Art is never chaste. It ought to be forbidden to ignorant innocents, never allowed into contact with those not sufficiently prepared.
Yes, art is dangerous. Where it is chaste, it is not art.
― Pablo Picasso
The female breast/s are one of the most complicated symbols in all of human culture and history. As symbols they are available to us all, objectively speaking, but they are also subjective. Breasts have their own superconsciousness - their own likes, dislikes, feelings, sensations, and sense of knowing of themselves and the world.
Female breasts are a complex symbol.
They offer us complex realities.
They are so complex that many cultures in the world - especially those considered to be the most powerful - require the female breast to be covered. The female breast is too powerful to be seen. It is too complex to be understood. It must be hidden. It must be kept away.
Female breasts are sites of repressed power.
And that is why we start here.
v e s s e l is a collection of artworks harnessing the beauty and complexity of the female breast. Each work examines our close up feelings about this complicated site and symbol: What is sex, what is gender, what is allowed, what is safe, what is dangerous, what is functional, what is nurturing, what is shameful, what is pleasurable, what is you, what is me... what in this image is part of us all? What part of this iconic form draws us? Scares us? What happens when we dare to look at it, straight on?
In each of the v e s s e l works, we encounter much of what feels dangerous and unknown - hidden either from ourselves or others. And in looking at these parts - what Jung refers to as the shadow, and a process of personal engagement many ancient and modern mystic traditions alike describe as shadow work – we begin the trust, deepest process of knowing ourselves.
Let us not begin at the end, but rather at the beginning, where we came from.
Through the acknowledgement that this is us, and we are this, these breasts, the guardians of the heart, the sentinels guarding the inner dreams, longings, hopes and despairs of the ultimate Creatrix, the female form, we find deeper ways of knowing – and ultimately loving - ourselves.
Each painting serves as a unique window into this work of self-knowing and self-loving. Through color, stroke, and the use of discreet magickal symbols called sigils, they were created to stand as energetic blessings, protectors, and celebratory icons to infuse your homes or spaces, both internally and externally, with daily reminders of your own unique path to a more aligned and centered path forward.
This collection dares us all to do that which is forbidden: To look at the forbidden, to honor it, relish in it, cherish it, observe it, allow it to walk with us on this path. For what is forbidden here and in our everyday lives is not so much the breast itself, it is the reality of who we are. It is our connection to our truest and highest selves.
The sigils in this collection have moved my life in powerful ways, and I know they will work with you too if you open up to what they have to offer. Because sigils operate through the subconscious, there’s no need to try try to “get it right.” You will do a small ritual when you receive your painting, and after that the painting itself will do all the work - it’s just your job to place it in a space that feels uplifting and safe. It will be a daily reminder that whenever you face who you really are – whenever you dare not to cover up or hide – you will be working towards your more true and beautiful life.
I hope they move you as much as they have moved me.
Top photo by Phoebe Parker Photography