Visions of magic Picture

I finished this in January. The text itself was written much earlier, like, in August 2011. It took me forever to arrange it in a way that I liked.

I used these brushes (by me) : Decorative line brush set

As you may or may not have guessed, this piece is very personal. Therefore, its impact will mean a lot to me. I would really, REALLY like if you shared your thoughts and/or feelings about it. (Don't hesitate to be honest ! Constructive criticism will help me improve as an artist <3).

EDIT 12/09/12: Critique enabled! Since this is conceptual art, I'd like to know what this piece makes you think and/or feel, but feel free to provide technical criticism and advice as well. ^_^

EDIT 08/21/12: I came to think that this piece belongs in Visual Poetry rather than in Typography, so I moved it. I am going to rewrite the artist's comments soon in order to make the whole thing easier to understand/relate to.

EDIT 08/25/12: Here goes!

Several months have passed since I submitted this piece. I now realize that it isn't as self-explanatory as I thought it would be. As a consequence, I would like to provide explanations as to what this work means to me. That includes, but is not limited to, what I remember having in mind when I wrote it. This is for viewers who want to know more about this work. (I am well aware that some other viewers may not care about my "word of God" - since, after all, it's not part of the work itself - and it's okay. I may be stating the obvious here, but you have the right to have your very own interpretation of my art even if it contradicts mine.)

This work is about "magic". What "magic" means in this context is intentionally left unclear because it is unclear for the speaker themselves. However, it isn't completely undefined either. In this work, "magic" would be the abstract idea of a supernatural power. All the rest - who is wielding this power, if anyone, where it originates, what it does, etc. - is unknown, because the speaker considers this to be unimportant. I am aware that this definition of magic contradicts the ones that say that "magic" occurs only when there's a conscious being doing it, and that it isn't magic when it's just energy somehow being there. What matters for the speaker is that they deeply believe that "magic" somehow exists and they crave to experience this power (what exactly that would mean is unknown as well, because "magic" is idealized - as the saying goes, "to define is to limit". The first thing that comes to my mind, though, is empowerment - which would probably mean learning how to wield that power).

This used to be my personal favourite definition of magic, but since then, I have come across other equally interesting definitions, so I have more than one favourite now. To some extent, the persona which I have so far referred to as "the speaker" is me - or, to be more precise, my past self. I used to hold some kind of very abstract yet deeply-rooted belief in some kind of magic too, and it greatly influenced my art. It was a spiritual belief, albeit a strange one. Let me talk a bit about the history of this work : when I finished it, this concept of magic had already began to fuse with a just-as-abstract idea of a God in my mind, becoming a different belief. In other words, I was making art about something that was already part of my past - all the more as the imagery I used was partly borrowed from short stories I wrote years before.

This work is titled "Visions of magic" - visions in the plural. The reason why I decided on using the plural in the first place is to match the text's varied imagery and the fact that they follow one another with no apparent order or logical connection. To put it more bluntly, I wanted this work to look messy, so that everything in it could reflect the strong and confused feelings and emotions of the speaker. I wanted the different fonts and typography effects to suggest several voices talking fast and all at the same time, and to me, this also points to the speaker's confusion, which doesn't have to be a negative feeling at all. (And maybe, just maybe, those voices that talk so fast, you don't have the time to listen to what they're saying, you don't even know if what they are saying is consistent, but you still get the feeling that there's something important going on. I sometimes get that when entering hypnagogia [link] consciously - it's normal, don't worry, I'm not insane or anything - and, well, apparently it influences my art as well ^^").

I later realized that this use if the plural could mean another thing - the fact that the definition of magic is evolving throughout the text. Please be aware that this wasn't part of my intentions when writing the text: it's just what I think about it with hindsight. For most of the text, "magic" is treated like something that happens to you and is to be waited for, as I explained above, but the final line (which wasn't part of the first draft of the text, I added it much later on an impulse) could suggest exactly the opposite - that you are the only one who can bring magic into your life / your vision of the world. To be very honest, when I came up with this line, I didn't have such a precise idea of what it could mean. It was only recently that I was able to put it into words.

I can also see a hint at this evolution (which probably feels more like a sudden break than like evolution) of the definition of magic in the mention of "the labyrinth". It was definitely not intended as a direct reference to the Labyrinth in Greek mythology - this one is not physical, it is symbolic. Like most concepts in my personal mythology, it is barely defined and its meaning changes according to my mood. In this context, it represents the path to finding magic, and this, in turn, can mean two different things. The first, probably more "superficial" level I can see, is that the subject has to go through a metaphorical maze that has been drawn for them, understanding pre-existing concepts, like going through some kind of initiation. The second level, which is now the most important in my opinion, is based on the idea that the "labyrinth" is the inner path to finding one's own magic - in other words, magic doesn't come from the outside, but from within yourself. The difference it makes to me is that your very own magic isn't something that you find as is, and the "labyrinth" is not a riddle set by an outside authority, it's you, just you, or rather, you are the blank canvas and your task is not to reproduce one's pre-existing path of thought, but to come up with your own - to draw a labyrinth for yourself - that is to say, to decide on your own definition for magic.
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