These are the words that circle the above Self Portrait in circular mirror:
“In the mirror my name is lost in canyons of colour. Thoughts and feelings dissolve in shadows and light. Memories become texture and line. My fingers dance to the drums of the Fathers and the chanting of the Mothers. Night spirits whisper and call and the shaman of the sun sings music that swells inside. Flesh dissolves into rainbows of light. Rich and pulsing darkness purrs upon impossible edges of skin, the illusion of my beginning and ending. I fly in eagles and glide cold depths in the bellies of whales. I am in the tall pine, the voices of the Mothers and the hands of the beater of drums. Proudly I move to the drum. Within this circle of incantation and musty magic I am dancer, warrior and magician and my spirit is straight and true. I look into my eyes and each orb becomes a universe. The stranger in this circumference of glass guides my hand and I dissolve again into marks moving across paper deserts. I know this language, always becoming, between the stars and the deepest cave of my heart. It speaks of coming home again. It speaks of walking this world proudly and in beauty”.
I couldn’t do a series like this without including thoughts on my own process, and this won’t be the only time I do so because every day I change my shape.
Above is a Self Portrait made from my reflection in a circular mirror a very long time ago. I wrote the words that frame the drawing as I worked. At the time I was strongly influenced by north west coast indigenous shamanism.
If you have ever seriously immersed yourself in making a self portrait you understand what a profound and enlightening experience it is. The words I wrote are a fragment of everything I felt, thought and grokked during that evening:
I disappeared and re-emerged a hundred times. I went from the shyness of looking myself in the eyes for more than a second to total absorption beyond time and any face I could call Me. I passed through ‘this’, a reflection of me, to total objective observation of certain colours, forms and human features, my name and identity long forgotten. I was visited by ancestors, dead friends and lovers. I walked away and made tea and returning discovered everything had changed.
My head didn’t fit…
I have made a few other self portraits before and since. The process is too intense for me to do often. Each time I meet myself is part punching bag, part deja vu and part ‘oh far out I’ve never been down this rabbit hole before’.
Then there are the self portraits that are out of nowhere and off the wall. They crack me up every time and I am always grateful for their reminding of that pirate / clown / trickster side of who I think I am.
Laughter is so excellent.
Words and art by Clinock.
Image 1: Self Portrait in circular mirror with text. Diam, with text, 12 in. Chalk pastel, conte and black pen.
Image 2. Self Portrait as Pie-Rat. 18 x 14 in. Acrylic on canvas.