The Artist as Activist

I’ve never considered myself an “activist” in the conventional sense, in that I’ve never felt the need to join organizations or participate in rallies or protests; nor has my art ever been concerned with changing the world per se, but rather with changing myself. For the past 25 years or so, I’ve explored aspects of the ego by delving into recessed shadow material in an attempt to better understand myself. These works evolved through imagery executed in a Pop style infused with cynical humor and a hyper-chromatic palette. In an effort to comprehend the dysfunction in my life, I created images which conveyed a message through visually assaulting the viewer on both a cerebral and visceral level. Several years ago, I embarked in earnest on a Spiritual Quest and began reading, meditating and practicing the discipline of Tai Chi. While on this path, I became acquainted with the teachings of the late Anthony DeMello, a Jesuit priest and psychotherapist widely known for his books on spirituality. In one of his lectures, Father DeMello remarked, “Whatever you give your attention to, youʼre tied to forever”. This statement alone had a profound and marked effect on my creative process and changed the way in which I view the world and approach the making of art. Rather than seeking demons to exorcise, I now look for beauty, tranquility and serenity. Itʼs the difference between communicating with a shout or a whisper. My activism is of the internal type; and since everything is inextricably interconnected on an energy level, when one evolves, so does the world.

Kevin T. Kelly
10 September 2013

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