A few years ago I purchased a beautiful print from a friend I had met through social media. This brilliant painting captivated me from the moment I saw it and I knew that it would be a beautiful addition to the art in our home. At the time I didn't quite understand how much I would appreciate the friendship or learning that would come from this artist or how much I would be inspired from the wonderful and magical art he creates. So much so that I need to share, and hope that his art and understanding will light a fire and passion within you the way it has in me.
At the end of last year I was looking for a new logo for Recipe for Anarchy. I wanted something that encompassed what I was working to create here. Something that spoke to who I was and what I was working towards creating with this website. The original logo was wonderful but in no way did it encompass what this site is meant for. It's far more than anarchy and a frying pan! In fact, as you read through this site, you'll notice that there really isn't an 'ist' or an 'ism' that could fit all that I'm working on in this space.
I had commissioned someone to work out a logo and for whatever reason it wasn't meant to be. It was a case of me watching everyone else's work get taken care of before mine, and after a while I lost patience. I see now that it was all for a reason and I'm so grateful that it didn't pan out. Always a reason for everything!
When I approached Alejandro and asked him if he would be interested in helping me with a logo he was more than happy to work with me. I had a simple trace and doodle I had done that was the extent of my artistic ability for this method of art.
He took my rough copy and turned it into the beautiful logo seen below on the right.
This truly encompasses what Recipe For Anarchy is and what I am working towards in this space.
How could I repay this wonderful artist friend who took time away from his projects and life to help me when no other would? Who truly took the time to work out my vision and mission here with this website? All I could think to do (as he would accept no payment) was come here and celebrate both the art and the artist.
The Art of Alejandro Dini
Let me introduce you to the art before the artist. Let me show you what I fell into as I gazed into the depths of his art. There is a knowing in these paintings.
I asked Alejandro to share with us, his 3 favorite paintings and to express why and what they signify for him in his own words.
The Gift of the Sages
This is about ancestry, legacy and inner knowledge. The giant turtle to me represents longevity, tradition and Earth. It's a slow traveler, which implies patience and introspection. On the other hand the bird as an air creature is a quick and far sighted messenger. The sage unites both worlds, above and below. A sort of trinity of wisdom.
Sisters in the Moonlight
This is the beautiful print I purchased a few years ago. Still looking for the right frame for it. It speaks to me and tells the most beautiful story.
The feminine has always been a center focus of my personal work. I wanted to unite three aspects of the feminine (I'd rather not kill the "feel" by saying what these are) under its most ancient archetype: the Moon.
The Sacrifice of the Little Mermaid
After reading Andersen's version of the Little Mermaid I was struck by its sadness compared to the phoney Disney version. The sacrifice of the Mermaid seemed to me very significant. The transition from the abyss to the heavens is well represented by the transformation of the fin into human limbs and ultimately into wings. A type of symbolization we can find in mythologies as well.
The Artist: A Written Exchange
I sent off several questions for Alejandro that I was curious about and his responses were very welcomed and intriguing. I do hope you will get as much from them as I have. There are great teachings in these words.
What are your sources of inspiration for your art?
This question usually leaves me with a blank mind for a while. I don't intentionally look for inspiration, it's either here or it isn't. It's the urge of expressing something at a certain moment. Being introverted makes this incident rather frequent, because anything around me might trigger the urge.
What I don't usually do is to look for it at all costs. If it's not there it will come when it matures.
I find that it can't be forced. Especially I try to avoid looking at other people's artwork as a way of knowing where to go next. It's mortifying for me.
Perhaps my greatest stimuli come from reading, observing things around me, feelings, ideas, dreamy imagination.
What moments from childhood do you see as being inspiration for you today?
As a kid I was fascinated by the world of storytelling and even common cartoons, but they never exhausted my imagination, they poked it and teased it.
I needed to relive all the characters and situations in my own drawings, trying to recapture the same thrill, perhaps also to release the tormenting fascination that would linger in my head for too long.
I always had a very vivid imaginative life.
What were your greatest influences?
