Wake up Screaming #5 – Devotion
An edition dedicated to exploring themes of devotion. Featuring artists from U.K., India, U.S., and Colombia. Plus a devotional sharing circle. All the best for 2018. x
Words and Illustration by Matt Witt
2. Contributing Artists:
– Julia Kerrison
– Charbak Dipta
– Kye Sangha
– Farid Cortez Rengifo
3. Something Old
– Full Zoooom – Using the moon as a creative focus.
– Guest contributors and submissions for the 6th edition.
1. Devotion – by Matt Witt
During the last two weeks, my head has been spinning like a Sufi trying to get a grip on this subject. What does devotion mean to me? Can I say I have ever been truly devoted? How can we approach devotion from a creative and self-improvement perspective and apply it in a modern context?
Speaking personally, the feeling of devotion seems to emanate from the very core of my being, centring in the solar plexus and funnelling up towards the heart. It’s a movement forward, a proactive engagement coupled with a firm intention and focused attention. It is to sacrifice for the betterment of yourself and others.
During my travels, I met people devoted to plants, to animals, to Gods and Goddesses, to aliens, and imaginary lands. I met people devoted to their family, to their lover, to their kids, to their sport, to creativity. I met those devoted solely to self, to self-destruction, to dreams, and to money. I saw the joy and novelty that devotion brought to some, but I also saw the misery and detriment that it caused in other people.
Amongst so many reference points, the purest display of devotion I have witnessed comes from much closer to home. It is the devotion of my Grandparents. Nan had a stroke around ten years ago, she can walk, but she is very frail. Despite being in his late eighties, Grandad nursed her back to health and continues to take care of her daily. He keeps the house perfectly and cooks every meal. His behaviour seems unconditional, without question and unendingly consistent when compared to the constant movement and discard of modern living. When I visit them everything is always in order; the space is so calm, it feels like a place of worship.
Perhaps I will be given the same opportunity to show this kind of devotion towards another. I hope I can step up to the mark. For the time being, I have devoted myself to inward and outward exploration, learning about myself through creativity and experience. Through observations and studies such as this one, I hope to uncover more of the mystery so that I might learn how to show such devotion towards another person.
In devoting my life to creativity, to art, to self-discovery, I feel I am orienting myself in line with the universe’s desire for novelty, growth, change, and for self-knowing. It certainly feels like a worthy dedication of my human life and consciousness.
The study and practice of devotion is a life-long commitment. It is fundamental to us as creative, nurturing beings. Many lifetimes could be spent unravelling this subject, we can’t hope to make much progress in half a moon cycle, but it’s a start.
Wolf Moon – Digital Illustration – Matt Witt – In Anglo Saxon culture the first full moon after the Winter Solstice (Christmas) is known as the Moon after Yule. It’s also known in Native American culture as the Wolf Moon, named after the wolves who howl during their mating season at this time of year. It’s also a “Super Moon”, a full moon that is closest to earth.
2. Contributing artists
Thoughts and feelings on devotion from across the globe. In this edition, we have contributions from U.K., India, Colombia and U.S., plus a sharing circle featuring short responses to the question “What does devotion mean to you”.
Julia Kerrison – Q&A
Who are you?
My name is Julia Kerrison, I’m an artist and musician living right on the ragged edge of Cornwall.
What do you do?
All sorts! But the thing I do best is paint. I illustrate, paint murals, make props and masks and paint sets for circuses and theatres. Painting for me is a way to explore and pin down an idea, to share stories and feelings.
Why do you do it?
I don’t feel like me if I don’t – painting is part of who I am, not just what I do. And I want to leave something in the world that makes it more beautiful.
Where do you like to hang out?
I like to travel a lot and explore new ground, particularly with my 3-legged lurcher puppy, Roo. But I’m lucky to live in a beautiful place so it’s a joy to come home.
How do you understand creativity?
Bringing something new into the world in whatever form, sharing part of yourself with the world. Who we are is such a fluid, ever-changing concept coloured by other people’s own perceptions and experiences – every time I create something I give the world a clue as to who I am in that moment on the inside, and it helps me to make connections.
“Held” – Acrylic on board – Julia Kerrison
This piece explores the concept of devotion to an individual in an intimate (although not necessarily romantic) relationship. When I began the work I was trying to express the feeling of safety and comfort of being with someone who is completely devoted to you, who nurtures you and protects you. As the work developed other ideas and feelings emerged: the main figure’s trust and acceptance of being held makes them vulnerable, it potentially takes away their own power and independence (expressed visually through their small size and nakedness).
For the devotee to there are potential downsides to such devotion – who are they in themselves? All we see here is an anonymous hand; they have no identity of their own outside of the object of their devotion and their role relating to them. Devotion is a wonderful thing, but do we lose something of ourselves if we are totally committed to another person, cause or dream? Do we cut ourselves off from other areas of life and miss out on other experiences? And is it worth it?
