Diagrams to Our Dimension
Josh Slater is a visual artist, working primarily with collage. He made the video, "HEAVY RAYS" as result of his fascination with pyramids and is working to create an "Electric Stonehenge". Josh's collages have also been featured in the most recent issue of Dossier.
The following is an interview by RS contributing editor Allison Thompson with Josh Slater:
1. Do you believe that ancient civilizations had access to sacred knowledge?
think some civilizations had a different understanding of the mind,
which allowed them to maybe dig a little deeper into it and understand
one's self. Maybe not better but fuller.
2. Your collages look like puzzles of the ancient mysteries. Is your intended that they function as a magical tool?
They are a tool, but a tool in the sense of a map or a diagram; images that could be found by someone in another space and time and be seen as a blueprint, and then hopefully used as such. I’m trying to create my own world, then putting the layout in a bottle and hoping someone finds it and reacts to it.
3. What inspired you to focus on the pyramid?
They seemed to be everywhere I looked, and in everything I was inspired by, from Mayan and Egyptian pyramids to Native American tepees to ones hidden in Tibetan Mandalas. Also, because of its shape, it almost forces the viewer to start at its bottom and follow it all the way to the top point. I’m then really able in some ways to dictate how the viewer sees my image and hopefully this helps me get my own personal meaning across more.
4. We live in a time of deepening crisis, with rapid climate change, species extinction, and depletion of resources threatening our future. In the newspaper series, what kind of comment are you attempting to make about our absorption of media?
That project was a way for me to create a bunch of pieces and ideas and put them all together, so one could enjoy them each separately or see the overall string connecting each work of art. I also love holding a piece of art in my hands, being able to spin it around and look at it at different angles. In another sense it’s mass produced art. So hopefully more people can see it and enjoy it.
5. Do you visualize your scenes before creation or are they made before you as a result of your process?
Sometimes an image will suddenly flash in my brain and behind my eyelids, and then it becomes a process to try and decode or translate what I saw and to put it on paper. Other times I have an idea or feeling I want to convey ahead of time and then it’s just a matter of sketching it out until it feels right. One thing I never do is make a perfect miniature and then reproduce it larger. I still like to have an element of unknown when I start the piece. To keep some wiggle room in case sometimes strikes me while I’m working on it.
6. Do you consider your art making a kind of meditation practice?
Well I definitely fall into a meditative state once I really get going on the piece. That’s how I know if it’s really working and coalescing, if I’m struggling with the work it gets harder for me to lose myself in it. So it becomes almost a signal, if in some ways I’m no longer fully aware of what I’m doing, but totally focused on it I’m in a good place. If I hear a car honking or I’m thinking about the weather I know I’m not there. And in my limited knowledge, that’s how I kind of feel about meditation.