As a kid cartoons played the first part, like for all kids. As I grew up it was the turn of comic books.
But I remember being fascinated by some of the classic italian artists from Renaissance at an early age, when I saw their original paintings within the context of the historical cities they've been produced in. One of the advantages of living in Italy.
Seeing paintings in galleries that were antique homes always struck me as the proper place to experience art: within the domestic intimacy.
I was never attracted by museums. They feel like hospitals. Art to me has to be part of every day's life and for everyone.
Can you tell us what your most precious memories from fairy tales are. What did you take from them?
My grandma used to tell forgotten Italian fairy tales to my sister and I. Unfortunately I barely remember them now.
Among the classic themes, I've always feel driven towards the dark ones: forests, witches, trials. I like these a lot.
Especially those with ravenous Lilithian witches that manifest as the terrorizing darkness that engulfs all, but presenting the chance for the main character to find the inner light, hence revealing the benevolent lunar side of the witch too.
This is the aspect I remember the most when thinking about Fairy Tales.
What I take from them is the same thing the character takes: a revelation along the journey. It puts me at peace with my inner shadows and I know they are not there to kill but to teach.
What would your most favored archetypes be?
The feminine in all its aspects. Mostly The Moon, the Wise and Mercurial characters. I started drawing more and more birds too.
I don't normally choose these symbols on purpose, but they are what attract my attention.
I used to draw only what I "felt" like drawing, but in the past few years I became more conscious of the inner process and I found that this very fact helped the themes evolve gradually. From pure horror images, to the terrible Dark Mother to the Anima/Goddess to the Nurturing Mother and so on. I see a chronological thread uniting my latest illustrations in a logical sequence.
I transmute with my own work, which makes my older works sort of obsolete from my own point of view. There's a constant death and rebirth that seems dreadful and scary at first, but it's quite the opposite of that.
The alchemical work starts with a process symbolized by a raven on a skull. That's how daunting it seems, but it's the only way of finding greater things.
I do that, every day. I like to dive into the darkness and understand it. I question my dreams, often write them down too.
It's very transformative and healing, but I know most people run away from this possibility.
Maybe even among my friends some might think I just like to draw as a hobby outside my day job duties. That I do so a child, for escapism.
My personal work is not a hobby nor escapism. Hobbies are optional past times. This is a necessity, and the artwork is a mere cracked pebble I share from the immensily vaste symbolic universe.
But it's not MY universe. It's everyone's. The door is always open. I just wish to show that if we look at things twice we discover magic, and that it does make sense.
What archetypes from the past do you want to bring forward?
I work with the feminine as a starting point, as my initial drive. Then I go from there naturally, wherever it takes me. So in this sense I don't have a specific preference or intention, but it's the actual symbolic content that comes forward by itself as long as I keep exploring and expanding on the initial theme.
But trying to be more specific, I think my attention lately has been caught by Moon, birds and trees. I enjoy organic forms and tree trunks rather than architecture.
In general, animals will always be extremely significant in all cultures, because they are the voice of nature, something we've lost contact with.
It would be good for everyone to look around and see what animals live in the surrounding areas and try to feel some kind of empathy with them and their behavior.
That and plants.
In your opinion, what is the role of art in shaping society?
The role of art in society is a complex subject.
The definition of art is never fixed, it changes continuously, often imperceptibly. Hence it is always necessary for the artist to question and find that definition anew.
This is especially critical in today's society where technology overwhelms the senses with continuous and dissonant stimuli.
It's something humanity has never experienced before, thus art can't be regarded with the nostalgic eyes of renaissance nor as the bohemian "desperately beautiful" any longer.
Here I'm going to reformulate Art as something different. Not as a statement but as a dialectic response, often a question (Quest-ion).
Also, what I'm going to say mostly refers to the personal work of the artist, as opposed to the commercial. Many artists inevitably juggle both approaches, but it's important to cast a light on the whole of it first.
Any forms of artwork aren't inherently beneficial per se, as most think.
Art is a play on the symbolic, which is the very fabric of the psyche.
