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Monday, 05 May 2014
(Inner space trans-visions)

“The hell of the living is not something that will be; there is one, it is the one that already exists here. The hell that we inhabit every day, that we form together. There are two ways not to suffer from it. The first is easy for many: accept hell and be part of it to the point of not seeing it anymore. The second is dangerous and demands continuous attention and learning, seeking and knowing how to recognize what and who, in the midst of hell, is not hell, and making it last and giving it space”.

Dialogue between Marco Polo and Kublai Kan in “The Invisible Cities Italo Calvino.a

(…) When I got home after that long trip, I got under the sheets of my longed-for bed for about 12 hours straight. When I woke up, I went to the kitchen like a zombie and dipped my head under the tap. As I drank the cold water that ran down my cheek, that frozen Vancouver fountain came to mind. At that moment I doubted whether my strange journey had been dreamt or lived. Anguished by this idea, I hurried to get my suitcase. I rummaged through my dirty clothes and found with relief that there were the treasures of my journey; those five windows still showed vibrant worlds that I had never imagined. I was sure that those pieces worked like seeds coming from an immeasurable inner space, promising a mysterious awakening. I was surprised with a smile as I remembered their creators with emotion, happy to have found new examples of what I call “the leftover pieces of this puzzle-system”. To find such extraordinary and authentic people even in the most remote places, gives a new meaning to any vital journey. Without a doubt this type of encounter feeds my hope. They reaffirm the viability of a position of ambush and resistance towards a possible change of system and new paradigm.

Reifah. The wild scientist. Scenes from another living, breathing reality.

I don’t know why even when I decided to take this last unplanned vacation. The only plan I follow is the one that is based on chance (or intuition). I turn my little globe, after a few turns I let the index finger choose without looking at the destination. Some of my co-workers say that my life follows an absurd game, afraid that I have gone crazy. I like to think that I enjoy a neo-dadian lifestyle in search of the authentic and surprising.

The country that my finger was pointing to was unpronounceable, but without hesitation I resolved to find a way to get there: two desperate planes, two bruised trains and four run-down buses.

Just before I got the tickets, I got a sudden call from my friend Rei fah.

-Blinky!! I’ve got something on my hands you’re going to love! -I found a way to paint with the light of the fireflies! I know you’re far from my abode, but you’ll have to come and see this sometime!

Rei fah was one of my most particular friends. He had been working towards total autonomy for years. He was one of the happiest and most independent guys I had ever met. His restless ass had taken him halfway around the world. But what really surprised me was seeing him survive inside a La Mancha rock for about 8 years. After this feat, he seemed to find his place in one of the most propitious places in the world for permaculture: the leafy and inaccessible island of El Hierro. Here my friend enjoyed life in a more direct way, if possible, while he continued to study quantum physics and paint those strange things.

-Well, look, Reifah, you know what? -I’m going to see you, but then I’ll be on my way. I’ll spend a few days with you at the end oaf the world so that you can introduce me to your fireflies,” I replied in an outburst of “generosity” to give the hermit some joy.

I came to your island. Nature presented itself to my senses in an overwhelming way. I thought it was like Darwin under the description of Patrick Harpur, in his “The Secret Fire of the Philosophers”. That strong manifestation of mother earth almost made me vomit for a moment, as a reaction of the toxic urbanite I had been carrying for years.

Reifah hugged me with the strength of a wild man, he was a little thinner but strong; with tanned skin and a smell of wet earth. He soon got into my whitish complexion, – I’m sure you only get cathode light, right? you look like a dried up plant, my friend! You’ll see how good this feels, you’ll breathe and eat as in your life, what comes out of the garden raises a dead man!

After showing me his utopia on that wonderful island, I finally discovered the place where he painted. I’ll confess that my eyes were about to lose all their register… I even thought that a Sthendelian syndrome was coming from the front, but after avoiding it I don’t know how, for the first time I knew how to appreciate the work that Reifah was doing with tenacity for so many years in the shadow of the full sun.

It was not only the maturity of his style that surprised me (no doubt something already consolidated by years of experience), but because his works seemed to come from another dimension, they seemed to be X-rays projected by a non-human psyche. They expanded beyond the frame that contained them. Were they perhaps visions of alien landscapes? Or were they windows that showed an otherness where each skin contained an incomprehensible molecular meaning? The small format tables were the most important, in which a rhythm masterfully combined effort and fluidity forming surprising and mysterious images. It seemed that all their defects became a virtue. His great capacity for continuous investigation and the expansion of knowledge bore fruit in that work full of enigmatic joy. Nobody could paint in this way, his seal was already unmistakable, a sensitivity and an ultra-sensorial vision were united in those oil paintings in a very authentic and surprising way.

