A Simple Form of Art
Some time ago I realized how complex my psyche was. Ideas, believes, traumas, ideologies, dramas, conflicts, jealousy, you name it. At the same time, I understood that all the incredible and terrible complexity of this human world is the one that ultimately originates wars, destruction and all the suffering we see around. As Krishnamurty once said: “what we see around us, the systems we create, the governments, they are all chaos, a complete disorder, but in the end all that is the projection of the chaos and the disorder in the human soul. We can not create order if first we don’t fid order within”. When I heard such a thing for the first time, it made so much sense to me, it was so obvious.
As I realized about the complexity of my physique, I understood that the creations I was projecting, my novels, my poems, they were all chaotic, the characters on them were living the exact same life I was living back then: they were getting drunk, trying to conquer as many women as possible, eating shit, and they were extremely unstable emotionally, just a reflection of myself.
Two things can happen when one has this kind of realization or insight: or you listen to it, adopt the change and evolve, or you block the information and keep living as if nothing has changed within. We are not taught in flexibility, we are actually encouraged to attach to one identity and the ideas and actions that reinforce them. “I am a bohemian artist”, according to that definition of myself and the ideas related to it, I needed to keep drinking and going out late and being in constant conflict and so on. And I did so for a few years, but happily, my studies in emotional intelligence made me understand that blocking the information coming from the inner wisdom, was triggering what in psychology is called “cognitive dissonance”. And cognitive dissonance is expressed in deep, terrible pain, and is one of the sources of the tremendous psychological pain most of us live in.
In the field of psychology, cognitive dissonance occurs when a person holds contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values, and is typically experienced as psychological stress when they participate in an action that goes against one or more of them.Source: Wikipedia
When I moved to Korpo and started to live much closer to nature, I started to realize that the tremendous complexity that we see on Nature is only superficial, because in the end, in the essence of things, everything just is and not “pretend to be”. The other elements on Nature do not live through ideas, do not live through believes, they just are what they are and following their essence they are in balance.
My long walks on the forest began to open my eyes and my soul to another way of inhabiting this world, I realized that Nature does not belong to us but the other way around, we belong to Nature. And that when we run away from Nature, when we fight Nature (our most essential self) we are fighting ourselves. I realized that most of the human pain comes from three sources: disconnection to ourselves, disconnection to Nature, disconnection to others around us.
In this process I consciously began to simplify myself as a person, I started to let go of many things: strong opinions, criticism, ideologies, the need for conflict and so on. And my artistic expressions, mostly photography by then, followed the same path: just my camera, one lens and myself. I see my pictures as a simple expression of something deep, something that does not come from me, something that comes through me: insights, intuitions… inspiration. And that my work as an artist is simply to keep that door open by cultivating my sensibility and offering time and space, both outwardly and inwardly, to all those things to express themselves, to offer time and space to my creativity.
A Sustainable Form of Art
For many years my photography gear was a collection of very simple elements. One Nikon D7000, a couple of lenses and that was all. I was not missing anything. But then it came a time when I understood that in order to make money with my photographic skills I needed to start booking weddings, celebrations, and offer my services as a product photographer and commercial photographer… and this brought me a struggle, the one that comes with the equipment needed for all that: another camera body, more lenses, flashes, light stands, diffusers, so many things. But the understanding of all these new needs came with a personal decision: as much as I could I would buy those things in the second-hand market, and I would try to constantly keep an eye on the need to always strive for the best and the last gear.
Until now I have achieved those goals. Most of my camera gear is second (or third) hand, I have saved a lot of money in the process that I have been able to allocate in other endeavours (like helping Reham), and my newest camera dates from 2015. In this process, I understood that most of the people do not need the last and the best to thrive professionally. It makes me so happy to be satisfied with the equipment I have and that I am able to deliver a professional service using the “leftovers” from society. I love the place where my professional career is right now, the results are excellent (for my taste), my clients are happy, I am learning A LOT and photography has become a considerable part of our annual income.
When I am preparing my exhibitions I have to take a lot of decisions. I decided that Essence, my last exhibition, was going to be printed in The Print Space, a super professional printing company dedicated to art printing. Together with William from Hotel Nestor decided to use Hahnemühle German Etching, an exquisite texturized matt paper that in Williams words “was bringing life to the images”. After choosing the paper I needed to think about how to mount the works, we did not want them framed, so they should be glued to some material. There were many choices: foamboard, Dibond, PVC, aluminium… finally I decided to go with maybe the most “difficult” of them, a 12mm MDF board.
