When I started this project back in April 2021 I had no expectations of where it would go nor what additional side benefits would come of it. I merely wished to have a place to express myself, uncensored and free of the restrictions of what other folks that know me would think.
I'm now 14 months in. I have painted regularly and consistently, created more works than I ever have before (although I'd love to be able to paint faster) and am constantly surprising myself by producing images of scenes, costumes and characters that I never realised were inside of my head.
And along the way I accidentally discovered a method of unlocking such imagery.
In summer 2021, I found myself mentally exhausted by the constant cycles of terrorising fear-based propaganda being pushed at us by the UK government - I felt the need to keep informed, not only by keeping an eye on the official propagandist line in the mainstream but also from the sceptical, science-based critics whose voices were being silenced and censored across multiple platforms. I had spent two years angry - angry at the irrational nonsense being forced onto the population by governments held hostage to corporate interests and the constant erosion of hard-won freedoms that seemingly most people were happy to give up.
I needed a way to cleanse my brain, to get a respite from my anger and outrage and so hopped onto YouTube and found a random guided meditation to see if that would work. It did - for at least 20 or 30 minutes I found myself relaxed and discovering a happy place away from the barrage of noise. Within a few days I decided to make it a daily practice and found myself every morning taking a little vacation inside my head, letting the world disappear.
I did some reading up on the health benefits of meditation and discovered that due to neuro-plasticity, regular meditation can have profound effects on the way we think, handle stress and can generally make life better. (I never knew this before - meditation, to me, was a nice, luxury practice, if you had the time to do it - I hadn't realised it actually rewires your brain in significant ways!)
So I continued to meditate and at some point I connected the sensation of freedom, focus and pleasure that I experienced during meditation with the exact same sense of 'being in the moment' that comes with my experiences of fetish play - the world drops away and all there is is sensation - not thinking about the past, unable to think into the future - just being with the moment. Having made that connection myself I sought to find if anyone else who enjoys being wrapped up and bound in rubber, had made a similar leap of logic. I found very little, except for an interview with artist Damcho Dyson who spent time as a Buddhist nun and then discovered the world of latex fetishism.
That little interview told me that there was something in this - and that unwittingly a lot of people who enjoy the isolation and restriction of rubber are likely putting themselves in meditation practice without even realising it.
Reassured, I continued my daily practice and tried to see if I could put it to use. Using 'vanilla' guided meditations from YouTube and being instructed to imagine a garden, I found mine populated by bizarre fetish-clad characters, or when asked to visualise a room where I might feel safe, my mind would immediately reach for a cosy, darkened room, smelling of latex and adorned with all manner of interesting furnishings, implements and characters.
So I began to put a sketchbook at my side and the moment I finished my morning practice, noted down or roughly sketched the things I'd seen during my time.
Increasingly, now, nearly 12-months in, I'm actively using mediation to help me reveal scenes from my subconscious, and would say that the greater part of my output recently has come directly from my imagination, fully-formed while letting my mind roam free.
It does mean that my descriptions of how I found inspiration for the images when I post them to social media are becoming a little routine 'here's a thing that came into my mind during meditating' but what is proving such a revelation to me is there seems to be an increasing number of images the likes of which I haven't quite seen before.
In recent days I've also become aware of the writings of Ataraxis whose blog documents his years of exploration of meditation and latex. It would seem that there are more of us 'rubbernauts' out there.
(All of the images accompanying this post were painted after they emerged fully-formed in my mind during meditation.)