My Art College training taught me the skills I needed for my career but my years as a Green monk opened my heart so I could feel again. Otherwise I would have been churning out clever but soulless art. Also I learnt a very different approach to creating art, which I still use today.
I trained as an Illustrator at Eastbourne Art College and began my career as a Graphic Designer before becoming disillusioned with the commercialisation of art and the world in general. So I began my quest for a deeper meaning and purpose in life. I imagined myself traveling East to India but met some fellow Soul travelers nearer to hand in Kentish Town, London.
In 1983 we formed a Green Monastery, where we practiced Gurdjieff Work and used a unique archetype system as an inner road map to guide us on our way. I now felt safe and could unravel and explore my inner world in peace.
For the next fourteen years Anelog and Sebastien and myself lived a disciplined and remarkable life, which ranged from environmental campaigning, meditating, living simply, art and periods of heightened awareness. We also ran the Graigian Society, which stood for the protection of the environment and human growth, as one can’t exist without the other. We held regular groups in our house, teaching and sharing, art and archetypes, pottery and puppet shows, voice and drumming.
I was able to develop fully as an artist and learnt to allow a soul quality to my precise art school discipline, which meant for a while to completely abandon everything that I had been taught. This new way of painting was the opposite of having a definite subject to create. It was to allow the body, guided by the Inner, to paint, not the mind. It felt so alien at the time but I persisted and found images emerging from the paint that surprised me. It opened up another dimension to my art, like opening a door into a forgotten mansion full of people, animals and treasures.
It is still my favourite way of painting now. I also learnt other crafts and skills, such as pottery, framing, carpentry and roofing.
After the death of Anelog in 1997, Sebastien and myself relaxed the monastic discipline but continued with the Graigian Society for a couple of years before closing the monastery and going our separate ways.
Coming out of living an extreme and devoted lifestyle brought its own consequences. Acclimatising to ‘normal’ life was challenging and exciting. The ‘normal’ world, even though it has embraced that there is an environmental problem isn’t doing enough about it, as people’s mindsets haven’t changed enough. However there are groups and businesses that are proactive and that is indeed hopeful.
I am pleased that I was a part of an active and positive force for change but recognize that there is much to be still done. Nowadays my way of contributing to the betterment of mankind is changing and one way is to share my unique art to a wider audience.
Gurdjieff taught me that there are three foods: The food we eat and drink, the air we breathe and the food of impressions, which is most nourishing when it consists of an unspoilt natural environment, architecture based on the human form, pollution-free elegant transport and uplifting arts and crafts.
“God’s imagination is the world which feeds us, yet our own imagination feeds God. In the force field that is created by the two imaginations lays Beauty, giving constant birth to her child…Life”.
Martin Prechtel (Shaman and Artist)