See more of Julia’s work here: facebook.com/juliakerrisonart
Charbak Dipta (চার্বাক) is an Indian Bengali illustrator, cartoonist and graphic storyteller. He has done cartooning and illustrations for many organisations. Currently, he is doing freelance comics/illustrations all over the world.
Charbak is also a trained Hindustani classical singer, Guitarist and Classical Pianist. He took music training from ITC Sangeet Research Academy and Calcutta School of Music for over 10 years.
Check out Charbak here: www.charbakdipta.com
Much of my work is dedicated to my devotion to the night sky. I adore it, the sense of wonder instilled into me by the Milky Way cannot be accurately described with my poor words, so I try with art.
Check out more of Kye’s work on Instagram: instagram.com/kyesangha
Devotion – Digital illustration – Kye Sangha
Farid Cortez Rengifo
Devotion is a word that describes the act of consecrating one’s life to a given task, faith, art, intention, or anything that brings the individual closer to a higher layer of the existence, inner or outer.
The following mandala was created with the intention of unifying or at least striving to bring together two apparently separated worlds: the world of the Shaman and the world of the Monk. Both of which have had a profound influence and been an inspiration to my life and creative work.
Mandalas, yantras, and other geometrical diagrams coming from the Buddhism, Tantrism and Hinduism offer structured representations of multidimensional realities. On the other hand, the pre-Columbian indigenous influence spanning the American continent that gave birth to a world of images, concepts and universal understandings, often very similar to those described by the monks and meditators of the Asiatic continent.
During the week it took to create this mandala, I saw my friends taking long rests after lunch, enjoying the sun and the simple pleasures. Not me, I was experiencing a higher love, a different connection. I was in a constant state of flow, in every brushstroke, in every mix of colour, in every movement of my hand.
I was wholly present; my mind was filled with only one thing, the intention to create that piece of devotional art. Born from this pure intention was the first piece of art from my heart, a spiritual landmark. That’s what I call, Devotion.
See more of Farid here: facebook.com/VivaLaHortensia
Below is a collection of statements submitted in response to the question: What does devotion mean to you?
“Devotion means sublime, sacred, mystical sentiment.” – Silente Abstrusa – Colombia
“It seems to me that devotion is a sustained effort and kindness.” Kye Sangha – U.S.
“To do something with devotion for me means to do it with passion.” Angie Lorini – Bolivia
“Unassailable commitment.” Clare Ann Shepherd – U.K.
“Devotion to me means to surrender.” Mazimpaka Aline – Rwanda
“Constant, steady practise.” Lisa Aquarius – Peru (from U.S.)
“To do it with love.” Marcie D Mata – Mexico
“Being fully present.” – Bloom Post – U.S.
“Great love, or a prayer.” Jeniffer Jones – U.K.
“Staying together through trials and tribulations with the one you love.” Patricia Kemp – U.K.
“Requires reverence.” Pitt Reeves U.S.
“Devotion… commitment from the heart.” Robert Perry – Australia
A big thank you to the artists who have shared their thoughts and feelings on devotion. It’s a pleasure to work with such devoted beings.
3. Something Old
Full Zoooom – This piece was created for the Full Moon in May 2016, I was living in Thailand and beginning to experiment with the moon as an inspirational and motivational focus, producing new work for each moon cycle.
This approach to creativity is now the engine behind the Wake-up Screaming e-zine, with editions released on each new and full moon. The aim is to tap into the natural cycles of the moon in order to find a way of creating more consistently and sustainably. It works! 😉
Issue 6 is open to submissions, the theme will investigate Dreams. Find out more.
Each edition of Wake up Screaming showcases a particular contributor with a Q and A. It might be an artist, illustrator, writer, or maybe a medium, an astrologist, a therapist or yoga instructor.
If you would like to contribute to Wake up Screaming, please contact email@example.com with some examples of your work. If you are a therapist then contact me with your website and we’ll look at how best to present you.
About Wake up Screaming
I hope you enjoyed this edition of Wake up Screaming. The next one will arrive with the first New Moon of 2018.
I am Matt Witt, illustrator, artist, writer, musician… a human that likes to indulge in his creativity. Wake up Screaming is an e-zine that encourages personal investigation of themes related to the expansion of consciousness, to waking up and embracing our creativity as a tool for personal growth.
Using the New Moons as release dates, Wake up Screaming is intended to encourage us to research new themes and to create new work on a regular basis. We use the cycles of the moon to provide an inspirational and motivational focus point, providing four week periods in which to study topics that are calling for our attention. Editions are released and a new theme set with each New Moon.
Personally, it’s also something to help me overcome isolation, to catalyse collaboration and to satisfy my yearning for self-knowledge and drive to connect with other creative types. I am always keen to hear from other artists about collaborating.
See you in two weeks!