Avatars

Added on November 22, 2017

 

2017 Fall Trimester

First Section with Luke Brown

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Detail of the painting created by Luke Brown during the 2017 Fall Trmester

The Vienna Academy of Visionary Art is dedicated to assisting in the cultural transformation happening around the world right now – from the insight that creativity is a sacred force that can heal us, inspire healing in others, and thus play an important role in the transformation of our troubled world.

The main mission of our Academy has been to assist in bringing back the Sacred dimension of Art. We transmit painterly traditions and give our students the technical knowledge to ‘manifest their vision’.

But painting is just one dimension of Art, and so with the launch of our Cultural Space this September, we are expanding our Academy so teachers from other disciplines can share their knowledge and wisdom too – yoga, dance, sound healing, inner child work, mind-body activities of all kinds, as well as exhibitions, lectures, concerts and performances…

With the start of the 2017 Fall Trimester, the Academy has entered its fifth year. This anniversary also marks our second year in the Otto Wagner building in the 7th district, and our expansion from 120 m2 to a total of 470 m2. The new Cultural Space consists of two large rooms, The Gallery and The Temple (each 80 m2), where healers, teachers, artists and performers from around the world are hosting a wide variety of mind-body integration activities. In the short 6 weeks since opening we’ve had children’s yoga, tribal dance, singing circles, sound healing, cacao ceremonies, bugaang – over twenty workshop leaders, connecting people from all around Vienna.

Alongside the Cultural Space, the Academy’s Painting Studio continues to host its seasonal Trimester Programme. Every trimester here is unique, but one interesting feature this trimester is that we have added two new teachers to our circulating faculty: Luke Brown and Chris Dyer.

Both teachers are highly acclaimed artists, well-known in the world of Festival Culture. There has always been a special connection between Tribal Festivals and Visionary Art, given that altered states of consciousness have a long history and connection to the creation of Sacred or Visionary Art – and we are happy to expand our roster of teachers to include more artists whose work is internationally recognized in the ever-expanding world of Festival culture.

This trimester has been split into two halves, with Luke Brown teaching the first half and Chris Dyer the second. This blog post will focus on the students’ experience of studying under Luke Brown…

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The Exhibition altar with one of Luke Brown’s large paintings (in progress)

During the Opening Circle, Luke shared his extraordinary story of how as a teenager his life’s purpose was revealed to him during a psychedelic journey, and how this revelation set him on a unique course devoted to creating art.

Luke encouraged students to think upon their “higher self” and visualize it as a kind of “Avatar” that exists in all possible dimensions and orchestrates the universe around them in response to their thoughts and feelings. “The universe is a projection of my own imagination,” he reminded them. This theme would guide their paintings for the next five weeks, and also become the title of our mid-trimester student exhibition – AVATARS.

Following Luke’s preferred approach, students started their pieces with a series of sketches and drawings that were then photographed or scanned into their personal computers. Using tablets and a variety of programmes, the students treated the CGI stage as just one more creative tool for generating imagery, particularly abstract, chaotic patterns which engage the mind’s “Pareidolia” – its inherent ability to discern order and meaning inside of chaos. This could be considered a digital version of the “Decalcomania” technique discovered by the Surrealists, popularised by Max Ernst, and also used by Ernst Fuchs and the Visionary artists of his generation.

Based upon the new images emerging, the students augmented their designs and began to think about the general composition for their piece. Once this was fleshed out, it was then printed onto a canvas, which was used as an underpainting onto which the students painted with acrylics. A hand mirror was also placed here and there on the canvas to immediately discern new symmetrical shapes, that were added into the mix.

Luke’s work involves a heavy use of multiple light sources, and rendering forms through a brush-technique called hatching, constructing three-dimensional forms using many small visually distinct brush strokes that add up to create a vivid and detailed, vibrant painting, which he showed in various demos. He also created a new, fully-rendered painting (see video) over the course of the 5 weeks, allowing the students to have a clear idea of how he creates his work…

 

This trimester we also welcomed Philip Ackerman as our instructor in Figure Drawing. Philip taught an 8 week figure drawing class from the Live Nude model. Phil has been connected to the Academy since early in its inception but this was his first time teaching a full class here. His classes have been very popular and he has delivered a lot of his expert Figure Drawing knowledge, collected from his own very deep and passionate study over many years.

The end of Luke’s section was celebrated with a well-attended student exhibition, featuring several large paintings from the teacher, while the students created mini-altars and draped textiles over their easels to give a sacred presentation to their AVATAR paintings – a great opportunity to test drive The Gallery of our new Cultural Space!

…Stay tuned for Chris Dyer’s section of 2017 Fall Trimester – coming soon!

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The 2017 Fall Trimester Class

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The show just before opening to the public – with Michael and Alastair setting up the altar…

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