An art movement that has grown over time


In the 1950’s and 60’s natural mind opening substances used medicinally by the remnants of the great Mezzo American cultures still existed in protected places, protected by initiated shamans. Desire, curiosity, as well as what the great writer Romain Rolland referred to as "something limitless" and "oceanic" caused contact by artists and other intellectual travelers to take place with these shamans. It was not long before millions of individuals were using these psychedelic substances. Eventually these Western experimenters discovered that their brains contained labyrinths of undiscovered knowledge. During this period, a huge social upheaval occurred and changed forever all things formerly thought of as "the norm". As history shows, I, as an artist, was a part of this process. However, I was never absorbed fully into the struggles as others were because I could find sanctuary in my creative spirit as manifested through my art. All attempts at controlling or eliminating these new ways of seeing were defeated and continue to be defeated. Once the door of the mind is opened, it can never be closed again. The adoption of techniques of inner mental exploration were waiting for those who were ready. These techniques had been developed primarily in the East where they had survived the various pogroms and inquisitions imposed on people in the West. I still find it hilarious that at this historical point in time the expression "How are the vibes?" began to appear in the English language and in other languages as well. This seemed to be the only way people could describe or identify with their new perception of activity that had always been going on around them. This, or similar phrases, are still in use and are more likely than not always to be in use. According to The American Heritage Dictionary, vibrations means a distinctive emotional aura or atmosphere capable of being instinctively sensed or experienced.

It could be correctly said that Vibrationism has existed in the art of many cultures for thousands of years. It comes to mind the Egyptian scenes, both cut in stone and painted, of those ancients in profile gliding down the Nile in their boats with their almond-eyed look somewhere fixed in a far distant place. This energy was caught by the artist and preserved for us today. Or, the same scene, drifting down the Nile dipping the Nile lotus in a glass of wine. This is a common theme among Egyptian art from the first dynasties throughout the Hellenistic period. I often wonder if that now lost drink was the cause of their special and extremely tranquil vibration. Those artists who made those pictorial records were also following vibrationism because he or she who made such an observation froze a normal act of that time in stone forever. They instinctively froze with art their experience of the unique emotional and atmospheric vibration. There are many examples I could think of in the history of culture where the vibration or movement of energy in a particular place and time was caught in paint or stone or some other medium by an artist. This is what I do. I travel everywhere chance takes me and I paint everything chance shows me. Using ancient techniques of meditation that I honed to a fine point in Mexico and India I try to discover as many of the realities of what I am looking at as I can. So, if I am called a mystic artist, or better a Beat artist, as the press tends to do, I have no problem with that. In fact, I like it. But, to describe what I am actually doing as an artist, vibrationism must be used. That is how I dig into the essence of any thing I am observing and painting in order to leave a record for the yet unborn.

In contemporary times and with my own work and the work of my very closest friends, I have often wondered what it is that we are doing. Why we would choose a life of absolute insecurity and all that such a life means? Was it simply in order to go forward following an inward command? My very best artist friend in the earliest days of my own work as an artist, Michael McCracken, committed suicide at 25 years old when events that he had no power to change separated him from the rest of us and most importantly from his work in "vibrationism". We discussed vibrationism hundreds of times before his tragic death in London. However, why we never used the word "vibrationism" in our self-descriptions, I really do not know. My best guess is that we were so involved in what we were doing it just never happened. I believe that vibrationism is the way the creative of the world, each in their own way, break through to realities that we have been prevented from seeing. A word as an accident of history can, if uncorrected by those it refers to, nail a person to a cross he cannot extricate himself from. For example, in the 1950’s and 1960’s, both periods of energy that shook the world and still shake the world, all kinds of ridiculous general names began to be attached to my work and the work of others. I am speaking here of visual artists, not writers and poets. Some names, especially one, has become more acceptable by me but it does not describe what I do. That is the word "beat". For example, "beat" like "surrealism", was initially used as a way to identify a particular genre of writers. This earlier idea of surrealism included a small amount of visual artists like Salvador Dali. Dali, who I had the pleasure to know for a brief week in upper New York State, was viciously thrown out of the surrealist’s movement. Yet today, when the word surrealism is mentioned among most people, it is only Salvador Dali who is remembered. In fact, surrealism is only remembered among the masses of the world because of the painter and performance master Salvador Dali. During the period from the early 50’s until very recently, we, the visual creators from this "beat movement", have been both exploited and overlooked. Yet some how, I suppose because of the curiosity of the last two generations, more information about the visual artists was required. The paintings and sculptures were there, preserved through the desire of some very wise collectors and art patrons. Even by accident, some of these works of art became preserved anyway. And now, we have the internet, the greatest preserver and disseminator of all time. The internet now allows me to easily view on so many sites, in so many countries, and on so many continents my works of "vibrationsism".

Vibrationism has to do with the primary activity of our universe, which, simply put, is in constant motion. There is no thing that is not in motion. Vibration is the unending agitation of any form of matter from the formally immeasurable to the currently seeable. Vibration is a condition which is without beginning or end, a universal constant. Further, vibration is similar to a kind of writing in that its interaction with any other vibrating things causes patterns. Therefore, those that can detect the subtleties of this motion are also detecting its vibrations, giving birth and growth through interaction with an endless combination of other vibrations. We ourselves are vibration. Vibrational artists by the use of their art tend to define aspects of human motion on all levels, especially thought and the results of thought. As for myself, I have devoted my life to traveling around this planet, recording in paint and other materials individuals as well as whole societies in motion or vibration. I am accustomed to not only recording the vibration of the cultures in which I find myself, but also the vibrations of the individuals I find in those cultures. My work has to do with seeing and recording the truth as it appears to me, without the constant barrage of what we are made to think through everything from law to advertising. My paintings are similar in activity to the unknown Egyptian artists who recorded the serene vibration of the Nile lily extracting whatever mysterious substance it had by combination with the glass of wine. The only real knowledge that archeologists really know is that the effects of this lost substance on changing consciousness have been profound. Fortunately, for past and future generations, we do have the artist’s recording of their experience. And that is something great because it has recorded a vibration of humans who were, as everyone now knows, incredibly advanced. We do not know, even after much scientific inquiry and attempts to reproduce the extract of the Nile lily what the scientific effect was for these mysteriously serene people relaxing on the Nile. Only the artist has recorded this common act and thereby hint of the supreme tranquility that must be connected to those ancient images. Through the vibrationist movement, artists can at last stand up for themselves when they realize their power as a human individual. Vibrationists can collectively strike kindness in those corrupt rulers of the world when they attune themselves to the real vibrations and not the false ideas presented as truth. It is my belief that when this happens, freedom and a just way of life at last will come to us all.

Therefore, my work as a "mystic", "beat", and "vibrationist" continues. And by this statement I have written, I hope to awaken in others like myself, not only their potential, but what they are actually doing to reveal the truth and its incredible beauty and power to the rest of humanity.

Michael Bowen,

Somewhere in Europe

Copyright Michael Bowen and R.W. Bruch 2006