In the beginning was the word.
And some mess.
Dialogue: The word dialogue is made from the Greek words dia, meaning across or between and legein, meaning to speak. In the dialogue way, we can see words flowing and meaning emerging across and between our ever-changing perceptions of ourselves and our changing environments….
I make visual artworks in the spaces between the hidden and manifest, as a seeker of ever-new shapes and letterforms, in timeless nether-worlds of symbols and words of undiscovered meaning. I am also the founder of Dialogica, a dialogue facilitation and coaching organisation. I have been facilitating Dialogues in different settings since 2010. See my spiritual bio.
I began my writing and graphical art journey as a young child, in love with and capable of good handwriting, which adults noticed. I was drawn to the eye-catching designs of rock band logos, copying them and soon embroidering on the back of my denim jackets and then other local boys’ for payment. While fully engaged with Islamic mysticism I learned to read Arabic. Short courses in Art & Design, Manuscript Calligraphy, Gilding, Environmental Graphics and Signwork supported a small business teaching and producing Islamic art and making shop signage. I produced (and held workshops in) artisan Islamic plaques on exotic wood and vellum for living spaces and had a couple of exhibitions. Large scale work on mosque walls followed, at the same time as making and installing shop fascias around Sheffield using a vinyl cutter or brushwork. I embarked on several retreats and pilgrimages abroad, receiving lots of inspiration from Eastern art. Nowadays I engage in Advaita / non-duality work and practices.
Whether squirrel-hair brushes for heraldry, gold-leaf gilding on vellum or black calligraphy ink on handmade parchment, the traditions of sophisticated mark-making and graphical artistry hold a deep magic and immediacy, and besides immense tactile appeal, can be made to embody great meaning and message.
In 2009 on the Contemporary Fine Art BA, I needed to spend the whole first year trying to unite my inner world with oils and a single 1.2m square canvas. I then had the opportunity to experiment with ‘live art’, presence and intersubjectivity, which led to being introduced to Bohm Dialogue. My final work was simply the documenting of me engaging directly with people in the town centre, in various ways and at the same time I was putting on experimental music gigs, sometimes live painting on stage.
Dialogue is creativity, of intersubjective communication, using thought and the spoken word as the tools. I’d had some training in storytelling, counselling and mediation but dialogue is different in that it taps directly into the mechanisms of sense-making and conveyance and even beyond that, a form of cosmic collective communication. Bohm’s quantum science and my mystical learning experiences were coming together in 2008. During one session of about eight students and lecturers, I had the experience of witnessing what I can only describe as a large ‘bubble of intuitive energy’ hovering over our circle, enveloping us all at the same time, accompanied by a feeling of total congruence and love. After this major turning point I was to incorporate Dialogue into creative self-discovery workshops for refugees and home-schooled children, working with the concept of gallery as learning space, funded by the European government.
After a further burst of colour, in 2017 I settled into black paint and inks in a return to the foundations of writing and communication. Intrigued by a diagnosis of Asperger’s, I began working with Dialogue in the autism community and formed Dialogica. Many fundamental aspects of the self have dropped into place during this recent period and moreover, my visual art and dialogue practices are merging to produce an expanding new body of work, some of which you see on this website. My life-work is all about creating art, sense-making for others in dialogue and coaching, and opening up deep inner space for all of this by meditating with the combined traditions of Sufism, Taoism and Advaita.
In August 2020 after an intense period of co-running two parallel dialogues a week for 13 weeks, I came up with a concept for a meditation practice, as a continued exploring of the metaphysics of dialogic expression:
Take a look at my current work for sale.