Geo Glyphiks (aka George Atherton) rides the vanguard of digital visionary artwork, shaping new pathways for the blossoming elective consciousness. In continuing to channel crystallized visions of ascended awareness, Geo pushes the boundaries of artistic expression, encoding his work with deep yogic activation and political empowerment. His work serves as a luminescent window into the etheric realms of elevated states of consciousness, as well as deeply relevant social commentaries and pragmatic educational offerings. By consciously creating images with deep transformative relevance and offering media that is both spiritually and socially empowering, Geo strives to create a brighter more harmonious world, one pixel at a time…” ~ Mugwort Artemesia
Geo: I was playing with crayons and markers as soon as I was old enough to hold them. Illustrated books like Dinotopia ignited my imagination with the creative possibilities of story-telling. My parents encouraged my interests and would read aloud mythic tales of Trickster heroes and animals. I loved Reading Rainbow, Star Trek TNG, Captain Planet and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and I still feel the strength of all of those influences pulsing through me today. As a teen I became engrossed in playing epic story-driven SNES games like Chrono Trigger and Earthbound, reading Lord of the Rings and other fantasy series, and many gorgeous comic books. I liked to draw characters that I imagined would inhabit future tales of my own. When I picked up Joseph Campbell’s work on comparative mythology and the Hero’s Journey, I felt a lot of accumulated pieces click together in my brain. Whether it’s Inanna or Maui or Luke Skywalker, hero archetypes tell us truths about ourselves and society, distilling and passing down the wisdom of the ages. All those characters from the fiction of my childhood swirled together and demanded to be expressed in my own art and stories.
Geo: When I was 10 years old, my parents arranged for me to learn Transcendental Meditation, after being inspired by the Beatles to learn the teachings of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. This initiated an abiding interest in consciousness and Yoga that I grow into more and more.
This growth made a big leap forward in 2009, when I traveled from my hometown of Seattle to the Himalayan foothills of Dharamsala, India for Yoga teacher training. The combined practices of asana, pranayama, meditation and lucid dreaming, with the backdrop of the spiritual wealth of India and Tibet, catapulted my art in a vivid new direction. From wading into the Ganga during the Kumbha Mehla, surrounded by sadhu babas covered in funeral ash and the towering statue of Shiva silhouetted in the sunset, to marveling at the golden guardian dragons of the Chiang Mai temples in Thailand, it was like heaping logs onto the bonfire of my imagination, bathing me in inspiration for neo-mythology.
Prior to that, attending the Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA gave me the blessing of designing my own curriculum, learning digital painting through books I ordered on Amazon and online tutorials from conceptart.org, cgsociety.org, and gnomon.com. My original intent was to cultivate skills that would open the doors to the entertainment industry, so that I could make new videogames and film that would inspire others as I had been inspired.
However, the conscious community of the Evergreen campus imparted a broader socio-political perspective of the world beyond my own aspirations as an artist. I began making art on one monitor while watching subversive documentaries on the other, flying through digital portals to witness the intense suffering of the world and her inhabitants. I began to see the relationship between increasingly violent consumer entertainment and war, terrorism and a mesmerized mainstream. I decided I didn’t want to draw digital guns all day for a living.
Instead, I felt imbued with a fiery sense of responsibility, and went through a personal re-envisioning of the artist as a cultural healer and protector, rather than a mere producer of passive entertainment. The artists of our modern world are part of a shamanic lineage that extends back to the earliest cave paintings, preserving the knowledge upon which the survival of the tribe depends.
Geo: Certainly the contemplative art of the Hindu and Buddhist traditions have inspired much of the work I’ve done in recent years. I like working with figures because the mirror neurons in our brains allow us to empathize with the emotional expressions of other people, so if you look at a portrait or a statue of the Buddha, you can feel that emotion of blissful balance in your own body-mind. By depicting deities and characters expressing positive emotions, and placing that art in our environment, we strengthen the emotion the art evokes in us, which affects our entire lives on both the conscious and subconscious level.