Arthur Prins. The dream painter. Visualizations of a higher dimension

After spending a few joyful and lively days with Reifah, I took the next flight to my other unpronounceable destination. After a few hours above the clouds, on one of my walks I surprised one of the flight attendants by reading a very worn book called “A Treatise on Cosmic Fire”. When he saw my amazed face he asked me, “Do you know this book?

-Em… -I didn’t really answer.

-Are you interested in metaphysics? –. He asked me again.

– Well, the truth is that I don’t know much about the subject, I’m usually interested in things that break the rules and at the same time risk to elucidate possible clues of this existential game – I answered recklessly, too transcendental for the sleeping hours.

– I have read this book about 15 times already, and in each of them I learn something new. I use it as inspiration for my work, I work from interior visualizations, I select those that I think connect with states of a higher vibration.

– No less! And what kind of work do you do?

– Well, although I’m also interested in the world of cinema, the work I’m talking about belongs to the world of painting. The flight crew is for me to make a living at high altitude – he replied laughing – and at the same time it is a job that leaves me time to paint, which is what truly feeds my soul.

-Interesting, and where can I see your work? –

He looked in one of his pockets and gave me a nice card that showed his website: We briefly followed the conversation and I returned to my seat until the landing.

It didn’t take me long to meet this restless character halfway. Arthur burst out of an impersonal hotel room in Lorenca. He was so immersed in his telephone conversation that he seemed to have forgotten that he was in his underwear in the middle of the corridor. He was wearing a dirty rag and his hands were stained with paint. When he hung up we greeted each other warmly and he invited me to see what was painted in his room. I was amazed to see the temporary studio that had been set up. Apparently this was his way of combining the two works. He had only three days to finish the three paintings in progress before he got on the plane back. Not only did he need a lot of cobalt drying to speed up the drying and finishing of these paintings, but he also needed a very high level of creative and problem-solving skills. He took advantage of any free time to be able to capture that personal and intuitive universe that could be seen in those small canvases. At first I was confused by the very different style that existed between those three paintings. In the following conversations I had with Arturo, he himself warned me that his style was “not having style”, he sought to surprise himself in each work; he worked with a conscious eclecticism even to the detriment of its commercialization. I assumed, therefore, the difficulties that such a free creative spirit could encounter with a guild like the gallery owners, who usually look for artists with a much clearer identity for their commercialization. For me, this “defect” of Arturo’s was undoubtedly one of his greatest virtues.

When I dove from my room into his website, I spent long hours enjoying his immense universe. I was pleasantly surprised by the richness and delicacy of the symbols he used, always with a joyful, luminescent and curious freedom, full of a vivifying, solar and liberating spirit.

Juan Luis Cerrajero. Drawings of the subconscious

On my next plane I sat next to a big guy who looked like an actor out of an old movie. He seemed nice, but he looked like he didn’t like airplanes very much, like me. He was a bit restless, trying to concentrate uselessly on a book he had in his hands as if it were an anti-stress object, halfway between a squeezy little heart and a rosary.

At the moment of take-off he got so nervous that I thought that book was going to disintegrate in his big hands. I tried to get him out of his fear by sharing mine: “How is it possible that some of us earthlings are so afraid of flying that we have our heads in the clouds all day? Don’t you think so, by the way, what book is that you are holding hostage? I took the risk of telling him.

-Hahaha, since this is Fernando Castro’s last book, entitled “Shit and Catastrophe”, I like reading books about art and aesthetics. Are you afraid of flying too? -he asked me trying to hide his nerves.

– Well, the truth is that I don’t like a pepper to get on one of these bugs, why should I cheat you; but if I let myself eat out of fear, I’m lost! – I answered with a smile. For a minute I imagined the hilarious scene in which this nice guy was losing control. I laughed as I imagined someone of his stature in some way “ACTION”; he would surely blow up anyone who tried to sit him down.

After the take-off trance, the plane turned off the lights to go into the night as we crossed the ocean.

I tried to sleep. A few hours passed, and I noticed that my partner had taken out a sketchbook. He was drawing in his sleep. But what came out of his pen looked very interesting. He left the notebook within my reach, and I couldn’t control my urge to gossip about it. When I opened it I felt an abysmal vertigo, a free fall that took me into the universe of those lines.

They looked like drawings of a madman, but they were obviously made by someone who was not mad at first sight. -Now I understand these outbreaks of anxiety of yours,” I said to myself, “but behind them there is often a desperate need for control. I understood that by means of these drawings their author could be balancing a hypersensitivity that in this society is almost always problematic. His drawings were brutal and delicate at the same time. They seemed to be made in a state of sleep. But they all revealed a higher degree of compositional ability. There was no threadless stitching in that dimension in which he worked. He seemed to be drawing under an automatism composed of a number of keys which activated meanings and echoes from and to the subconscious. His lines gave away states of the soul, his strokes seemed to be conscious of being the veins of a symbolic structure outside of value judgments.

