For years I have been drawing the same images over and over: interconnected human faces. Sometimes they emerge as doodles, sometimes as complex compositions, sometimes as archetypal or godlike forms. I have attempted to understand why these images have been so omnipresent, and at times haunting, in my artwork. Over time, I have applied myth to try and understand them, much like humankind has done since it's existence. The following is an art-based mythology that I have used to enhance my understanding of my own work. To this day, I cannot completely quantify my many deities, phantoms, and harbingers. This exploration, however, has provided me a context in which to better discuss and explore them.
[elder god] is without a name. It is massive in the way you may think of planets as massive, it lumbers/drifts slowly through space. If you could compare its motion to that of a living creature, it would feel most like that of a whale. [elder god] is an incomplete approximation of life. It is unclear what [elder god] would look like if it were whole, though its structure implies a fusion of humanoid and insect. [elder god] is power without purpose. It is unclear whether or not [elder god] has any consciousness at all. When [elder god] comes into contact with a sentient being, the being may be ignored or simply blinked out of existence seemingly at random. [elder god] is surrounded by two-dimensional fragments of prismatic light. They bob and spin like fish food flakes sprinkled into a bowl of water.
One is the first truly sentient deity. She is shimmering, bronze, and strikingly beautiful. Being truly alone, she has no idea how to respond to yet-to-exist deities and has little sense of self. Therefore, she simultaneously seeks and hides from attention. While she has a powerful desire for connection, fear and apprehension prevents her from reaching out. As she adapted to her existence, silken vaporous stands of hair began to form around her. Luminous: they attract the attention of other beings. Although they draw others in, they also shield and obscure her. However beautiful she may appear, she is totally unattainable. Having never interacted with any other form of life for eons, her useless eyes have long since shut. Gazing upon her, despite the fact that her eyes are closed, it seems as though she is looking directly at you. She is the inept mother and idealized lover all in one desperate form.
Two attempted to solve the problems endured by One by willing itself a partner. Unfortunately, this duality led to a new set of problems. Eternally connected, the two wills find themselves in constant conflict. The lack of resolution between the opposing desires has created an eternal state of inertia. Two finds itself so at odds with itself that it can hardly function despite its immense power.
Three attempted to solve the problems endured by Two. The central form created two mates to share its power. With three wills, there could always be a majority so that true decisions could be possible. Unfortunately, the wills share too much. The central form shares an eye with each mate. It is dependent on them to see and interact, yet they depend on him for a sense of foundation and stability. Should either side of Three decide to make a decision, it brings the deity out of balance entirely. Three suffers from the same impotent inertia as One and Two.
Four: The Mundane
In an attempt to eradicate the problems encountered by Three, Four rejected variation. A single form and vision is shared by all aspects of Four. Although Four existed before all biological life forms, the collapsed time line of a god allowed Four to borrow from future events in biology (cell division) to achieve its desire for uniformity. Essentially, the first aspect of Four cloned an exact copy of itself by splitting its essence in two. Additional splits occurred in order to arrive at the final form of Four. The individual aspects hold together through physical joins of will. As Four's desire to maintain uniformity and stability while avoiding conflict, its resources are perpetually consumed and it does not extent its influence beyond itself. Four is the physical manifestation of the status quo. Although it experiences no internal conflict, it is unable and unwilling to connect with anything beyond itself resulting in the same impotence of the other deities.
Five was disgusted by the banality of Four. Rather than rejecting variation, Five rejects cohesion. All aspects of Five spread apart forming a five-pointed star (a symbol of creativity). Each aspect, facing a different direction comprehends 1/5th of all possible information. Each aspect is enamored with its own view, believing that it has the answers to all questions. Should the aspects combine or communicate with one another, they would encompass all wisdom in the universe. Philosophers trapped in a dreamy opium haze, they can do nothing with their individual knowledge and lack the desire to collaborate with others. Five is just as impotent as all deities that came before it.
Six: The Chaos Wheel
Six bears resentment and disdain for the passive masturbatory wisdom of Five. Six takes the form of a wheel with each aspect sharing one bond. The aspects of Six are spiteful and self-important, each believing itself to be the dominant component of the whole. The motivation for dominance causes each aspect to fight for the highest point in the circle. As each aspect is equivalent to the others in power, the wheel perpetually spins. Six is chaos and destruction, consuming itself along with any being in its path. Its internal conflict precludes it from achieving any influence beyond its own internal struggle.
In an attempt to solve the problems faced by all other deities, Seven arranges itself in vertical linear segment. All aspects, comprising both male and female, spin around the segment and constantly rearrange themselves in different hierarchies. Imagine the column as a drill bit in constant motion. The perpetual motion allows each aspect to witness all possible information from all possible viewpoints. This information is shared with itself, making it the wisest of all deities. Seven appears to be a column of fire as its movement is too fast to comprehend with mortal eyes. The image of seven distinct aspects is the purely theoretical, a static snapshot frozen in time. Seven is the light bringer and the destroyer. The functional cohesion of Seven elevates it to the status of a true god and it is therefore incomprehensible to all other forms of life. This prevents Seven from having any true direct influence over mortals outside of conjecture and the limited understanding of imperfect beings. Like a “bug zapper” at a family bar-b-q, beings are drawn close to it, but will be completely destroyed by contact. Therefore, Seven's status as a true god removes it from mortal understanding just as the other deities.
Eight and all other numbers above Seven: Messengers
Any combination of faces beyond the magical arrangement of One through Seven are mutations. They are cut off from the power wielded by the dominant deities. Ironically, the lack of divine power allows them to interact with their environment more effectively. The Mutations are Hermes to Zeus; Gabriel to the Judea-Christian God; Mohammad to Allah; Jesus to the Christian God. They are the electrical signals between the synapses that are the dominant deities. As such, they relay messages from the deities to mortals or other beings. Although the deities are incapable to direct communication with one another, it is the job of the Mutations to understand their relationships. They lack the symmetry and beauty of the deities. The Mutations are most connected to One: the Mother/Lover and revere her above all others. Anything close to a true understanding of the deities comes from the Mutations. They are the divine hand of the gospel and the gaps between Insecurity, Conflict, Instability, Uniformity, Creativity, Chaos, and Power. They embody suffering, joy, love, adaptability, and the synthesis of wisdom.