MA Digital Art Project

University of Art London- MA Digital Art Project Proposal- 2012-14


Mandalas of Light

My chosen project “Mandalas of Light” brings together several mediums and areas of art that I have been working in, that up till recently I had treated separately. Due to digital technology, I am now able to utilize my drawing, painting, design, photography, lighting, and art therapy skills, and bring them together to incorporate them into my MA digital mandala artwork project. I am also researching the spiritually and sacred related subjects of zen buddhist art, celtic circles, 17thcentury emblem art (Robert Fludd), American indian medicine wheels, ancient English hill top chalk drawings, medieval glass rose windows, DNA structural design, ice crystals (snowflake photography of Wilson Bentley), cymatics (visible sound, vibration and resonance), Fibonacci sequence, and Chinese ribbon dancing. This research will hopefully aid me in the experimentation and development of my work.

The main aim and objective of my “Mandalas of Light” project is to create and produce spiritual and meditative artworks that bring balance, harmony, and a sense of inner well being to the viewer.

Digital Medium:
My medium will be drawing and painting with light, which combines long exposure photography with drawing and painting. The first photograph I saw using this medium and technique was the black and white image of Picasso drawing a centaur in the air with a small flashlight. Gjon Mili took this photograph in 1949 for Life Magazine. Mili, who was a brilliant lighting innovator, showed Picasso the technique. The photo of Picasso appeared in the magazine in 1950, and I saw it in 1968 while a student at art college in London.  It had a tremendous impact on me at the time, and still continues to inspire me. Drawing and painting with light is mostly constructed in the air and on different surfaces with various handheld lights. This medium allows me to work on a large scale, and in a gestural three dimensional manner, similar to the dance movements associated with Chinese ribbon dancing, but creating ribbons of light to form the mandalas. Part of my intent is to capture the flowing and interweaving structural patterns that are found in natural phenomena such as cymatics, DNA, and ice crystals. I will also be using preselected music to assisted me in the rhythm, tempo, and mood while drawing with light.  The majority of post-production work will be done with photoshop.

Main Project Context and Background:
The Mandala (Sanskrit for “round” or “circle”) is a symmetrical image, usually circular, but frequently square or floral, that is used to focus concentration and promote meditation. It can have sacred meanings for both its creator and user. Various art mediums can be used to produce Mandalas, including drawing, painting, sculpture, embroidery and dance. Mandalas can be found in many cultures including the ancient Egyptians, Navajos, Hindus, Buddhists and Celts. All of these traditions have inspired my artistic exploration of Mandalas.
The act of creating the Mandala can be as important as the finished form. Some Mandalas are created in order to exist only for a brief time. Buddhist monks create their Mandalas with sand in a sacred and ritualistic way, and afterwards the Mandalas are ceremoniously brushed away and returned to the earth via the river. I had the rare chance to observe this ritual when several Tibetan Buddhist monks from the Drepung Loseling Monastery visited the University of Redlands, where I work.This wonderful experience was inspirational, so I decided to create Mandalas for myself, but not with sand. Instead I chose to use the medium of light. As both artist and photographer, it was natural for me to use light to draw and paint these Mandalas with. It gave me a more spontaneous, luminous, and ethereal effect. It also infused the Mandalas with a Zen-like quality, which is what I was seeking.

From November 23rd 1986 to March 8th 1987 the Los Angeles County Museum of Art held “The Spiritual in Art: Abstract Painting 1890 – 1985” show. Although I was unable to attend the show, I managed to purchase the book with the same title by Maurice Tuchman and Judy Freeman. It was more than just a catalogue for the show. It defined the spiritual art movement within the area of abstract art that had been hardly noticed. The publication brought the movement and its creative participants together for the first time, plus showed them within their historical and theoretical context. Although this book is now dated, it is proving to be very valuable in both my research, and as a guiding light. Two important contemporary artists who inspire me, and who I consider to be part of that movement, Richard Long and Andy Goldsworthy were not in the show or publication.

Current Work Plan:
The 20 hours per week required for this MA online course will be divided into 3 main categories: Research- 5 hours, creation- 12 hours, review- 3 hours.