I say “difficult” because I wanted to exhibit the works in a big format, and the MDF was giving a lot of weight to the artworks. Also, the edges of the panel needed to be painted in black, and dust would accumulate in the texture of the board. After a long meditation, I decided to choose this one because is the only one based on a removable material, I also took the decision to donate part of the price of the sellings of the artworks to “A tree for you”, an NGO dedicated to planting trees around the world.
If I write about all this is to express that if we put a bit of effort to think about alternatives, we can always find options that aren’t as resource consuming as others. Placing sustainability as one of the factors in our decision taking process can lead us to live more aligned with our internal Nature, to simplify and ultimately to feel better about the art we create and the decisions we take.
A Local Form of Art
This topic is very related to the last one. Very early in my photographic journey, I understood that if in order to capture the images that eventually will become my artworks I needed to take the car and travel here and there, close by and far away, I would not be aligning my photography with my need to simplify and becoming more sustainable. It took no time for me to understand that this self-imposed “limitation” was not a limitation at all, but the opposite. I would not dream about photographing some waterfalls somewhere far away, I would not dream about photographing some landscapes in a remote place, I would dream about deepening and deepen my sensibility in the infinite forms of the beauty of the daily reality in proximity to nature, I would dream about walks in the nearby forest with my camera, in the shoreline, and I when the spring came, I started to dream about the universe of flowers and plants that grows in any given garden in the warmest seasons of the year.
I understood that this island is infinite, that the beauty of Nature is infinite, and that my mission was to live my own reality in my own context and deepen my sensibility to transmit some of those infinite forms of Nature. A big percentage of my images are taken by foot/bike distance, and those that are not, are generally captured in trips that we have done to other places for any other reason. For example, the image bellow named “Put yourself under your own light, and discover your personal way to illuminate the world” (yes, quite a shot tittle 😂), was taken in Nagu a winter day that I was driving to the mechanical garage to make a car review. I was supposed to leave it in the garage and a family member was picking me about half an hour later. This was shortly after Thor was born and those days I found no time to dedicate to photography at all, I loved the idea to have a half an hour window to stop somewhere and capture a few images. This is one of those, one of my favourite works: soft, peaceful and beautiful.
A Solidary Form of Art
I studied a degree in social work, somebody could say that I have never worked as such because I have not been officially hired to perform as a social worker, but every day of my life lies in my heart the intention of “doing” social work. I love to help others and I observe so much form of suffering around: stress, anxiety, trauma, burnout, depression, hate, addiction, disconnection, conflict, war…you name it. I try to be always there for those that my words and my company help them to heal. I also studied a master degree in emotional intelligence, this and my own meditations gave me a different understanding of the emotional processes within our organism, the different dimensions of trauma and so many other things, I try to spread this understanding in form of images, in the texts that go hand by hand with those images, in videos, in conversations… in any possible way. The point of all is to transmit that it is possible to find peace, that conflicts do not need to last forever, and that anxiety, stress, hate and so on are poisons for our soul.
As I was explaining earlier, I feel that I am not the ultimate author of my images, that I am just transmitting intuitions and insights, like a microphone, like an antenna. And from that understanding flows the need to help other people with the profits of my artworks. My second exhibition’s name was A love song and it was exhibited in Hjalmars. One of the last days of the summer season, Tage and I did an auction with the works, we sold them all and I sent the money to UNHCR and Arena y Esteras. With White Spot in the Darkness, I take the concept one step forward as I have created a platform that will allow me to sell some of my own works (and the works of other artists) and destine the benefits to a family in deep, deep need, Rehams family in this case. I reserve some amount of the price of the works to pay taxes and the cost of the productions of them, I need to make this project economically sustainable for myself, but in the page of every single one of the works you can find a breakdown of the diverse costs and the amount of money that goes to help Reham.
I have invested so much time and so much love to create this webpage. If I am honest to you I would love to sell millions of works, I would love to destine the profits of millions of artworks to help other humans in need. This goal is out of my reach, but I will dream big because the need for solidarity in this world is huge and the thousand miles trip begins with a single step, and that step involves you. You can buy a beautiful & healing piece of art and help Reham to escape Syria. If you have any question about the destination of the money and how I will manage to make that money reach her, please ask, send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org I am a very open person and I don’t want that doubts can stop you from acquiring an artwork from me and become part of this solidarity wave. Please check the works for sale and purchase them, I will add more in the future, different ones, but for now they are the ones I have had time to produce and place on the webpage, if you need something different please send me an email, we will find something special for you and your loved ones, for that birthday or that wedding or as a Christmas present.
Thank you for reading. With love.
P.S.: I have added a page “about me” that you can find here.