Happy Winter Solstice 2014

I would like to wish you all a very 
Merry *Yuletide!
I hope the season will find you full of Joy, humour, forgiveness and most importantly gratitude, if only for the simple chance to experience this amazing thing called life. Life on Earth in all it’s forms is so often taken for granted, yet it is both fragile, short and universally speaking rare.

The image below was created by me in 2007 from photos of a celtic cross, holly and conkers among other things. It was quite simply created to mark this very special time in the pagan calendar which is often called Winter Solstice* or Yule*.

Winter Solstice

Winter Solstice

*Winter Solstice is when the world has reached its darkest time in Europe.
*Yule celebrates the rebirth of the sun god and the coming of the New Year. Yuletide is generally thought to last about twelve days after the actual solstice (which falls around December 21)

Tentacle Tuesday

So it’s Tentacle Tuesday again and here is my latest image to calibrate the fact. Please feel free to use it on your social pages if you like,  just keep my domain name on the image thanks :)

It's Tentacle Tuesday Hip hip hooray

It’s Tentacle Tuesday Hip hip hooray

My favourite Oak Tree in Essex

This is my favourite Oak Tree in Essex England UK , how many things can you discover in it’s bark? Always a talking point at the shows I attended, can you see the angel and the little girl in the bonnet ?

Yawning or Screaming you decide

Yawning or Screaming you decide

I have always call the image Nature’s Scream as it reminds me of the expression in the work by Edvard Munch. That said most people think the tree is yawning :) . This tree is real and was still hanging on to life when I saw it again a few years ago. It lived or did live in the Marks Hall Gardens and Arboretum which is well worth a Sunday walk if your in the mood.

Question Everything

Yes I have another  of my images from my Visionary Collection today, as always I ask you to view it with your own eyes. That said, you just know I’m going to give you my own humble view on it, so here goes, re-posted from my Visionary site 2008.

Let’s start with the photos that made up this work. The two main images are both spiritual but from different belief systems. one is of a church steeple taken in St Ives in Cornwall, the other is of a shaped stone which lives in the garden of the chalice well in Glastonbury.

Well almost at the start of working with these two images I saw what I viewed as a figure appear and I new that he was to be the focus of the work. I had been thinking a lot about shaman over the past weeks and I thought this figure looked like he was wearing an outfit along these lines. I was finding many of the shaman ideas fascinating, this was all started by and interview I had seen with Hank Wesselman . At times I can be so taken in by other peoples stories, I forget to question weather this has anything to offer me on my own spiritual path. As my own spiritual patch work has a large section of Buddhism in it, I have always been happy to question beliefs (Buddha encouraged questions) from a position of respect and inquiry, rather than from the attack and discredit mode so many nowadays seem to embrace. I then thought that weather or not this figure was a shaman, a guru or simply a wise man, if I met him in person what would he expect from me? blind faith? I would hope not as I would indeed have many questions to ask him. While the route of persistent questioning can ultimately only ever have you chasing your own tail, life is meant to be enjoyed and what can be better than friendly banter on things of a spiritual nature. A wise man or guru who rejects the need for questions from his pupils is proclaiming he has nothing left to learn, a dangerous assumption indeed.

So I decided to use one of my favourite sayings ‘ Question Everything’ as the title to this picture in the hope that is will get people to think more on this and everything. Below is the direct writing that goes with this image. I hope it will highlight the paradox of questioning everything and how eventual even the most obstinate of us can grow to old for this game ….

‘Question everything’ said the wise man
‘ But why?’ Said the student
‘Very Good’ said the wise man ‘I see I’m no longer needed’

Does a lie told a thousand times become the truth?
What you believe to be true is.  But how do you know what you believe?
A wise man may be a simple fool, who fooled a fool more foolish.

The truth will set you free they say, but what is this truth?
Know that the truth you finally settle for could just be another old lie that you simply like the look of …
But ultimately does it really matter?

If your truth brings you peace, happiness, joy and hurts no one, then that is truth indeed.

‘Dark Daddy’ – Peter Ulrich Collaboration

Those that read my site will know that I hold Peter Ulrich in very high regard, not just as a good friend, but as a musician with integrity. He like me avoids the need to jump on every or any band wagon that rolls by in the hope of making it ‘big’.
I’m very pleased to announce that he has a new single out called ‘Dark Daddy’ which comes under the Peter Ulrich Collaboration banner. Like his last album ‘The Painted Caravan’ this single continues his link ups with musicians from all backgrounds to produce songs which all have there own unique style.

This time Peter has recorded a track with Erin Hill who is a  New York City, harpist, singer, and actress. Below is a Soundcloud version of the song this may slightly differ from the version on itunes or Amazon Music.  I purchased it myself yesterday as a Mp3 on Amazon, I really have grown to prefer the Amazon Music player over the past year for it’s ease of use and multi-platform support.  I’m not going to go into a big review of the song as you can hear it for yourself below.

