Evolution of an Experiment




Started out as a green leaf, just like every other leaf. Turned brown, fell to the ground, was picked up, painted, photographed, digitized, distorted, layered, mirrored, manipulated. Here we are!

Was this spirit always there, just waiting to revealed?

The Dark Datura

“The Dark Datura” – My Artwork – Gouache on Bristol Board – 1982

The dream world enters the waking world,
Merging together and unable to separate.
Vibrations are altered.
Sound is sculpted.
Vision disrupted.
Doors open,
The unfolded map of the gods giving directions,
Answering riddles.
Kachinas laughing and making bets.
The desert is lit up with faces of towering red rocks,
Toxins and imagination,
Growing into clouds and duplications.
The eyes of giants are weighing down the sky.
Mirages fill the road.
A skin of illusion covers the morning,
The afternoon. Another day.
Time is no longer synchronized with itself.
Light breaking into jagged, dancing auras,
Revealing pathways,
Directions and the darkness of reality.

I have read: “Datura is often one constitutent of the Amazonian drink ayahuasca, and in coastal Peru it is sometimes added to the mescaline drink cimora made from the cactus Trichocereus Pachanoi. The Jivaros of the Amazon use datura as well as the harmaline drink natema; they regard datura as stronger, more dangerous, and more suitable as a preparation for war. It is taken for spirit voyages to encounter the supernatural, but is not used in healing because the effects are so uncontrollable that the shaman cannot retain his ties to this world while journeying in the other one.”

“Known to cause dark visions and erratic behavior. Used for puberty rites and to make contact with the spirits which inhabit other worlds.”

The Navajo Indians take it to “talk with the Gods”.

I took it once, not knowing any better at the time, and it changed my life.

V. Castellanos – November 2018

My Neuropathy

“Half and Half” – pencil drawing – June 2018 – 5 1/2″ x 4″

Have you ever been haunted? Occupied by a spirit seeking a home, a demon seeking manifestation? Invading without invitation. Occupation without consideration or consent. Changing everything. Doesn’t relent.

Nuclear, peripheral neuropathy, of unknown origin and reason, occupying the left side of my body. Is this the mirror? This drawing came in an insistent flash. It made me draw it. I was going to draw a masked parade but this came out instead, so quick I almost forgot I drew it, and then it waited patiently until nap time to come out and play.

After I was stricken with this strange neuropathy last autumn my artwork took a definite turn toward the surreal. Some of my friends say my art was always surreal but it hadn’t occurred to me before. I was painting organic abstracts. I was painting essence and amusement. Is my painting now painting me? Have I become a surreal person?