me, about art and music, and also poetry: the exploration of meaning. I hesitate to explain any of my paintings or drawings in too much detail for fear of ruining the interpretive journey.
You allude to subconscious visions of animals and nature – what, do you feel, is mankind’s place in nature?
· I think mankind is very much meant to be close to nature, however we have removed ourselves so much so, that it’s easy to lose that connection, especially in cities. At the same time that I love animals and forests and the ocean, and derive much inspiration and pleasure from time spent in natural settings, I also feel out of place in a tent in a forest where I might upset bears or foxes on their daily or nightly business. It’s all about balance and energy: we should take less from nature (for example limit the foresting industry, limit oil welled from deep beneath the earth) and be more conservative in our use of all natural resources. We should respect nature and share the planet with other creatures willingly instead of consuming the majority of land and resources for our own ends.
How do we navigate the relationship between the sub-conscious and the conscious?
· I’ve found Freud’s Interpretation of Dreams and Carl Jung’s Memories, Dreams, and Reflections(among many of his other works), and Mona Lisa Schulz’s Awakening Intuition to be very helpful in illuminating the many different ways of tapping into this natural connection between the subconscious and conscious states. Luckily there are many great writers who have studied intensely, how to awaken these capabilities inherent (but often dormant) in each of us. Anyone can learn to hone this connection if they so desire.
What is your earliest memory of a dream?
· I recall a dream of being with my cousin and him driving his mom (my aunt’s) car. Then shortly afterward – and not in a dream but in waking life – he drove her car and crashed it into her garage! We were both about 5 years old at the time I had this dream.
The recurring image of the face in the world of ‘True Blue’ captures the often ‘almost tangible’ matter which dreams are made of (something looming behind a veil of consciousness, not quite seen and yet impossibly vivid at once). Using the creative form of the piece to capture the nature of dreams ties the dream world and that of the waking, actively imaginative world together. What do you feel is the link between dreams and the imagination? Indeed, are they one and the same, intrinsically part of each other?
· For me personally, dreams and imagination are forever linked. Often times my drawings arise from somewhere inside that I have difficulty pinpointing. I don’t really think, “I’m going to sit down and draw a picture of that dream I had last night”. It’s more like, I’ll start drawing and the memories of a dream image will surface as I go along… It’s more of a fluid process.
‘You see things; and you say, “Why?” But I dream things that never were; and I say, “Why not?”’ – George Bernard Shaw. What do you make of the world we live in; the world we wake to? What do you find in it to dream about, and what do you dream about which you’ve never seen in the world?
· What a fantastic quote! He is right… some things just can’t be explained. I believe in past lives and with that, memories of those lives, so I feel that sometimes in our dreams we are tapping into that which we can never logically explain. The waking world and the dream world are not so different. Sometimes my dreams seem more reasonable than any given day I’ve had, and sometimes it’s the other way around. Once again, the two realms are very fluid and connected…
What is your artistic process in creating a new piece? How has it developed since you began your first piece of art?
· I have tried numerous approaches to image making over the years… One of my best turning points in regards to painting was starting to apply paint to a canvas primarily with palette knives as opposed to brushes. Lately I have been turning to brushes more… Having the right tools has always been important to me. If I have the right tools I can begin a piece with confidence and see where it leads me. I don’t often follow a strict path and try to let surprises happen during the process.
The author David Shields suggests in his acclaimed work ‘Reality Hunger’ that “I’m not interested in myself per se; I’m interested in myself as theme carrier, as host.” What role do you feel you play as an artist?
· I agree with this concept completely! Sometimes my images seem to come from some hidden part of me and it’s almost as though I don’t want to take credit… that it’s an idea from a past life manifesting, or a cosmic beam of some sort from the universe. I like the idea of being a medium for ideas.
The slender and delicate nature of your work, influenced by the technique of using thin lines and carefully placed dots, creates a brilliant sense of identity in your work. Is this identity you, or a wholly separate part of yourself? How would you define ‘identity’? Is identity fragile?
