Though the waking world is ripe with ideas waiting to be harvested, there are few places so sweetly laden with inspiration as our dreams. Such wonders spring forth to enchant our sleeping souls! The limits of the day slip off easily, and we are left to explore the infinite fascinations of the unconscious realm. Dozens of my works are inspired by dreams - I even have a collection of works named Dreaming! From peaceful reverie to jarring night terror, creative spirits throughout the ages have found themselves frequent patrons of the mind's nightly theatre.
|Detail from Indigenous art at Australia's Barramundi Rock.|
Among the earliest-known artists to tell stories from dreams were the Indigenous peoples of Australia. Dreaming is a foundation of their culture - their creation story, from which many of their great traditions emerged, is known to the world as Dreamtime. During this sacred era, the universe took shape by the great Creator spirit's hand and the world they came to know was born. The mythical Dreamtime is present in their most widely recognized art forms: painting and engravings on rocks, their celebrated dot paintings, and with the music and dances of their songlines. To this day, Australian indigenous art remains a stirring blend of spirituality, dreams, and nature.
|Detail from Magritte's Time Transfixed.|
As the science of sleep and of dreams gained acclaim in the early 20th century, the world was changed - the art world being no exception! Taking cues from the emerging psychological studies of Freud and the rise of popular science, a number of truly original artists turned to the mythical mind to find their subjects. Breton, Magritte, Dali, and many others sought to match artistic prowess with visual intrigue, creating paintings and sculptures that echoed the fantastic kingdom of dreams. The movement, known to all time as Surrealism, had a profound impact on the culture of its day and on the direction of modern art as a whole.
|Detail from Ana Tzarev's La Vie en Rose.|
Despite centuries of deriving our ideas from dreams, the well of inspiration is of a depth beyond measure; we shall never be left dry. The art and science of dreaming is becoming more vivid with time, as organizations like the International Association for the Study of Dreams seek to explore both the creative and concrete sides of this universal phenomenon.
Even the most resourceful, innovative creators may sometimes find themselves at a loss of where to turn. Should the waking world become obscure to you, Artist, seek clarity in your dreams - they hold insight into your creative flow and show you how effortlessly your next masterpiece can be born!