Listening to my intuition seems effortless if I spend time each day tuning into nature; the sounds, the scent of the air, the wind through the trees, the light and shadow. When I listen to my inner voice, I feel all things good are possible.
This is a painting I made for my friend Kris who I’ve known since we were young teens. We had many whacky fun days creating movies together and generally being creative, loving the absurd. This painting was a gift of love for my friend, and so I tapped into Kris’ super intelligent essence and the first thing that wanted to be on the canvas was a flower fairy or brownie. Then a topless, daring and confident young female emerged. It all felt just right. When Kris received the painting, we exchanged memories of how when we were young, we could go outside shirtless, but were told we could not continue doing that as we got older. We didn’t think it fair or quite understand it when we were young, and often I still think it’s a ridiculous rule in a way, if men can go shirtless, then why not women? (I especially think it’s wrong to complain when a mother is breast feeding a baby in a public space.) Kris, here’s to years of adventure, more movies and absurdity, with love, appreciation and respect.
In ILLUMINARA INTUITIVE JOURNAL with CARDS, I recommend writing in a stream-of-consciousness way to unlock the unconscious so that the soul can be heard within. Sometimes I write anything that comes to mind, and let the pencil or pen flow across the paper as weird word arrangements surface. Oddly, it can make sense or be harder to revisit later because of a peculiar emotional weight (there is more to what seems like nonsense because our subconscious is constantly trying to clue us in, and these writings or art done in this stream-of-consciousness state of being truly hold emotional significance, I believe). In this painting above, rather than writing, I did as I normally do in my sketchbooks; paint/draw with complete abandon in terms of design planning or conscious intent. I just played out the paint. It felt very good. Now looking at it, I can see I’d like some blue suede shoes because they symbolize an optimistic future for me. And there is a space here for something to happen, the next step is alight. Wonder how I’ll navigate through these strange times, I ask myself.
to see more of Marshall’s art go to www.marshallarisman.com
Elaine: “I remember connecting with you, Marshall, many years ago. I was happy to hear that you also see auras. I grew up seeing that soft colorful glow around people and things and never thought to ask anyone about it because I assumed everyone saw this. I only learned at about 20 years old that this glow was called an “aura”. I see the aura float or flash color changes, sometimes a shadow of the color leaves the body and floats down, things like that. I knew you knew a lot about auras when we talked because you were so good at describing the colors. In what ways have you deepened your artistic vision through studying what happens with people and their auras?”
Marshall: “I have been seeing auras for over 40 years. I have no idea why. It happened suddenly when I was listening to a lecture at Carnegie Hall. Krishnamurti was speaking and I saw a golden glow surround his body and expand into 20 feet. The next day I saw light around everything. By the end of the week I saw color.
Until that time my art work had been, out of preference black and white. The content of my work was violence. The form it took were shades of grey and shadow. When forced to add color by various publications I did it, feeling no emotion for the colors I chose.
Seeing the color in auras gave color a new meaning for me. Color became connected to energy. No longer a technical issue color became an emotional reality.”
Elaine: “Your grandmother who was a Spiritualist in Lily Dale, NY, taught you that the energy we put in art stays in the art and can be felt by people forever. Do you have specific intentions prior to or upon creating each piece about the energy you put into your paintings?”
Marshall: “My grandmother, Louise Arisman, was a Spiritualist minister and a medium. She saw auras, among her gifts of clairvoyancy and healing. Growing up, on our Sunday visits, she would ask me to place my hand on a tree and feel the energy. I could feel heat coming from the bark. “You can feel the energy,” she said, “maybe one day you will be able to see it. It’s not big deal, just a visual reminder of what your intuition already knows.”
I paint with my hands, not brushes, in hopes of finding a direct current of my energy into the canvas.”
Elaine: “Do you feel the presence of Muddy when you’re painting, or any other guide or spirit?”
Marshall: “Painting is a meditation for me. A way of side stepping the endless chatter in my brain. I have often felt impulses and had on occasional visual when painting. For example when I was painting buffalos I saw and felt myself lying up against the side of a huge buffalo on the plains. I was a Native American. After that I painted all my buffalos lying down. It is a wonderful memory.”
I have experienced the physical presence of a spirit guide only once. I didn’t like it.
I was working on a series called Black Elk, named after the Sioux Holy Man and keeper of the pipe. My studio was full of deer antlers sent to me by my brother, a deer hunter. One morning, when I entered my studio, I could feel the overwhelming presence of a Native American. It was as if I had inadvertently put my finger up into the universe and he had grabbed on. Day by day he was there making his presence known. After three weeks of heightened energy the rage I was painting with burst into flames. Remembering my grandmother’s advice I demanded that he leave. The next day he was gone.”
Elaine: “One of the biggest influences in my adult life was meeting Karen, who I call by her Cherokee name, “Four Stars”. You introduced me to her and I’ll be eternally grateful for that as well as eternally grateful for learning from you. I still experience her messages and guidance, mostly in rare but important dreams. Have you experienced any of that?”
Marshall: “Of all the mediums, soothsayers, healers and misfits I have met over the years Karen was in a category of her own. I first met her in Portland, Oregon. During our first session she said “You think I’m fat, doncha honey?” Karen, at that point, weighed well over 200 pounds. Bouffant hair, spandex pants with a hot dog in one hand and a quart of Pepsi in the other. I mumbled something about I didn’t think she was fat – just big boned.