A perverted psychotic artist will produce perverted artwork, perverted myths and confuse further.
We just have to look at the nefarious effects of implanting old religions among foreign people, but also how language shapes ideologies.
When the roots get infected the tree starts to die.
Which is why the artist has the responsibility of seeking wisdom through his life as he expresses the Symbolic through art form.
This way he becomes a voice of the times in a much bigger context, and perhaps, ideally, the work reawakens and puts in place the archetypal content of the artist in the first place, and maybe of some of those who resonate with it.
But this is not what's happening these days. Art is seen as a type of self-celebratory activity that justifies itself by itself. It's the narcissistic Oscar Wildian "Art for art's sake".
This is not at all how I live art, which is why I often find myself very disconnected from the way "artists" out there work and think.
It's not enough to get good at pencils, writing, singing or whatever medium we might choose.
The true work of the artist is within themselves first. That's the hardest bit and the one everyone overlooks. Who wants to face the Shadow?
But there's no other way. The artist generally picks a path of two: art and Art. Often handling a bit of both.
The first one, art, is an established path, art directed, full of promises and tin trophies, but one that doesn't produce anything new. It's the path of commercial art where the work must have a specific function. Popular and acceptable. Interesting voice of today, good for future archaeology, but often very stagnant.
Then there's the hard path, Art, a wild forest, pretty dark and solitary. It's the path of the artist who listens to an inner call, knowing that it's an unforgiving journey that will force him to change and shed many skins, but ultimately it's the only true rewarding path, because it's full of the spirit of ancestry.
Here the artwork (or LifeWork) becomes an expression of the journey rather than a narcissistic self-serving feast of hedonism or a means to an end.
When we start to resonate with the Work (whatever it might be) there's a sense of rebirth, like pieces of a puzzle finally matching.
It happens because we discover our legacy, art is no longer the queen's mirror of vanity.
Of the two paths it's only the first that sometimes leads to the dionysiac idea of beauty as "pleasure of the senses". Dorian Gray falling in love with the painting of himself. I'm the means AND the end. Uroboric incest.
But why should we be surprised?
We live in a very hedonistic society and a lot of "artists" are accomplices of the collective neurotic confusion, not the saviors. Rather the unconscious gatekeepers of the establishment, parrots of the collective imaginary.
Many people are so disconnected as to say nonsense like: "Why do you worry? It's JUST a drawing/song/movie/word, etc".
"Just", as if that thing was meaningless and had no psychological impact, as if it came from nowhere to go nowhere else, as if there were something else regulating interpersonal relationships other than the Symbolic (language).
This dramatic fallacy is the result of hardcore positivism, the modern form of psychological blindness that has gone tragically viral in our days.
So the hard Work has to start with words.
Speech is the key, always and inevitably. It's not by chance that speech is the first thing that starts crumbling in social networks, beginning with writing and reading.
And it's for this reason that in the past masters of speech and spelling were considered Magicians, the spellcasters.
Artists fulfill the same role.
It's not a matter of seeing who's the best artist, who deserves the award, who gets the money, but a matter of individual responsibility.
So how to begin? The initiation start with a big fire.
Something has to burn, like in those metaphorical scenes where we see a certain character going through a significant transition and throws all he has into a big fire, even his own clothes, and then sits in front of it, naked, looking into the flames devouring all the things he's not.
This is how the Quest begins, the first step out of the cage, the leashed-mind or governed-ment.
An Art form that isn't a Quest is not art.
I speak of what I know, and I don't know much, but this is what I live. It's not a theory for me.
So here's what I've been cooking. My an-archontic recipe.
Interested in finding out more about Alejandro, want a print or just curious to see more of his art?
Please click here:
Author: Cari-Lee Miller
Understand this, dear reader:
This blog space is like a diary to which consent for my writings/feelings/expressions, is never needed or asked for. This is my space and if it brings you uncomfortable feelings, feel free to look no further and keep to the spaces that do you no harm.
I am a seed burst forth from its shell. I have mingled and fought in the dirt. I am ready to kiss the Sun. *CLM
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