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Reply To: Art and the Artist’s Psyche


A little addendum: in Lecture II.2.2 of the Joseph Campbell Audio Collection (titled “Hermes, Alchemy, and the Voyage of Ulysses), Campbell notes the following:

In the frame of the canvas, the painter paints. And you look at a painter’s work, you see certain painters tend to certain colors. Others stick to other colors. These colors are projections of the spiritual inflections and moods of the artist himself. He can’t in some cases make it any differently. I remember one artist who was a student of a friend of mine, young girl, her paintings were all extremely dark, extremely dark, and she could never bring herself to paint any other kind of thing, and within three years she had died of a cancer that she didn’t  know she had. I mean death was right there in her canvas. And then you’ll see suddenly the painter’s style changes, his whole psychology has changed, and the colors change. He has projected his psyche into the frame, into the colors.”

Here Campbell is addressing exactly the same unconscious dynamic manifesting in my friend Chris’ art!

(Great example of synchronicity as well; I was searching this lecture for references to following one’s bliss, when I stumbled across this snippet.)