AN ARTIST INTERVIEW WITH DANIEL MIRANTE
With great excitement, Light Science presents this interview with prolific artist / writer / curator, Daniel Mirante. England-based Daniel is among the artists featured in the Light Science spirit artist collective, and hosts his own art culture nexus at Lila - a deeply allied companion website to this one.
Daniel Mirante has been wandering the wilderness of the imagination for 31 years. He is fascinated with the exploration of mysticism, deep ecology, mythology, and creativity, especially painting. His art and writing have appeared worldwide in a variety of publications, websites, exhibitions and calendars.
Daniel, one of the things that distinguishes you from many other artists is your level of involvement in the art culture community, as a curator of art and information. Your websites lila.info and ayahuasca.com are inspiring examples of a particularly poignant link between art, and active culture building. What is, for you, the connection between these two vocations?
Lila.info is a kind of muse but also a means to facilitate and strengthen the community of artists working upon the sacred vision. Its a way to present amazing artists, who are strengthened and supported by the context of each others work and vision. In much of the art world, irony and power are the dominant memes, but for true explorers this world is a flatland. A creative vision that honors the true possibilities on this planet, and an art that assists the transformation of consciousness, is the unifying intention of Lila, bringing together a community which is supportive in this delicate process of bringing forth a new era. The internet strengthens an already existing subtle web between artists and mystics, which some people call 'the invisible college'. -
"Archangel Michael" by Daniel MiranteA common thread that I've noticed through many of your writings, is a deep awareness of time, and a sensitivity to world cultures. How do you invision thefuture of global visionary art culture?
I see the future as somehow inherently less historical - less bound by the mythologies governing our feeling of being in a certain year and time. I intuitively feel as we go deeper into the human condition, we do not find our individuality or our particularity, but instead come closer into sympathy with all of life, across great epoch. I see mythologies and world-views wicking into existence ; new-yet-ancient cultures. Seeds long dormant sprouting forth from a fertile ground of humanity willing and open. I vision a global sacred culture which is honoring this mystery, delighting in our elemental, baroque creatureness, and creating the new temples, new cathedrals, shamanic circles, the spaces in which we can go through our rites of passage and initiation, cleansing, healing and regeneration.
We're on the cusp of something like the proliferation of gnostic cells in the classical era. I look at Brazil, for instance, which has within its cultural matrix all these mystery schools, Candomble, Umbanda, Jurema, Barquina, UDV, Santo Daime, exciting fusions between the worlds great shamanistic, animistic traditions and also mystical religions. Some of these mystery schools work with rituals of ecstatic song, dance and prayer, as well as plant medicines. I can see such cross-cultural new forms for timeless, primordial experience proliferating. In these ceremonies, people come closer to their truth, and community, and planetary praxis. And this could in turn gradually regenerate and transform the greater culture. Visionary art can be the heraldry, the tribal insignia of this global heart/spirit work.
So I see visionary art culture playing its part, alongside perma-culture, bodywork, ecological architecture, and diplomatic conflict resolution, in facilitating the emergence of new guiding mythos, and new temples, and new interactive culture templates. What we'll be doing together when we're living in our deep ecological communities ! If its not acreative, exploratory vision, then what are we doing and where are we going ?
How has your journey of creating art changed your life?
I sometimes refer to art as a fortress, because it is a mystery school, an inner sanctum which provides support and strength. I feel closer to the spiritual teachers. The circumstances of my life can change greatly, but art can be a support in the process. Art becomes a way to focus ones intention, enquiry, and prayer. Making art can be a meditation if you approach it as such. Its a great practice for concentration and attention and sensitivity. This doesn't mean its a serene and placid affair. On the journey to the center of the mandala one will pass through plenty of fire and brimstone. Inspiration without the hard work of craft is useless. "Do what you love, and become good at it".. its really the only sustainable option, I think. It helps to be a bit obsessional actually, if you want to be good at something.
This is one example of discovering the gifts inherent in certain types of wounding or craziness. I recognize I have so much to learn, I'm 5 years into the craft. Its good to have found painting. Its like arriving more on this planet. And of course, creating art has brought me into a wonderful creative community of the most likeminded and fascinating beings !
