The Mythical Ship - Matt Witt

Wake up Screaming #7 – Myth

2 minute read

The New Moon has arrived, that means a new edition of Wake up screaming is released. This month we welcome artists from all corners of the globe, offering their insights on myth and it’s relationship to creativity. We touch on mythical themes such as archetypes, Jung, psychoanalysis, Norse myth, The jaguar in Peruvian Myth, Safaitic Art and lots more. We are featuring a short film “The Bagpipe Makers Baby”, plus words and images from myself about my relationship with the mythical ship, all published in a fresh new format. 

The Mythical Ship - Matt Witt
The Mythical Ship – Matt Witt

Studying myth is like chasing the memory of a dream into morning: There is an ineffable indefinite grasping at temporary bubbles of understanding that sway and merge and pop as easily as they are formed.

The last month of study on the subject has led me to madness. I’m kidding, but it has encouraged me to take a long hard look right into the centre of myself, deconstructing, which is something I gain a great deal of satisfaction from.

At the core, the aim was to improve my knowledge of the subject, to understand how myth and archetypes flow through me and my work and to provide the opportunity to create words and images in response to the subject. Beyond that we invited other artists to contribute their investigations of myth and its relationship with creativity, which coloured and directed my own study, providing new topics for investigation as moon phases passed.

I am captivated by the concept that myth has penetrated my internal world and been led out into the real world through some of my core behaviours and drives in life, namely through art. 

I have become obsessed with the archetypal/mythical image of the ship, a prominent feature in my thoughts for as long as I can remember. The ship is a useful metaphor to visualise mythical and archetypal concepts. The piece above entitled “The Mythical Ship” attempts to picture the depth and layers of myth as a subject. It attempts to depict metaphor, what is being described on the surface may only be a representation of what lies beneath.

The more I sit with this image the more stories and questions are revealed. For example, are the ship, the whales and the outer circle of sea creatures coordinating, or are the whales providing a submerged protection to the ship, keeping the creatures at bay? Is the ship in communication with the whales? What might have caused such a coincidence of formation?

The whales create a rudimentary ying-yang, suggesting light and dark at play, or perhaps perfect balance, and the image as a whole has been likened to a mandala. There is something archetypal at play here that leads me back into the image, again and again. It feels like there is something to be learned here, a hidden meaning, just below the surface of common thought and mammalian understanding.

The ship provides the central anchor point from which many interpretations can be evolved and as always, the more we discover the more mysteries are placed before us. The ship and the ocean are explored further in my further contribution towards the end of this edition.