Dream Arts

Every dream is a spontaneous, involuntary, unpremeditated expression of the archetypal creative impulse. This universal longing to express our deepest selves, and discover more about who are in the process, is alive deep in all human beings, and indeed, in the universe as a whole. How can we possibly have any doubts about what inherently creative creatures we are when we regularly create in sleep, our true individual and collective nature is revealed - we are all spontaneous, evolving, creative artists, and the dream is our primary medium.

The continuing meditation on dreams regularly becomes an invitation to engage in expressive/artistic activity in waking life. All arts are "dream arts" in the final analysis, from the traditional arts of music and dance, the plastic and literary arts, to the unique and idiosyncratic "arts of living" - all of them spring from and lead us back to our deepest and most emotionally charged symbolic experience. As drama writers are fond of saying: "If it's not on the page, it"s not on the stage...", and for all of us, the first "page" is our dreams.

I like to promote collage as an artistic medium for extending exploration and meditation on the creative energy of dreams. I am particularly interested in collage for a number reasons, not the least of which is that collage inherently egalitarian in that it puts everyone on the same level of "detail and finished image". In this way, working in collage can short-circuit even the most of the habitual self-denials so many people cling to about their uneven levels of technical skill and "not being an artist". In fact, as the British sculptor, Eric Gill says: "An artist is not a special kind of person - each person is a special kind of artist!" (Thanks for the reference, Susan!)

I also like collage because it is a playful dialogue with the images of the popular, ephemeral, post-modern, global culture in which we all live, as well as an expression of evolving inner experience. Working in collage links us directly to the larger world, as well as offering a easy way to explore the images that well up from deep within the psyche. In this sense, Collage is a particularly resonant "post-modern" artistic medium in that it is uniquely capable of bringing together images from a wide variety of cultures and historical periods, liberating them from context (often sharpening and expanding their symbolic resonance in the process), and marrying them in a unified, singular, personal artistic statement.
It has long been my personal practice to cover my journals with collaged images, as well as drawing and painting the images I remember from my dreams whenever they are clear enough to render.

Here is an example - a detail from my current dream-and-waking-life journal.

And here is a poem from the manuscript of my book, Yume Do - Zen Dream Work - Pathways to the Wisdom Beyond Words:

In his rational passion,
Spinning, star-struck,
From his encounter
With Eve's Apple,
That even clothed
In the dignity of numbers
And the shining certainties of thought,
The attraction of all things
For one another
And themselves
Is another metaphor of

© 2013 Jeremy Taylor
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