I also find many parallels between visual artistry and martial artistry. The Samurai, for example, practiced calligraphy as well as swordplay and drew insight from their similarities. By developing the awareness of our own bodies through movement, we learn the anatomy and expressiveness that artists translate into imagery. Art is an extension of the mind, as the staff or the sword is an extension of the body, a power that can be channeled in the spirit of guardianship. In cultivating the vital energy of our bodies through the physical arts, we develop vibrant health, which informs our emotional state as we create new art (of any kind). Rather than creating a violent attitude, the coordinated movements of martial defense teach us how precious and delicate the body really is, leading to a renunciation of violence, ahimsa. The martial arts cultivate balance and life-force, to the point that it can be projected out of the body for the purpose of healing others.
“The aim of art is to project an inner vision into the world, to state in aesthetic creation the deepest psychic and personal experiences of a human being. It is to enable those experiences to be intelligible and generally recognized within the total framework of an ideal world.” – Bruce Lee
SP: In the digital art arena, there are many new dynamic programs to weave sacred visions. What tools and programs do you use to create your art?
Low bows to the brilliant programmers who create these tools. I use Painter 12 for creating layer assets, Photoshop for manipulating them, Zbrush for 3d modeling, and many others like Groboto and Google Sketch-up. Lately I’ve been getting into video with After Effects and Final Cut, knowing that animated media has incredible potential to awaken hearts and minds. For inspiration I love checking out cghub.com for an every-shifting mosaic of art by digital masters.
Geo: Absolutely. Digital and traditional art invigorate each other.
I’ve found continuous education on the conceptart.org forums, where the prevailing ethos is that digital art must be informed by the study of traditional renaissance painting foundations in order fully achieve its potential. Keeping a sketchbook and drawing in it daily is the recommended method for developing a personal style, as well as staying loose and present in the moment as a spiritual practice.
Once established in the basics of lighting, composition, color theory, perspective, anatomy and so on, the digital pen becomes a shining beacon of creative power. The ease of flicking between digital oils, airbrushes, palette knives, blenders, randomizers, and 3d geometry takes on the sensation of dream-flight. The exponentially-increasing tools of digital media are wings that carry us forward to the artistic frontier. A backpack with a laptop and a wacom pad becomes the ultimate mobile studio, ready to unsheathe at a moment’s notice, like a swiss-army lightsaber.
Solpurpose: Some believe digital technology is facilitating an artistic revolution. It is an exciting forum and a dynamic medium, with new possibilities being molded and developed constantly. Tell us a bit about what you see in the future of digital art, and what excites you about it.
Imagine an artist-engineer who wakes up from a dream, puts on a neuro-reactive headset, and projects the vision from his or her dream directly onto the screen. Say, a fantasy design for a permaculture garden enclosure. Perhaps the user consults with an AI confidante for critique on structural integrity. From there, the file is sent to a 3d printer for immediate replication as a physical object. Referring to holographic heads-up displays on their eco-friendly contact lenses, a construction crew uses expressive body-language commands to direct the actions of solar-powered cranes, assembling the design on-site in a developing nation. This whole process is recorded as an interactive tutorial and embedded into a massively-multiplayer online videogame, teaching a new generation of children the principles of sustainability as they play and experiment with each other’s creations. The kids tabulate a census on which designs are the most successful, then recapitulate that data into infographics that reveal new insights on the process, allowing for further refinement and inspiration to unfold into the dreams of the next wave of creators.
I use this story to illustrate what excites me most about the future of digital art; as these technologies develop, it will streamline the process of teaching artists to manifest their thought-forms in the physical world, for the purpose of improving people’s lives and their relationship to the Earth.
Solpurpose: Apparent in your work is a deep sense of political responsibility. What are your views on the global political atmosphere right now, how does it affect your art? As the world is increasingly interconnected through communications and digital media, how can digital art and intentional media help to assist in the momentous shift in global consciousness taking hold of our world?
As a planetary civilization, we are facing an array of shadow-monsters like rampant industrial pollution and consolidated corporate power. In response, there is a wave of conscious media content rising from the fertile soil of cyberspace, celebrating bright green innovation and connection with the natural world. In the creation of conscious media, we can spread action-plans for manifesting the utopian world we wish to experience.
