This articles was written in October of 2013 - just one month after The Vienna Academy of Visionary Art opened its doors. Reading it ten years later, I'm struck by the amount of enthusiasm I breathe into every word.
I had just begun writing my book Sacred Codes - but the hopes and ambitions of that book are already expressed here.
The article was published that same year in Delvin Solkinson's Projections magazine - which is reproduced in image form at the end.
Transmitting the Sacred Codes of Visionary Art
L. Caruana 2013
As time, evolution and our planetary resources reach a critical turning point, increasing numbers of people are experiencing profound visions and awakenings - similar to the prophecies of old - calling for an urgent planetary awakening and transformation. These visions arise from the very foundation of our being, whether we name this ancient source Gaia, the Noosphere or the eternal living God. Anyone who has directly tapped into this overflowing fount of knowledge, light and visions knows that the all-creative Source may express itself in words, sounds, harmonies, vibrations and full-on image-journeys.
Contemporary Visionary art - which has its roots in 20th century Surrealism, Fantastic Realism and Psychedelic art - is on the cutting edge of image-exploration. Never before have the ancient practices of chanting, sacred geometry, sound healing and colour harmony seemed more relevant. For the first time in millennia, we are re-experiencing the profound, centering and healing power of these forgotten practices.
Like many Visionary artists, I have personally experienced the transformative, transpersonal and transcendent realm of vision. Here, the Divine Mind expresses itself in an endless play and dis-play of information-charged shapes and patterns - whose ultimate end, it seems, is to attune our soul to higher celestial harmonies or re-align our energy patterns to Nature’s greater matrix of healing. But this confrontation with the all-knowing Source often leaves us speechless, without adequate words, images or culturally shared memory-cues to remind us of the profound and overwhelming experience of self-healing and planetary healing (...heal yourself and you will heal the planet).
Nevertheless, through modern communication and transportation, increasing groups of people are coming together and sharing their illuminating experiences, discovering that certain resonant constants remain. The all-creative Source expresses itself in complex patterns of light and colour that resonate with transformative energy. Beyond this labyrinth of hieroglyphic contours and shapes, fully-formed visions with heroic figures, landscapes, architecture and animals may emerge, unfolding in narrative patterns that echo ancient myth.
For this reason, anyone who has deeply entered the visionary domain quickly becomes an adept of more ancient wisdom traditions - personally educating themselves in arcane and hermetic knowledge. Whether their interest be in alchemy, yoga, astrology or ancient myth, their pursuit is not only theoretical, but based on personal experience and practice - a direct investigation into the life-altering power of these ancient philosophies.
Vision Journeys into the Beyond
In art, this extends to the mythologies and symbologies of countless world cultures. Suddenly, the power of a mudra in the Tantric tradition, or the multiple iconographies of angels in Babylonian art, become extremely relevant. The after-life journey as mapped out by the Egyptians, Mayans or Tibetans is not only a historical curiosity, but a vital source of guidance - a soul-map - for vision-journeys into the Beyond. (Indeed, those ancient cultures weren’t messing around, and we’re now re-entering those forgotten realms at our own peril…).
For Visionary artists, this knowledge of ancient methods extends to the sacred codes guiding artistic creation. The complex patterns of light and colour that flash behind our eyes are not random stimuli but reflect the Divine Mind’s self-replicating expansion into space, chroma and form. For millennia, countless craftsmen have explored the sacred geometry and colour harmony underlying this expansion of the One into the many (seeking to maintain unity and harmony at each level).
Beyond this, craftsmen have explored the codes of figurative expression - the heavenly proportions, symmetry and anatomy of human, animal and plant figures so they may become true vessels of Divine creation. The history of art is the exploration of graceful figures - whether symmetric or more dynamic - harmoniously arranged in pictorial space to express ancient mythic knowledge.
Hence, the sacred codes of composition, figuration and armature also come into the artist’s sphere of vision. But, as Visionaries, we seek to explore realms of space and time beyond mundane perception, where linear perspectives may curve, coalesce or expand into multiple dimensions. As well, figures may flatten out, become squared (as with Mayan art) or dynamically elongate and interweave (as with Gothic art). Energy may emerge, materialize and become visible, as bands of spectral light or vibrating lines of color. Historical styles may collide, their symbols combine, their cultures unite.
Rather than rejecting, as the Modernists did, the rules of Western art, we seek to recover, consolidate and expand them, while integrating in our art the sacred codes of ancient, tribal and eastern cultures. In the New Sacred Art, all cultures are one, geographically and historically. Hence, Visionary art becomes this joining of East and West - the marriage of our Western Humanist inheritance with the Hieratic styles of the Egyptians, Hindus, Buddhists, Mayans and more Tribal traditions.
A Visionary Community
I now belong to a visionary community where increasing numbers of artists are seeking out and sharing these sacred codes and techniques. We can see them in each other’s work, become inspired by them, and feel the sudden urge to seek out their author to better understand and implement them in our own work. Thus is a new culture born. Visiting an artist in his or her studio, collaborating at festivals or simply exchanging electronic messages - thus the cohesion of shared vision emerges.
For the last six years, I’ve experienced this sharing more directly during the three-week Visions in the Mischtechnik Seminars in the eco-village of Torri Superiore, Italy. So inspiring and empowering have these seminars become, that in 2013 they expanded into a full-fledged academy. Located in the centre of Vienna, our school has become a safe and inspiring environment for the unfolding of vision. At the heart of our curriculum is the Mischtechnik, a classical method of oil painting revived by the Viennese Master Ernst Fuchs.
The Vienna Academy of Visionary Art was co-founded by Professor Ernst Fuchs in collaboration with ten artists who form The Visionary Guild - a name carefully chosen to express our deep respect for the artists’ associations of old. Having worked and apprenticed with Professor Fuchs, we believe in the direct transmission of craft - from master to apprentice - without forgetting the more subtle forms of ‘vision-transmission’ that go along with it.
The ten artists of the Guild - five men and five women - are already well-known as cultural creators and bridge-makers: Kuba Ambrose, Laurence Caruana, Andrew Gonzalez, David Heskin, Maura Holden, Daniel Mirante, Amanda Sage, Timea Tallian, Emma Watkinson and Aloria Weaver. [Note: The Academy Faculty eventually expanded to include over 25 teachers. See the Faculty section of the Academy website]. Together, these artists form the faculty through which the Academy’s core courses are developed and taught. The Guild artists also share studio space so that, by working side-by-side, we may teach and learn from each other. This attitude extends to our students, who share their researches into forgotten techniques and cultural codes. Thus, teachers and students work together, synergistically exploring and co-creating our new visual language.
The thousands of visions emerging at this time in history can either coalesce into one cohesive worldview or shatter and fragment into a thousand divided hopes and dreams. To make an impact on our culture, our thinking, and hence, our way of creatively navigating spaceship earth, we must pursue new paradigms of visionary education, so as to promote the collective seeding, cultivation and blossoming of one world vision.
The Vienna Academy of Visionary Art revives classical techniques of painting while pursuing art as the expression of beauty, spirit and vision. To transmit an in-depth practice of painterly technique, our school follows the established model of the Academy system, while also promoting individual creativity through the pursuit of Visionary Art.
As an English-speaking private educational institution in Vienna, we offer a full-time study programme through our two and three year Diplomas (with internships in the studios of Martina Hoffmann or Alex and Allyson Grey). However, shorter stays are possible: from the 3-month Single Trimester Programme to the 2-week Intensives.
At the heart of our program is the painter’s quest for Original Vision, expressed in a unique and refined manner.