· I like the delicate result of drawing with very fine lines because I feel like I have more control, rather than setting down very thick marks and creating a visual point-of-no-return… The careful dots are a way to indicate energy and to tie drawings together in a composition. As for identity, I’m not certain whether it is fragile per se, but it does seem to ebb and flow through life… For example, I’ve identified myself with various groups and causes over the years, artistic and social, some of which I look back and wonder how the “me” I know now would have chosen to be associated with! But maybe that’s a part of forming one’s identity, trying on different personas. I feel this is better than locking into one identity and never opening up to new possibilities.
The use of couples in your work evokes the intensely human feeling of being one with another. The couples seem to have the propensity to merge with one another, creating a shape that parallels the myths of the soulmate or twin souls. These are founded on the idea that we once had two heads facing opposite directions, sharing the same soul. Whilst one head was never aware of the other’s existence, there was a calm sense of assuredness and security which made these beings great…the gods, fearing that these creatures may grow too strong, separated them, and so we know walk the earth missing a part of ourselves; searching for our missing soul mate. Do you feel there is a part of ourselves we have lost? What role is there to be played by relationships?
· That is a very interesting idea. However I can’t say that I personally feel a part of oneself is fundamentally lost per se. Coupling is a beautiful thing, but there are many modern people who have open relationships or are not monogamous, etc. There are even those who say monogamy is outdated. I don’t subscribe to that particular doctrine but I can see the merit in these other viewpoints. The couples in my work illustrate the bond between romantic partners and I adore that theme as a romantic person. Yet I don’t know that we must search for a soul mate. These energies come to us when the time is right…
The pieces of yours in which a singular figure is placed on one page beside two figures together on another capture a sadness and alienation in being alone. With wide eyes and with all the colours which exist outside the two figures internalised within the lonely character, how would you describe ‘loneliness’? Would you agree with Philip Lopate’s concept that “one is only important […] to make others feel a little less lonely and freakish?”
· Oh no, I hope my work does not evoke too much loneliness! We all have points of sadness, despair, and such feelings in our lives, but there is hope to be found in expression and in working through these feelings, whether in conversation or in drawings, or in whatever way is best for a particular person. I do not feel that being alone is a negative thing either… Time spent alone in contemplation can be wonderfully fruitful J
The way in which you use colours consistently brings new meaning and narrative to your pieces; this is especially clear when there is an absence of colour such as there is with the grey, monochrome snake which exists alongside an otherwise vibrantly colourful world (so vibrant, in fact, that the colours are drawn into the snake itself from beneath). As we interact with the work, we look for the colour in the pieces. It seems there is this instinct, to search for colour, in each of us. What role does colour plays in our lives? Is colour an intrinsic part of dreams?
· I feel colour to be essential in my life. I even dress how I feel colour – wise: a bright scarf to boost my mood if I’m down, or neutral black if I’m feeling quiet. I used to fancy myself a colorist in my painting, and I still reach for that. I tend towards very soft palettes or very vibrant ones, in my work. You referred to my recent painting Serpentine, with the snake, and I had not thought of that contrast yet, which is an interesting observation, I like that! There is a certain feeling conveyed in neutral or vibrant hues or the dichotomy between the two within a certain piece. Concepts such as “feeling blue” or of painting a room’s walls yellow to make it feel more cheery… And yes, dreaming in colour is the most fun!
Your use of faces brings such an intrinsic personality to your work. We can see ourselves and all humanity within a face; for the face, being the conveyor of our internal feelings to the external world, immediately reminds us our individual selves and our relation to others. What role do you feel the individual plays in humanity? What, in your opinion, is the greatest potential which exists in each person?
· Thank you… I think we can all as human beings, relate to faces visually: as you say it is the conveyor of feelings. The individual is strong, but so is the collective. It depends what perspective we are taking: emotional? Social? Emotionally the individual is paramount; in society each person forms the collective and without each member we would never add up to a strong group. Each person should realize they are as essential as the next and can make a difference on their own as well as together.
