Images From An Outpost At the Edge of The Galaxy
Part One: Where Does Creativity Come From?
"The Universe as we know it is a joint product of the observer and the observed"
The Phenomenon of Man, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
We are stardust
/Billion-year old carbon/
We are golden../
Caught in the devil's bargain/
And we've got to get ourselves back to the garden
Joni Mitchell, from the song "Woodstock" 1970
When I was a child in Shanghai, China, I would take long walks through town, over the flowing hills, and under deep skies to visit with an astronomer. He would let me look through his telescope and gaze into the farthest reaches of the galaxy. I felt empowered by thinking something much, much bigger was looking back, sending fantastic images to me. It amazes me to realize this now, but I was living in the most remarkable city in the world. Flanked in every direction by many cultures, nature and spiritual symbols, my senses were absorbing and collecting a vast visual mixture of rich food for my mind. Given the freedom to allow my creative imagination to wander, I would later use this reservoir of experience to bring to life the images, beliefs, and my personal narrative. I would share this to the world.
Where is the source of the creative well? An unfiltered answer:
Pablo Picasso once said, "All children are born creative," and it was his life's pursuit to engage and enlighten people with his gift. This concept can be summed up best by a story I overheard just the other day: A grade-school girl was sitting by herself in art class, catching the watchful eye of her teacher. The instructor asked the young grade-school girl what she was drawing -- the pupil paused and said, "I am drawing a picture of God." The teacher stood awhile, thinking. Looking over to take a peek the teacher said, "but nobody knows what God looks like!" The young girl continued to draw and casually responded, "They will in a minute!"
When you really stop to think about it, we are made of stardust -- reassembled in flesh, blood, mind, and spirit on the earth. We enter into the world through love, the greatest emotion in the entire universe, every one of us a unique soul. Do you remember having at one time or another looking up to the night sky and pondering it all? When there are no streetlights to mute the heavens a person can feel a celestial connections.
Our planet gives us abundance of life and all creation. The love of another gives us a soul partner for inspiration. We have been given the privilege to have these experiences in time to discover our creative life.
It is our passion for the creative connection which raises the level of human consciousness; French writers at the turn of the 20th century used the term, "vital force" that can be understood as humanity's natural creative impulse.
Being immersed in the promise of the 1960's inspired some of my first works of art; a culture of optimism and creativity was in full bloom spreading love, peace, and happiness to every corner of the globe. The art reflected the times. The artist is the first to interpret this idea as he looks forward.
Long before Facebook and the world wide web, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, a French philosopher and Jesuit priest, had a profound concept: around the earth there is a Noosphere, a "sphere of human thought," which connects all humankind."
A good friend of mine, who has been to my art studio on many occasions, brings some of the science down to simple human terms:
"The Universe is in us. When I reflect on that fact, I look up -- many people feel small because they are small and the universe is big -- but I feel big, because my atoms came from those stars. There is a level of connectivity."
"That's really what you want in life. You want to feel connected, you want to feel relevant, and you want to feel like you are a participant in the goings on of activities and events around you. That's precisely what we are, just by being alive." Neil Degrasse Tyson
"In the sciences, the authority of thousands of opinions is not worth as much as one tiny spark of reason in an individual man." Galileo Galilei
The journey to find creativity as artist begins at birth -the rest is a cosmic road trip. Our imagination is on loan from the universe, I choose to travel and seek great new places to grow my inspirations. Creativity works at the speed of life!
Somewhere there is another telescope looking from the edge of the galaxy....
All art Copyright (c) Peter Max 1967, 1970, 1972