She asked me to lie on a table. Turning over on my stomach she said, “I don’t actually look like this – when we finish our little workout today I am going to show you what I Iook like…..and I I’m going to show you what to paint.”
She pushed and pulled my body for an hour. ‘Sit up, put your hands on my shoulders and look at my face.” Sitting there, with arms outstretched, I looked at her face – now comes what my grandmother called “the woo-woo stuff.”
Karen’s face went out of focus and spun. When it stopped it was the face of my first love, Janet Upton in the fourth grade. Over the next few minutes Karen’s face reformed into every woman I have ever loved. Winking at me she said smiling, ‘Paint that, honey!’ “
Elaine: “Things are getting weird out there. What do you sense about the future (say, next ten years) of our world (art and otherwise), if anything at all?”
Marshall: “I think it’s time we all started hugging trees.”
Me: ”You run the best MFA program for visual essay in the world. In undergraduate school, I remember I was labeled as being a “narrative” artist, so a decade later or so when I discovered your program, I was thrilled. What do you think is the most important way in which a “story” and the notion of story influences you when you approach a blank canvas?”
Marshall: “I think many of my paintings are stories – but stories I don’t understand yet. That’s why I paint them. Looking backwards I can begin to piece together a storyline but rarely does a painting start with a clear narrative. You go down one road, you hit a dead end. You go back and take the other fork in the road. There is no end, no painting where you got it right. Maybe that’s the narrative.”
Iconic artist Marshall Arisman was born and raised in Jamestown, New York. He is a master painter, illustrator, sculptor, printmaker, filmmaker and educator.
His work may be seen in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Brooklyn Museum, the New York Historical Society and the National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, the Guang Dong Museum of Art, TelfairMuseum of Art, as well as many private and corporate collections.
His illustrations have appeared on the covers of Time, U.S. News and World Report, The Nation, The Progressive, The New York Time Book Review. His editorial work has appeared in every national publication including Esquire, Rolling Stone, Playboy, The New York Times Op-Ed page, The Village Voice and Business Week.
His original graphic essay Heaven Departed, explores the emotional and spiritual impact of nuclear war on society. The essay was published in book form by Vision Publishers (Tokyo, 1988).
Among his other books are The Cat Who Invented Bebop (winner of the bronze medal by ForeWard magazine books of the Year Award) published by Creative Editions. He has co-authored four books with Steven Heller: The Education of an Illustrator, Inside the Business of Illustration, Teaching Illustration and Marketing Illustration (all published by Allworth Press).
Arisman was the first American invited to exhibit in mainland China in 1999. The exhibition Sacred Monkeys, appeared at the Guang Dong Museum of Art.
He is the subject of a full-length documentary film directed by Tony Silver titled “Facing the Audience, The Arts of Marshall Arisman.” The film received the Creative Achievement Award from the 2002 Santa Barbara Film Festival.
He is the Chairman of the M.F.A. degree program, Illustration as Visual Essay, at the School of Visual Arts in New York.
His work may be seen in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Brooklyn Museum, the New York Historical Society and the National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, the Guang Dong Museum of Art, Telfair…See More
Would you love to practice using your ILLUMINARA INTUITIVE JOURNAL with CARDS? Do you have questions about how to use them and discoveries you’d like to share? If you have your own ILLUMINARA INTUITIVE JOURNAL with CARDS and would like to play with them/use them for divination and creative exploration, I will be available for 15 minute sessions (as a courtesy to you) on one Friday of the month *I’ll figure out which Friday once I get a list of people interested in having these little fun sessions*. These sessions will be via SKYPE (ideally) and should really help kick-start some wonderful intuitive discoveries using the journal and cards. I can’t wait to hear from you! (Time zones for Europe and Asia and anywhere on the globe will be figured out so no matter where you are, we can work it out).
Birds in dreams mean something to me, and this one was probably about the clutter of life (and finding what we need in amongst it). A bird flew overhead and was dragging a kind of airborne Jacob’s Ladder with it; a few strands of rope or cord with all kinds of things attached to it. Remarkably, the bird could still fly. We watched this site as the bird flew by. The strands of cord with all kinds of things attached to it fell to the ground and the bird was free. We began to examine what had fallen, wondering if there was something valuable in what was there. Both the wonder at a bird in flight triumphing when caught, plus the expectation that there might be something valuable in the tangled cord it left behind seem positive and promising. My feelings in the dream were expectant but not necessary attached (interesting word since the bird was “attached” to many things it did not need). I still see very clearly the bird in flight, even though the emotional weight in this dream was light, and not very compelling.
This one is silly, just for fun.
Dr. Raymond Moody (who contributed to my new book ILLUMINARA INTUITIVE JOURNAL) brings up an interesting feature of shared death experiences in his new book GLIMPSES OF ETERNITY. He explains that people report, when at the bedside of a loved one dying, experiencing the geometry of the room changing. This may happen in the process of the loved one dying, or when they actually die. The room literally changes shape in the experience of the one who awaits at the bedside of the dying relative or friend. The only experience I’ve had similar to this is when a sudden shock may come over me and I’ve felt (in those rare few times in life when something shocking has occurred) that all the world nearly melts around me, or that suddenly I seem to have a bird’s eye-view of everything. If you’re interested in exploring N.D.E.s (near death experiences, a term Dr. Moody created decades ago) then you may also be fascinated by exploring S.D.E.s, shared death experiences.