“Cornelius said to me, ‘Stop buying art and collecting artists. Your soul is craving creativity. Just start painting.’”
I began thinking more and more about creativity – the nature of it, the will to create, the desire to create. And I began to paint. That was surprising. I remember Cornelius saying to me, ‘Stop buying art and collecting artists. Your soul is coveting creativity. You just need to start painting.’ And slowly I realised, it has to come out somewhere in our human being – creativity. I began to understand it as a deep fulfilling spiritual encounter. We are after all souls in bodies – not a little bit of soul in a body – the creator made us in our own image – creating souls, then. And in the process of being with visual artists more questions arose. First there is nothing, then there is something, that’s an amazing thing, how does that happen.
It was a while before MONK came about and looking back now everything – of course – seems to have happened in its own time, at the right time.
And the very naming of MONK is significant. It is a specific reference and many people ask about the title, how it plays into the relationship between spirituality and art. I suppose it actually goes back to the Salons I ran with Cornelius – there was a sense of community there, albeit a pop up community, we were each other’s creative neighbour, a tribe, a family. We nurtured each other. Then Cornelius died – too young, too young. And I sought to recover myself in painting and deepened my practise; and I returned to the idea of an online magazine, an online Salon, as we say in MONK, an inner space online.
I didn’t as yet have the title. I had a strong sense of what I wanted to achieve – a sense of the sacred, an exploration and a meditation of art and the sacred. In fact I was running many different ideas around my mind, then we went on holiday to Cornwall. I was reading a biography of Vincent Van Gogh. I came across a passage that described his interest if not obsession in Monks – Japanese Monks. I remember putting the book down and saying out loud – MONK! So I can and do thank Vincent for that. He was so MONKish anyway, it was perfect. I have his image everywhere like an icon in my studio and occasionally call on him for help. Who know – maybe he hears. I like the idea of a committee on the other side… I have Cornelius down as Editor-in-Spirit.