Somewhere right this second, a disc of fiery dust is just beginning to coalesce to form a proto-planetary system. In about five billion years, sapient life will exist there, and an artist will create a work that depicts a distant, ancient planet that has long since gone. Though separated by time and space, both these pieces are twinned.
Format: Digital painting
Resolution: 8000 x 3667 px
Tools: GNU Image Manipulation Program
NFT edition size: 10
Woo hoo! This is my first ever NFT artwork (and my first blog post on Hive!). I’m so excited about this project. It’s been a long time, but I’m finally returning to some serious art again after taking time out to renovate a house and start a family. The truth is, my daughters’ smiles will forever be my greatest achievement, but being able to make art again is just the icing on the cake :)
The vastness of space and time is almost impossible to fully comprehend. The sheer number of stars out there is utterly staggering. More stars than all the grains of sand on earth. Just think of that for a moment...
I live on an island and I am surrounded by beaches, and I look at just one stretch of beach (e.g. Kirk Michael beach below) and trying to behold the number of grains in any kind of meaningful way is beyond my ability.
There are stars beginning and ending their story all of the time. Most of those have planets orbiting them, but some are only just beginning the process of accumulating their surrounding dust clouds and molding them into a proto-planetary disc.
There’s one such star system, somewhere out there, perhaps five billion light years away, where life will soon be starting out on a fledgling planet. Here on Earth, it’s taken life 4.5 billion years to evolve to the point where sapient beings populate the planet. Which means that if I were to send a sufficiently strong radio signal today, then perhaps there might be someone on that distant planet to receive it by the time it reaches the system. If I’m very lucky.
Now, unfortunately I don’t have a powerful radio transmitter, but I do have a brain, and my brain uses electrical impulses, and electrical impulses give out faint but perceptible electromagnetic signals. In this vein, whilst I can’t send a radio signal I can, technically, send an idea.
Of course, I'm not suggesting anyone can read my thoughts at a distance - the electromagnetic fluctuations caused by my own thoughts will be extremely weak, and will very soon melt into the background of space, and even if this were not the case, to unpick my thoughts from the tumult of everyone else’s and then decode them into something legible would be virtually impossible. But...
But that doesn’t mean that they don’t exist. They do exist, and they are at this very moment rippling out at the speed of light (as are yours), in an ever increasing sphere. And perhaps the very fact that this is so, is enough. Because if I can arrive at this idea, then so can someone else - very far away.
Often, I have watched from the clifftops and looked out at the sea. Waves carrying wavelets, carrying ripples, carrying the most imperceptible and complex undulations, impossible to understand their provenance. Despite this, I wonder whether somewhere amongst all that chaos there might be the faint echo of a child’s splashing on a far-away shore.
The idea that our whole life - our actions, thoughts and feelings - is indelibly written into the background of space is a beguiling one. There are times when I look up to the sky and imagine I can make out my dad’s “life-track”, and it comforts me. He died five years ago, which means his last few thoughts will have recently passed Alpha Centauri and will now be fast approaching Barnard’s Star.
Like the day when he was so sick he could not feed himself, and I fed him apple crumble. He was too weak to speak, but he managed to wink at me in that paternal way that makes you laugh again like a child. What he was thinking in that moment may always be a secret, but at least I know where it is.
So perhaps, out there, in five billion years time, there will be an artist who has the same notion as me, and imagines the faint undulations of my own thoughts as I worked on this piece of art and wondered about her planet. And she in turn may work on a piece based on her musings about this planet, which may, by then, have long since gone.
It might be a flight of fancy, but the universe is an incomprehensibly large place, and perhaps this piece of art is twinned with another - somewhere and somewhen.
I’m a Manx artist, living on the Isle of Man – a beautiful island in the Irish Sea.
I’ve been creating art for many years. My work can be found hanging on walls in Manhattan, Tokyo, London, Abu Dhabi, Madrid and even at sea on a US Navy warship!
You can see more of my work at my site.
The title of my pieces are written in Manx Gaelic – the language of my island.
YOU DESERVE A BREAK
Take five minutes out of your day to stop and reflect. Art is like a portal, it can transport your mind away from the relentless stress of everyday life and give you the space to experience something profound.
I invite you to stop everything- everything – just for five minutes. Stare at some art (and I mean really stare), and open up your mind to feeling and thinking whatever floats to the surface.
I’m always surprised at how powerful this can be. Finding art that really resonates with you, that speaks to you, is one of the most profound things a human mind can experience. It can lead to insights about yourself, life, and existence in general.
Go on, try it! And if you like, you can let me know what you experience.
GET IN TOUCH
Art is all about communication and I’d love to hear your thoughts on my work, or art in general – why not head over to Twitter and drop my a line? Or leave a comment below.