Artist’s Statement

Cleveland Heights artist Stephen Calhoun

ARTISTIC STATEMENT

To steep ourselves in a subject-matter we have first to plunge into it.— John Dewey

(Hypothesis: that a congerie may be transformed into a compelling order, driven by the natural urge of consciousness to grasp order, discover shapes and symbols, knit together patterns and unearth archetypal narratives.)

My art’s aim is to grip the viewer, and then inspire the viewer to seek their own unique discoveries in each piece. Each piece is a numinous intervention aiming to present puzzles that the artist has neither created or solved. I came to my art practice as a matter of my lifelong drive to satisfy my curiosity. This demands that I continue to wander, experience, explore, do experiments. Creating visual pieces is a musical process of spontaneous conduction. My guiding intentions are to learn by doing experiments, discover unique territories, and, experience adventurous creative praxis. My intentional aim is that each image–art work–speak for itself.

If you have not experienced a thing, it is not true!— Kabir

Each art work constitutes an experiment, The experiment is completed by the viewer’s presence, awareness, and engaged seeking.

Follow the perfume, not the tracks.— Shams of Tabriz

I’m drawn now to the idea that experience of art is a way of listening to consciousness.

My artist’s statement is a living description! Stephen Calhoun, January 2018  (question(s)? comment(s)? conversation? contact: sc.calhoun@gmail.com | 216.269.5568 Cleveland, Ohio, USA)

Coda – May 2018

Because I aim my art at creating an opportunity for the present and sensitive viewer to, as John Dewey put it, “have an experience,” my art is intended to be for all ages and for all time. The artworks are priceless as a reflection of my deep, experienced, ambition, and this has nothing to do with mere commerce. Dedicated as I am to constant learning and blooming experimentation, these simple aims distill to a single veracious statement about my art practice and its combining my dedication with the viewer’s necessary willingness to initiate their presence and then go on a visual quest:

I make the picture,

you make the time.

Knysna Night Blossom - Stephen Calhoun
Knysna Night Blossom (2017)

 

ARTIST’S BACKGROUND
Stephen Calhoun’s creative projects have in their background his theorist/researcher’s interest in: serendipity, generativity, and radically empirical experience in adult learning and development. His creative approach in its essence joins a musical process with experiential openness to the numinous. An accidental artist, nevertheless his creative vision follows ineluctably from his great love for sound and his deep curiosity about the nature of human experience.

Starting as a self-taught graphic designer in 1985, his first fine art works were painted from 1993-2002. He took up the cause of procedural, generative digital art in 2003. In 2009, he took up digital photography, and soon began fusing photography with generative procedures. He has worked exclusively in the digital domain since 2003.

His experiments have focused on complexity and symmetry since 2012. He considers himself to be an untutored, self-taught, resourceful and attuned, artistic experimenter. His term of art for most of work is: mixed process photography. Across creative and scholarly domains Stephen is all about being enveloped by experience for the sake of exploration, learning how to learn and unlearn, and, being overtaken by spontaneous insight. Out of this his aim is singular: to provide evocative opportunities for others to seek and experience visual epiphanies. His current artistic catalogue of editions, as of January 2018, numbers over 400 art works.

His background also includes decades spent working in the music industry, in organizational assessment and development, and, in experiential learning and adult development. He remains the principal and founder of squareONE experiential toolmakers. As well, Stephen is a composer/improviser who recorded under the name Kamelmauz between 2001 and 2015 nine recordings of ambient soundscapes and sound designs, using primarily pedal and lap steel guitars and synthesizers.  

 

Twelve Aspirations - Stephen Calhoun
  Twelve Aspirations (2017)

 

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