"Receptivity" by Daniel MiranteThe enchanted landscapes and angelic portraits that you create seem to speak from a profoundly spiritual place. One gets the feeling that these areportraits of realms that feel very real to you. Can you speak about your relationship to the subjects of your paintings, or the nature of your inspiration?
There is something extremely subtle. Its on the tip of the tongue Its like a cloud floating above the summit of a high mountain. Its above the everyday mind. My paintings are the result of 'neti, neti' (not this, nor this) - too subtle to grasp.
But art arises from the interplay of many levels of being, the communion of the higher with lower self. The recent cycle of paintings, Sophia, Archangel Michael and Receptivity came through exploring the roots of the Western consciousness, Zoroastrian, Gnostic, Hebrew, Christian and Sufi mysticism, which contain such an incredible internal poetic depth and glory. Once one gets beyond the arguments and objections, and stops throwing the baby out with the bathwater, it is like discovering a treasure trove. Its been buried for millennia but the numinous jewels sparkle as new. The power and glory and vanishingly tender energy in these Divine currents of Spirit is immense - and also a great challenge to the ego, which prefers to consolidate and collect itself, than be rendered humble and transparent... "The mountains quake, and the hills melt away. The earth trembles at the Presence, yes, the world, and all who dwell in it". This Power makes illusion tremble and collapse. The Divine is sublime but strongly disciplines and humbles the selfishness within the being. A wise forest wizard, Padrinho Sebastiao likened it to trash drying up in the midday sun.
The Formless, the Causal is the Supreme ground. And yet the Supreme expresses itself in the mind and imagination as the most enchanting vibrancy and beauty. There are many realms or frequencies of consciousness between the alpha and omega. Astral temples with chambers of pure wonder, landscapes of the music of pure surrender, desire realms of hypnotic fascination entire world-systems in dualistic conflict, trying to imprison the Christ Child. But then, these dreams and visions are transitory. I wonder if the deeper point of visionary experiences, rather than building up big narratives and philosophies, is to to learn to bear the miraculous, and to soften and go with the flow of transformation and change, in mindfulness and tenderness. Because this is what is useful to life in this world too, and maybe the next? What I love about visionary art is that it presents these incredible aspects of human nature. Its not focusing on the economy, sexual politics, or ego : flatland. Its not mono-logical or particularly self-obsessed. Its looking at the great mysteries of initiatic experience. It is true that a lot of visionary art does fall into formula, but in a sense this is what comes an invisible college, or guild. Things get passed down, taught, and are held in respect. I like this. It balances innovation with tradition.
"Sophia" by Daniel MiranteI am really intrigued when I see different artists channel similar world-templates, even if their style is different. For instance, one of my current favorite painters, Ohlhaeuser, one of Fuchs past students, after journeying round the Himalayas like many of the post-war generation of Germans, then spent the 1970's painting enchanted utopian deep ecological communities. There's shades of Bosch and Arik Brauer in his work. When I look at it, I take it an ontological impression that these places are somehow real. I recognize them. They are depicting an ideal, a strange-attractor, that I know as a truth in my being. And then, the buildings in these paintings are virtually identical, for instance, to the cartoon worlds that the artist Carl Sullivan has been creating completely independently. And I see this a lot. Different styles, different times, but just another window on the same realm of ideals.
And some of these places I have dreamed of, with their ornate palaces and darkly sapphic dakini princesses, I start seeing it coming through new currents such as 'phantasmagoria gothic baroque' in fashion, painting and photography. It indicates that there is a collective consciousness, a shared realm of ideals, or else an independently existing continuum of spiritual realms that artists of transparency and sensitivity are tapping into. And such art unfolds culture, it unfolds history and consciousness, it is anexample of Mckenna's 'ingression of novelty into time', or what Sri Aurobindo described as the Transcendental Supermind in-forming this physical realm, particularly the matrix of human life, so it can fulfill its promise.
Details of "Sophia" by Daniel Mirante