About the Artist
Born in the Pacific Northwest, Robyn Sean Peterson currently resides in the artist town of Manitou Springs, CO. He holds a B.A. in Comparative Religion from Antioch University in Seattle, and a M.A. in Psychology from the California Institute for Integral Studies. He also studied at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco.
About My Process
Mystery and synchronicity have been the hallmarks of my artistic journey. It began on a particularly fortuitous afternoon while waiting for the light to change at a street corner in San Francisco’s Chinatown. Glancing down, I noticed a scrap of a magazine page with a human eye on it. An intuitive voice told me to put it in my pocket and take it home.
Over the last two decades, I have collected thousands of pieces of source material such as magazine and catalog clippings, fabric and gift wrap samples, and found objects, which have transformed into intricate collage images that explore states of spiritual and psychological awareness.
My creative process is entirely intuitive. I don’t start with a preconceived idea or concept in mind. I don’t use a computer or do any preliminary sketches. Instead, I simply allow myself to be guided by a type of intelligent energy and follow the direction I am receiving without judgment. It is like assembling a jigsaw puzzle that has no picture on the box for reference, and until the final piece finds its proper resting place and the image is complete, I experience a state of physical and spiritual restlessness. Metaphorically, I would describe it as being similar to what an oyster feels when a grain of sand is embedded in its tissue and the tears of its fluid secretion begin to form a pearl.
I begin by painstakingly cutting up paper images into smaller fragments with an X-ACTO knife. Next, these small bits of images are photocopied onto heavier paper, cut out again, and then laid out on my work table. Then I begin moving them around in various configurations until the pieces begin to form an image. This image is then modified and refined repeatedly until all of the parts are in their proper place, the whole image reveals itself, and I can finally glue the pieces onto a stretched canvas or a wooden panel. By using only my hands, combined with intuitive guidance, I remain connected to the source of the images themselves. This involves a level of awareness that is both focused and highly receptive.
When the alchemy of creative transformation finally reaches its zenith, a new manifestation of great beauty becomes a part of the world. All of the seemingly unrelated elements of source material have been fully integrated into a powerful and dynamic image that is both pan-cultural and timeless. There is a type of poetic openness that allows the viewer to interpret what they see on their own terms. In that sense, the images function not only as a portal or window into another world, but also as a mirror.
We currently live in a world that seems more and more broken with each new day, a world where any sense of true mystery or sacredness has nearly been obliterated by our cynicism and our obsession with new technology. The constant overload of information data and meaningless imagery has left many of us spiritually empty and psychologically fractured. The golden thread of connection to our planet, our common humanity and inherent divinity has been frayed to the breaking point.
Throughout history, artists have consciously or unconsciously performed the shamanic role of working on behalf of their communities to reinstate meaning and balance. Among the primary tools they have employed to facilitate this healing act has been the creation of images that re-enchant the world and expand the definition of reality beyond consensual restrictions.
These sacred images employ a symbolic language that points to parallel dimensions of existence in a non-linear reality that are the domain of archetypal energy patterns and the fertile substrate in which mythological truths are rooted. These universal images can help to remind us of different aspects, both shadow and light, that are contained within a greater sense of identity, superseding all apparent differences of race, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, economic status or species.
Within each new generation of artists there are those individuals whose work emerges from the Collective Unconscious as a new expression of this psychological and spiritual language. To us as modern humans, this language can feel paradoxically both familiar and alien, but it creates a necessary dialogue with our individual and collective souls. If we are willing listen to these images when they speak, we can learn great deal about the deepest parts of ourselves and our relationship to the Cosmos.
My own artwork is a continuation of this lineage. It is an expression of revelation rather than outer observation, a form of Mystical Realism, if you will. My own definition of this term is a welding together of two seemingly opposing concepts. One part refers to that which is a mystery and can never be fully known. The other refers to a precisely detailed representation of a symbolic vocabulary. Together they represent both the intuitive state of consciousness I am in during the creative process and the final images that emerge from it.