We are at the cusp of a critical threshold, a boiling point where a Facebook post can ignite a revolution, or a Youtube video can explode into a viral meme that transforms mainstream consciousness.
In the dawn of this Information Age, art becomes all the more powerful as a vector for education. Infographics are contextualizing and comparing torrential waves of data. Kickstarter and Indiegogo are crowd-sourcing creative projects through the good-will of thousands or millions of people. Documentary films are being freely distributed and promoted online to raise awareness of pressing political and environmental issues. An animated series can raise a generation of kids into humanitarian heroes.
As we create, post, repost, upvote, pingback and interweave our networks, we are growing the mycelial foundations of a thriving bio-technospheric democracy.
Solpurpose: Your paintings emanate edenic future visions for our species in relations with our environment. Amidst the current ecological devastation, political turmoil, and embedded structures of inequality of the current global capitalist paradigm, how do you envision a future characterized by sustainability and harmony? What can we do collectively and individually manifest this brave new world?
Geo: Finding peace within creates peace in the world. Meditation is a game-changer for both the entire inner and outer universe. Whether this comes in the form of sitting quietly to observe the breath, or nailing a jump-shot, we can achieve a place of silence in the mind, where there is no thought, only the flow of the Dao, the ‘Natural Action.’ Developing inner peace on the individual level will contribute to outer peace on the collective level.
From that peace, Act. Everyone has creative power, whether that is expressed in engineering, mathematics, music, imagery, culinary artistry, or body work. The Earth needs every kind of help we can offer, so find the calling that ignites your passion and dedicate yourself to its mastery. “Follow your Bliss” as Joe Campbell would say. Skill-share with friends. Align those skills to support groups and causes that you believe in.
Language defines our reality. Adopting new language = adopting new reality. Artists of all kinds can contribute to a new lexicon of symbols for a Green World, symbols like solar panels, rooftop gardens, geodesic bio-domes and toroidal energy fields…
Use Alternate Currencies. Create your own value to trade for goods and services instead of debt-based dollars. Pool resources with trusted allies. Participate in the global discussion to develop a truly sustainable economy.
Go Green. Recycle. Compost. Use reusable bags instead of plastic. Wash laundry in cold water instead of hot. Turn off lights when you leave the room and use natural light whenever possible. Unplug unused chargers and appliances. Turn off your computer completely at night. Before buying new, first check Craigslist or Freecycle. Use thrift stores. Fix leaky faucets. Make your own household cleaners. Collect rainwater and use it to nourish your houseplants and garden. Repurpose glass jars as leftover containers or bulk storage. Search ‘ways to go green’ online for plenty more.
Grow our own food. This is one of the most radically sustainable actions we can take, and as we reach a critical mass of participants we will see big, positive changes in the world. Let us band together to build our own organic gardens and creative communities. Look to Nature as the ultimate teacher as we redesign our visions of Home. Check out earthship.com, windowfarms.org, opensourceecology.org and gaiacraft.com for step-by-step DIY instructions. Here is a 40 hour free streaming college course on Intro to Permaculture.
Eat right. What we eat and what we think combine to become the reality we experience. Learn multicultural perspectives on the science of nutrition and learn to tune your diet, like the strings of a guitar or a radio dial. Here are some dietary practices that promote vibrant health and longevity: Eat organic as much as possible, eat local/seasonal foods, dramatically reduce meat and dairy consumption, use Ayurvedic herbs and spices, stop eating before the point of fullness to promote good digestion, and calmly smell and bless the meal before eating.
Be Open. Hold education as a life-time value rather than a goal. Be adaptable and spend as much time listening as speaking. Devour information from a huge diversity of sources and viewpoints.
Rise Up and Occupy Everything.
Solpurpose: I am sure you have some exciting plans forecasted for the Spring and Summer ~ Where is the Geo Glyphiks light ship headed next?
Geo: On the festival lineup this year, my beloved Marisa and I are looking forward to attending Entheos, Photosynthesis, Shambhala and Rootwire!!! I hope to see you there. Check out my events page for the full slate – .:GeoGlyphik’s Events:.