VIS120 major project: process


Some of the happiest moments in my life were when I was a child drawing. I could lose myself for hours at a time, be wholly present every second to the act of creation. There were several years during my teens to mid 20s that I found this ability again through drugs - creativity spurred by psychedelics and amphetamines but that was a long time ago. Since then, I've tried many things to achieve a sense of timeless.... meditation, chanting, yoga, ecstatic breathwork, tantra, fasting, a huge variety of body work therapies... being away from my usual life seems to help... travel, holidays, camping - all create a sense of immediacy and newness and my ability to pay attention returns in full. A journey with Ayahuasca for a year a half several years also opened a similar space of attention and timelessness. In this project, I want to see if I can remember and re-learn how to do this in my art practice and then hopefully, pay more attention to the wholeness of life. 


1. I started with a giant list of the things I want to include in the poster... to capture the many intimate moments shared with the places, birds, animals and trees of Springbrook. Thoroughly overwhelming - there's like, 83 things on this list! And I keep adding more! But that's Gondwanaland rain forest... SO MUCH LIFE here. Overwhelm seems fitting. I might not get it all in but gosh darn it, I'm gonna try. My poster size might too small :P 

2. I decided to have a central focus in amongst the cacophany of birds, plants, animals and waterfalls: a mandala of circles each of which details a view from the mountain. This is me figuring out how to draw a mandala. 

3. Above the mandala, there will be a crescent of birds carrying one of each of the 9 phases of the moon: black cockatoo, white cockatoo, wedge-tailed eagle, king parrot, crimson rosella, eastern spinebill, kingfisher, currawong and welcome swallows. A lino print of mine below of the moon phases. 

4. Beginning the layout, using a massive ruler to and compass to be as accurate as possible with positioning of each element.

Pencil drawings from sketchbook to poster.

I've been having lots of close encounters with wildlife that tell me they want to be in the poster so I have to keep adding more to the original list of 80 or so! (like the scorpion below I stumbled on in the woodpile. Good thing I was wearing gloves!) I came across this complete list of Springbrook wildlife, plants, insects and fungi from the Department of Environment and Science and have been enjoying tracking down source images using the latin names. A painstakingly slow process... each animal or plant on my list I first search for the common name in the spreadsheet then use google to search for an image of the exact animal I've met as the list details each species and all their relations that live up here.

In the composition, I'm attempting as much as possible to position the wildlife in the areas of the rainforest I'd seen them most - the birds who live high in the treetops that I most often see flying... the birds who live mid-level and the birds who hang out mostly on the ground.