When he woke up, I was moved by his gaze, so transparent and human.

I knew that beyond my admiration for his work, I was looking at a guy who could be a good friend.

Jorge Vicen. The shaman. Painting as a cathartic and purifying act.

Get out of here and don’t come back,” shouted a young man in Spanish, throwing a man in a tuxedo out of his house in the middle of a street outside Vancouver. Then I had to dodge a briefcase which shot out of his door.

– Excuse me! Did I hit you? He asked me worried and again in Spanish.

-No, no, it’s all right, don’t worry,” I replied as I stood up again. – Excuse my indiscretion, any bloodsuckers?

-Exactly how did you guess? -It was a vulture in a suit who pretends to make fun of people. By the way, you’re Spanish! What a coincidence! What brings you here?

-Well, the truth is that nothing concrete, I’m just passing through, I’m going to a random destination that I’ve set myself without any cause beyond the own experience that the trip brings me.

-Well, I’m delighted, my name is Jorge, I invite you to have a hot coffee at my house, it’s too cold today and you look like you’re freezing.

I accepted that hot coffee after introducing myself, as my feet had become a sort of frozen wooden blocks and my body had not yet become accustomed to the climate of the place. Besides, this guy looked like he had a surprise for me.

His house looked warm but a bit messy, some walls were painted in bright colors, there were details and some handmade wooden toys. A couple of walls were tiled with a tidy mosaic of small pictures of the same format. Again my vision was fascinated by what they contained. I received another kind of punch that unbalanced my perceptive structure. A flood of pictorial energy fell over my eyes, but what kind of magnet did I put on this trip, I wondered, a little annoyed.

– And… where are you from, Jorge? Do you paint this? – I asked.

-I’m from Huesca, but I’m here almost by chance. And yes, this is what I’ve always done, now to warm up in such a cold city.

-Well, I think they’re wonderful.

-I don’t know, don’t pay attention to me. I don’t sell much and my girlfriend gets tired of seeing me accumulate so much artwork. The truth is that I’m not very good at following the sales game and things like that.

-Well, that happens a lot, you should see the work I’ve discovered on this very trip. To me these paintings look like a kind of delicious painting cakes, hard to resist them, if I can buy you one! Surely you haven’t found the right gallery owner yet.

Jorge used painting in a generous, fresh and wild way. In some of his works one could also distinguish a layer of darker meaning, even a point of hardness and tearing. Some portrayed imaginary monsters, very colorful and expressive. They were perhaps the crystallization of a traumatic feeling. Others might be launching a desperate cry for greater meaning. Many of them retained small universes and multi-colored constellations. As possible happy allegories to the creation of the cosmos. They turned like enthusiastic glances in search of a divine correspondence.

-Pinto to find an inner peace, -he stated emphatically. The terrible truth of this sentence pierced my spinal cord. At that moment those paintings lit a more intense light; very different.

Miguel Ángel González Granado. Pictorial fragments of a proliferating infinite.

I finally arrived at my destination, it seemed a nice town, although desolate at that time. I left my suitcase at the hostel and set out to find a cafe open.

I found one that at the time was turning its lights on. A very nice waiter served me a hot coffee. I couldn’t help but strike up a conversation with him, even though I knew that at that hour sleep was greater than the desire to make friends. But I was so enthusiastic about my collection of encounters that I didn’t want to stop sharing that life-giving feeling.

When I told him about those painters, the bartender told me about an introverted Spanish painter who used to hang around that bar to check his mail and have a cup of coffee. He told me that he had been there for years, looking for a place to start from scratch and dedicate himself fully to painting. As far as he knew, he hadn’t exhibited for years. He had the studio right across the street. And very few people came in to see what he was painting. I decided to wait even a couple of hours until the Spanish painter arrived. I introduced myself, and although at first he was a little suspicious, little by little he became very friendly and welcoming. I felt privileged when he invited me to see his studio; he seemed to reserve that invitation for lovers of painting. When he turned on the light in his studio, I was once again about to put my hands to my head or to my eyes! To protect myself from the strong flood of vibrant colors and new shapes that appeared out of nowhere. Bloody Sthendelian syndrome that seemed to be carried by my travel companion. Once again, a magnificent waterfall of life was translated through painting. A particular creative universe seemed to channel fragments of a parallel reality full of unknown forms, nuances, rhythms and textures. It was a hymn to painting with capital letters. The craft that those tables transpired transmitted a knowledge and a deep love for the most unique nooks and crannies of art history. In his silence, Michelangelo seemed to give rise to everything that his painting knew how to convey. But our conversation was also rich in quotes and allusions to the history of art, no doubt he was a scholar of the subject. Meanwhile, those fascinating paintings seemed to accompany us with symphonies never before heard, and somehow balanced the vibration of the same shared spirit.
Blinky R. Rodríguez