2015 looks like it’s going to be a big year for peter and friends as not only will we see the release of ‘Tempus Fugitives’ which this single comes from, but also Peter will finally be playing live again, which I know he is really looking forward to. You can find out more about what peter is up to on www.citycanyons.com and his facebook page . Also you can read my Article ‘For The Love of Music – Peter Ulrich on this very site.

Peter Ulrich and Me 2007

Peter Ulrich and Me (and my Art)  2007

2NE1 gives Microsoft some street Cred.

For many in the UK the Microsoft advert for the Surface pro 3 will be the first time they will ever have heard any K-Pop music. While on the outside I may look like a crusty old fart, I have always had my finger on the pulse of contemporary music. I also like lifting the rock on what many would consider fringe music and understanding it. While for many K-pop may seem like the musical version of a visit to Baskin-Robbins, these perfectly manicured artist all have their own fan bases that would put most european and american bands to shame. 

So what is it that I like about K-pop, no it’s not just seeing sexy looking Korean girls jumping up and down lol. As someone who embraced the divinity of trance, the visual splendours of Anime and the talent, not to mention the patients to execute perfect surreal eye candy glamour, K-pop exquisitely mixes all of this by the bucket load.

Sure K-pop could be seen as just a empty money making machine that has no care for true musical talent, or the people that it no doubt uses up and spits out. That in truth is a argument that can be levelled at all Pop music since the beginning of time. Pop music is a genre it is meant to be bubblegum for the brain that you find yourself humming down the street, it’s not rock or Rnb It’S POP!. All I want from pop is a sugar rush that at best will block the harsh realities of life out for 3 minutes. By it’s nature we should avoid getting to precious about Pop, it’s designed to be throw away, but once in a while pop makes it’s way out of the bedrooms of over optimistic teens and onto the the world stage. Soon it begins to drip from every media outlet, the great and the good come to bow at the alter of fads, in the hope some of whatever they have will rub off on them. 2NE1 are on the cusp of that and it is all made possible by an alliance with one of the uncoolest companies in the world Microsoft. 

Sure I have a big place in my heart for Microsoft, I’ve been using their product since the early 90’s but at no point in all these years could they ever be classed as having Street Cred. If a single well honed advert could change a perception of a company at the same time as launch a group into the stratosphere this indeed could be it. Apple for once look completely out of touch and very old skool.

If you want to experience K-pop just Youtube it your be blown away by just how many groups there are, but don’t worry it’s all you can eat, it’s 100% fat free and totally recyclable.

Visionary Art – Oppressed

Below is a repost of a article about the work ‘Oppressed’ that started the creative whirlwind that became my visionary art collection :-

Oppression is described as the act of keeping a person or peoples down through harsh rule. Sadly for many, they do not have to look outward for their oppressors; they have been oppressed by their own negative ego thought processes from birth. This can become so serious that eventually the ego mentally binds them so that they can no longer function as they were intended.

This self oppression can start in a variety of ways, but usually as a small seed of self doubt brought on by the way you interpret the words or actions of others. A classic example of this may be being bullied at school. This may go on for a relatively short time when compared to the span of a life, but it is without doubt these events that become the soil in which the negative ego can grow. Before you know it your mind is full of doubt, anger, separateness and depression. We allow these disempowering emotions to dwell within us often unquestioned.

It has been said by ‘wise men’ that we create our own reality. This is a bitter pill to swallow indeed: to think that our ‘darkest’ moments of life are created solely by us and our own misguided mind.

I realised that I had spent nearly 35 years of my life stopping myself from being so much more.  Sure, I was bullied at school and yes for some time I was a loner. Neither of these things which ended a long time ago has warranted the mental harm I have done to myself since then. I jest not, when I say my ego should receive an Oscar for its mental screen play which it has played in my mind for years. I was convinced, utterly convinced, that this dark oppressed world in my head was the only one that existed.

At the point when I created Oppressed, I was truly lost and at a low ebb. Everything I had tried to do up to that point had failed. I was out of money, out of work and hanging by the thread that my wife’s job was holding us both by. Ok, so we weren’t homeless, but like many we were only a few pay cheques away from being so. I guess that was just one of lifes so what’s, the real problem was we both felt hopeless. 

Oppressed by Aric Voss 2006

Oppressed by Aric Voss 2006 

Oppressed seemed to be echoing my feelings of negativity and lack; just look at this poor abomination being pushed down into a pit by two cage doors. For some reason I wrote the following to describe this image: ‘Fear and Hate will so easily entrap your mind and crush your soul, it’s never too late to break free ’.

How? Thats when the penny dropped, I realised the way I viewed this image was simply one possible perception and in truth I had no clue what the picture meant anymore than i can really understand anything in life, that I label and take for granted. Just as an example I could look at the work from a positive perspective. So this time, I could chose to see a creature breaking free from a pit of despair.  A creature in its pupal stage like a holometabolous insect just before its Metamorphosis into a beautiful butterfly

This way of looking at the artwork or indeed life did not come naturally to me, but I had to conclude it was no more right or wrong than my original perceptions, for me this was the key that unlocked a whole world of possibilities. Every thought you have about everything is just a perception place there by parents, society or life experience some of them may be correct for you, but few are actually universal truths. If your life is far from what you want it to be maybe it’s time to challenge your perceptions and seek a more life enhancing view, after all what really do you have to loose ?

Autumn is the New Summer

My Favourite Season by far

My Favourite Season by far

Don’t let the beauty of Autumn pass you by, turn off your mobile and walk to your nearest wood or park (while they are still there) .
Take a little time for you and nature to get to know each other again.
Unwind and contemplate what you’ve done so far in your life and where you really want to go next.
The silence of natures grove is not to be feared for this peace is a natural state.
A simple Tree or patch of grass may appear to offer nothing but in truth this ‘Nothing’ is usually really all we ever need.
So forget the frantic fickleness of Summer, because for all hip gurus Autumn is the new Summer. :)

Seed of Enlightenment

The small seed of enlightenment is all you need to start a journey which will be as long as you desire.

Allow me to state an obvious fact. The powerful Oak in the wood only exists because a small acorn germinates in the soil. Enlightenment can only be achieved by a person first having the seed planted in them. This seed is a desire to understand more about life, the universe and everything. It can be planted in anyone at anytime and for a multitude of reasons, and can take the shape of a book, a simple mantra, a song and yes even a work of art.

While a seed of enlightenment can be planted in anyone whether it takes hold and grows to its full fruition is down to the individual.

Many people give up on the journey as they see it will limit their life style perceiving that an enlightened state can only be achieve with years of solitary meditation or prayer. This notion is of course false, personally I seen no reason why enlightenment can’t be achieved as quickly by a shop assistant in Devon as a Buddhist monk in Tibet. This statement must not be seen as a disrespectful swipe to the Buddhist religion which I hold in very high regard. I use it only to clarify that enlightenment is not limited to a style of faith or position in society. To believe this is simply once again a wrong perception.

Who gets to decide when a person is enlightened? This is a dilemma indeed. Surely no one can ever proclaim one self enlightened that would be the height of arrogance. Conventional learning paths would have to suggest that only another such person could proclaim you enlightened, so if we follow this to its end result it becomes just another form of elitist hierarchy.

I have dodged the obvious question; can anyone on earth really ever be called enlightened? It depends on your definition. If it is that you have achieved total clarity of perception, reason, and knowledge, in other words you have become an omnipotent being, then I believe that such a state in our current human form is unlikely. If your definition is being able to view all living beings equally as one without distinction as to race, economic background, and belief systems, then I would say that this is obtainable within this lifetime, but not an easy road to follow. This I feel would be the seed grown to true earthly enlightenment.

Seeds of Enlightenment

Seed of Enlightenment

Art created 2007 /writing February 2008

Happy Halloween 2014

So my favourite day of the year is almost upon us 31st October. I’m one of those people that loves Autumn, the dark evenings, golden leaves, soup, jacket potatoes and bonfires. Sure as I get older the cold makes it’s way into the old bones a little more, but nevertheless for some reason this time of the year is still very special for me . I guess when I was a kid this was always one of the few times of the year  I actually enjoyed going to school, as we got to listen to spooky tales read by the teacher, draw pictures, make masks and generally just have fun. When I was in the cub Scouts we would have a special meet on the 31st we’d play apple bobbing and other traditional games, then gorge ourselves silly on crisps and chocolate. Out would come a old scratched LP record of spooky sound effects. Our Akela would predictably try and scare us by removing his glass eye, but as we had all seen it before he usually just received a groan or a chorus of fake yawns.

While America has always celebrated Halloween with far more enthusiasm, over the past 10 years I’m pleased to see that it is becoming more and more popular in the UK. One reason I also like Halloween even as a adult is because it’s one of the few days of the year where thankfully political correctness takes a backseat. Sure their are those who want to ban it, those that simply can not grasp it’s point, but who cares about them, they get their way on far to many things.

Some years ago I used to love to watch the Most Haunted live Halloween specials on TV. They were always more pantomime silliness than actual ghost hunting, but it made me smile and thats all that mattered. This year my wife and I are going to have a bonfire and enjoy eating and drinking suitably unhealthily. Personally I’ve never been one for dressing up or parties, but that doesn’t matter. Let’s face it like most traditions Halloween is more about what you think and feel about it inside than what actually happens, which in all honesty is usually not a lot LOL.

So no matter what you end up doing this 31st I hope you have fun.

Feel free to share the silly image below but as always point people back to this site thanks -Aric

Don't let the kids have all the fun this year.

Don’t let the kids have all the fun this year.