“The title of your piece ‘One Day‘ conjures a sense of destiny. With the connection of colours, night and day, future and past, and the clear focus on the central figure, there is a strong narrative flowing in the work. Where is the narrative heading, do you think? (Both your art and in our collective future?)
· We all harbor secret fantasies of our possible futures and this piece references one of mine quite directly. I won’t reveal too much but it’s illustrating the idea of destiny and of belief in divine timing and things coming together as they should in due time. Of course we have to put our own energy into making things happen in our lives, but there is a sense I have of something cosmic at play too… This piece ponders those ideas.
You’ve previously donated your work to ‘Postcards for humanity’ with the money raised going toward The Boston initiative to advance human rights. What role can art play in shaping the world?
· Thank you for mentioning that. I try to participate in at least one if not more, charity benefit a year. This one was especially enjoyable, as it involved making a small piece specifically for the cause. I believe visual imagery is very powerful, as everyone can relate to it and as is continually proven in advertisements, television, and film, for example. Painting can carry that same power, and every contribution helps in my opinion. I try to take opportunities such as the one for The Boston Initiative to Advance Human Rights, or the benefit show in New York last year for the Rema Hort Mann Foundation, as a chance to donate what I have to offer to these wonderful organizations… I am an activist at heart and believe in each person’s role being vital to the continual shaping of our society.
You place your work both in paintings and in books. By encasing and exhibiting your work within a book, what other dimensions can you reach with a book than you can with a portrait? What is your favourite book?
· I like the intimacy of an art book. It’s a more private viewing experience than a painting on a wall. My very favourite illustrated books are those from my childhood, particularly a certain volume of nursery rhymes given to me by my maternal grandparents. I can still get lost in those pages. The best art books seem to lead you into their visual world willingly, just as a great novel leads you into a story.
Which artists inspire you?
· Max Ernst is a big inspiration… His imagination seemed boundless. I love the way he moved fluidly between drawing, painting, and collage. Eva Hesse’s innate sense of abstract form is amazing. I like current illustrators and self taught artists as well. I love Juxtapoz and Hi-Fructose magazines… Even though I am a bit removed from illustration in my background, I find the work ethic and attention to detail in these contemporary artists’ work admirable.
How does it feel to display your work for others? Do you display a part of yourself?
· I love to share with people: for me it’s the whole point of making artwork. It’s the reward for putting in the time to create, to see another person’s reaction. Often it feels like you are exposing your heart, but fortunately art school is a great place to put those fears to rest, with the constant critiques and assessments. I learned not to take any less-than-stellar reactions personally, as art is subjective, and susceptible to taste, just like music or film or fashion. I am always happy when someone really connects to one of my images… And if it takes 20 or 50 people looking at a piece to reach that one individual who does enjoy it, then that’s fine with me 😉
Could you ever exhibit your work in a realm of dreams? What would be your ideal venue for your work?
· That’s a fantastic idea! Perhaps create a room with my work on the walls and invite visitors to take a nap after viewing… Then see if their daydreams reflect what they just saw…
Having appeared in ‘Annual Emerging Artists Issue’, Southwest Art Magazine in 2008, from your perspective, how does the art world appear from the point of view of an emerging artist? What are your future aspirations?
· The term “emerging artist” is hard to define. It goes beyond age or experience really, and seems to refer to any artist who hasn’t reached their full potential yet. When I was chosen to be part of that issue of Southwest Art I was living in Tucson, Arizona, I was honored because the writers/editors saw that potential in me. I feel it’s important to give artists chances to share their explorations as they broaden their visual vocabulary. My sense of being an emerging artist at that time was that I was still finding my voice and was working through many styles and techniques of painting… and I will always experiment with new techniques, but now my vocabulary for image making has grown such that I have more choices when approaching a new piece. My future aspirations include having a book published of my drawings, and to show in more group exhibits. The exhibits I enjoy most tend to be 2 or 3 person shows.
To see more of Kristy Lynn, please follow the link to her website, here www.kristylynn.net
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