  1. Explore all areas of drawing and painting with light: history, methodology, and contemporary  artists working in this field.
  2. Test out other digital art mediums and methods that may assist me in my goal, develop and tailor them to my needs.
  3. Continue my own experiments with the medium of drawing and painting with light.
  4. Keep a log of the produced images with technical and relevant information: date/time of day/location/type and number of lights camera/lens and camera settings/filters computer settings and procedures/other equipment and materials used.
  5. Review my work on a weekly basis.
  6. Subscribe to on-line magazines that cover the area of my chosen medium and relevant mediums, so as to keep up wit the new and changing technology.

Long term Work Plan (90 weeks) and Outcome:
Produce 60 select artworks for a gallery show and a limited edition book. The goal of 60 select artworks will require producing at least 150 pieces in total to make my choice from. I have given myself by the end of October 2013, leaving time for additional work, and the book design and production, plus concept and arrangement for the MA exhibition at the Camberwell campus, London.

Update: As from the 23rd of June 2014, I have now published 209 posts on this blog so far, with well over 250 new images created during this MA digital course, surpassing my original goal of 150 pieces. I  hope to continue to experiment and produce more digital imagery in the future.

Graffiti Project:
If time allows, I will also be pursuing my idea for using the medium of “painting with light” to help and deal with the increasing problems of graffiti. Graffiti costs the United States about $12 billion a year just for clean up alone (about $26 a square meter). Graffiti also contributes to lost revenue associated with reduced ridership on transit systems, reduced retail sales, and declines in property value. In addition, graffiti generates the perception of blight and heightens fear of gang activity. Using my idea, offenders would participate in a “graffiti with light” programe, and through workshops, be introduced to, and taught the medium of painting with light, which would allow them to continue their art, but in a civil, legal, and safer manner. With websites and blogs for displaying their work, the taggers would reach a far greater and wider audience. It would also deal with the safety issue of taggers taking risks on freeways and high rise buildings to achieve their art.


Websites:  website about painting with light, the history, artists, tutorials and links.

http://www.baat. org/ British Association of Art Therapists website. Website about the mandalas that Carl Jung created. Some basic information about medieval church rose windows. Website about Cymatics (designs and patterns made by sound). Website with general information about North American Medicine Wheels.

The Spiritual in Art: Abstract Painting 1890 – 1985, by Maurice Tuchman & Judy Freeman, Abberville Press, copublished by Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1985.
Concerning the Spiritual in Art, by Wassily Kandinsky,1912, (trans. M. T. Sadler, 1914), Dover, 1977.
Mandala: Sacred Circle in Tibetan Buddhism, by Martin Brauen, published by Arnoldsche/Rubin Museum of Art, 2009.
Mandalas: Luminous Symbols for Healing, by Judith Cornell, published by Questbooks.
The Art Therapy Sourcebook, by Cathy A. Malchiodi, published by Lowell House, 1998.
Robert Fludd: Hermetic philosopher and surveyor of two worlds, by Joscelyn Godwin, published by Phanes Press, 1979.
Sacred Number, by Miranda Lundy, published Wooden Books/ Walker & Co, 2005.
Elements of Music: Melody, Rhythem, & Harmony, by Jason Martineau, published by Wooden Books/ Walker & Co, 2008.

Artists and Photographers:
Samuel Palmer-
Richard Long-
Paul Nash-
Wassily Kandinsky-
Hilma AF Klint-
Arthur Dove-
Morris Graves-
Robert Fludd-
Cosmati family-

Also included:/ Paul Klee/ Piet Mondrian// Andy Goldsworthy/ William Morris/ Paul Landacre/John Maine/ Richard Pousette-Dart / Georgia O’Keafe/ Man Ray/ Gjon Mili/ Andreas Feininger

Music is a very important part of my work process, and I often listen to the compositions of the following composers for inspiration:
Ralph Vaughan Williams /
Erik Satie
Avro Part
John Tavener
Yann Tiersen
Also included: Claude Debussy/ Ravel

Source of research for dealing and helping with graffiti offenders project:
“The mission of the Center for Problem-Oriented Policing is to advance the concept and practice of problem-oriented policing in open and democratic societies. It does so by making readily accessible information about ways in which police can more effectively address specific crime and disorder problems.” This is a website that promotes graffiti
“Our main goals are to provide cultural and scholarly information and resources and to help preserve and document the constantly disappearing paintings. We also want to spread the truth that this kind of graffiti, called “writing” is being done by artists who call themselves” writers,” not by gangs.”











Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: