Up & Coming Authors | Avant Garde Poets | Contemporary Authors
I am an artist~writer currently living in Las Vegas, Nevada. My hometown will always be Chicago. I’ve lived quite a few places on the globe. My work is very much a reflection of the state of mind I adopt while living in a particular place. When I’m finished composing a piece, I also abandon the person I became while I was working on it. There are many of me out there. We never meet.
People ask writers where they gather the materials used to create a story. The fragments I assemble into narratives and poems are pieces of my many pasts, richly lived and sometimes accurately remembered. I also salvage materials from the stories I hear around me, from the lives and philosophies of the characters I meet roving the streets, smoking cigars in high-rises, musing at universities, and stirring soup in caves. I am deeply inspired by nature, God, love, and my imagination.
I am interested in both visually and conceptually piecing together small moments to create an atmosphere. Themes of home, memory, the loss of a mother, movement and exile run throughout my work—as do feelings inspired through communion with lovers, crude survival experiences, ‘waking-up’, and the beautiful and sad limitations of being a human being.
If there was a need to name the school of alternative artists I see emerging in the West, I would call us, as humbly as possible, Transformationists. We are reflections of the dissolving time around us, and our insatiable desire for progression & truth—along with our soulful natures & perverse optimism in the face of all complex calamities—is what sets us apart.
With any luck, a well-written book by a Transformationist calls the real condition of a reader’s perception into question. The function of such art is not mere representation, but rather transfiguration of the reader—and consequently, the world.
Henry Corbin illustrates:
All the elements in a work of Symbolic Art are represented in their real dimension “in the present”, in each case perpendicularly to the axis of the viewer’s vision. The viewer is not meant to immobilize himself at a particular point, enjoying the privilege of “presentness” and to raise his eyes from this fixed point; he must raise himself toward each of the elements represented. Contemplation of the image becomes a mental itinerary, an inner accomplishment; the image fulfills the function of a mandala. Because each of the elements is presented not in its proper dimension, but being that same dimension, to contemplate them is to enter into a multidimensional world…
Though in my wildest dreams do I not intend to present my work as an example of such accomplishment, I do wish to cling to the fantasy that my books might teeter alongside such gorgeous capacity.
In my work you may find a young curiosity integrated with the intellectual and emotional life of an adult; while I crave the clarity earned from a well-examined life, I refuse to be corralled by the rational mind. I sometimes place more importance on the energy from which each piece was created rather than the form it eventually takes. This follows my belief that form is the debris of energy, the poem is the debris of poetry, only through the loss of form are we led to the true spirit of things. In the same breath, I view the novel as a social contract and realize the need for a recognizable narrative in story-telling. I’ve done my best to strike a balance between these beliefs, and this challenge unveils my life’s great paradox: forever aware of the nobility & necessity of words to adorn an ineffable ‘knowing’, I continually re-discover reason and language are mere parodies of Being.
While there are artists whose vocation it is to represent the cultural mindset of their time—feeding tradition and encouraging the existing collective consciousness—one of the duties of a Transformationalist is to compensate for the lack in the current consciousness. In this way, the needs of the time work through a Transformationalist. As Erich Neumann states in Art and Time, “the [Transformationalist] is closer than any other artist to the seer, the prophet, the mystic.”
Inspired power seizes an artist of this sort, “taking possession of him without the least consideration for the individual, his life, his happiness, or his health…[because] when a creative impulse springs from a larger source, it serves the will of the species rather than the individual.” It is precisely when an artist does not represent the existing canon (but instead transforms and overturns it) that her function rises from the level of the mundane to the level of the sacral, for it is then that she gives utterance to the authentic and direct revelation of something beyond herself.
There is also the implication that an artist who is driven to compensate for the cultural canon has already been captured by it–and survived it–to transcended it within herself, because only by suffering under the poverty of her culture can a Transformationist arrive at the “freshly opening source destined to quench the thirst” of her time. And though not often evident, a Transformationist is deeply bound to her group and its culture—“more deeply than the common men and women living in the security of the cultural shell.”
Because of the predominance of the inner, transpersonal, nominous characteristics of a Transformationist’s way of being, these artists rarely live known to one another. And though there is a common force that drives each of them in the same direction, they rarely meet.
The ultimate source of the creative drive is bigger than nature itself; it moves through nature and through individuals with such intensity that they abandon their birthrights and leave their homelands to seek whatever adventures to which the Godhead leads.
This path demands a journey filled with continual growth, repeatedly straining the individual’s capacity. Perhaps this is why the careers of today’s great Transformationalist artists are often Calvaries. The task of integration facing the artist today can no longer be performed in a single work. A Transformationalist’s compositions are more like a collection of starry pixels—and it is only by stepping back from an individual star that one is able to perceive the entire constellation.
Thank you for reading.
 The World Turned Inside Out, Henry Corbin and Islamic Mysticism, by Tom Cheetham
 Art and Time, by Erich Neumann. Taken from Man and Time; Papers from the Eranos Yearbooks, Edited by Joseph Campbell
at the hookah lounge
just before viewing the Apocalypse Tapestry –Angers, France
straight from the salon
and a conversation had at the edge of the Sahara, as a flirtatious nomad attempts to lure me into the dunes… (it’s black as a desert night, so don’t expect much imagery)