My latest NFT from the collection "A Play on Light", available at NFT Showroom.
Forged in fires beneath my feet; quartz and feldspar. Into sandstone, quarried on the hill. Hewn into knuckles by my Viking ancestors, shaped and stacked; a fortress on the sea.
Add this piece to your collection: https://nftshowroom.com/mattbrown.art/gallery/mattbrown.art_a-play-on-light_clagh-gheinnee
Resolution: 8000 x 3667 px
Tools: GNU Image Manipulation Program
Edition size: 10
The air is fresh. Fresh off the sea from who knows where, and with briny notes drift sounds of fishing boats, gulls and the endless meeting of sea against rock. Silently, a cormorant races along, just inches above the surface - like cormorants have done for all time.
I walk around the Viking castle near my home and climb the cliff-side steps. For a millennium these walls have withstood the force of all that nature could throw, but it’s king has fallen, and the Kingdom of the Isles that once stretched from here to Norway is long since lost. Like a loyal Elkhound this stone hulk watches the horizon for its master to return.
I see sandstone blocks as large as a cars, I picture them being dragged by hand to make a fortress. I lean against one and join in watching the horizon, feeling the heat of the castle’s hide seep into my back.
I think about the grizzled mass of castle. The quartz and feldspar of the sandstone was forged thousands of miles beneath my feet in glowing igneous rivers - the heat of which I cannot comprehend. Angry, violent heat left over from the planitesimals that conjoined to form the earth. In graceful convective arcs, the liquid rock took eons to reach the surface; cooling gently, solidifying, crystallizing - escaping Hell to reach the surface.
The Vikings called their underworld Hel-heim, residing deep beneath the ground. I wonder, as they quarried these fists of stone, whether they thought about the dead souls that dwell there, toiling away at the subterranean furnaces to produce the raw materials for their living descendants. Did they see the fingerprints, the scratch marks of their ancestors?
On the wall I look at the chisel-marks, the careful placement, the mortar made from crushed limy seashells. I think of my mother’s maiden name Scarffe - Norse for “cormorant” and feel a connection. I am a link in a chain.
I go home and reflect. I myself have forged a thing. Not of stone, but a memory of synapse and impulse. A facsimile of sandstone, and of castle, and of ancestor thinking of ancestor. With miraculous tools worthy of Asgard I construct an image of light. I bend the light, I coax it and mold it as I roll these things about in my mind. And like Loki I am weaving light so as to trick the eye into believing something else. An idea.
This image of light connects me now to the castle and the sandstone and the centre of the earth. Contained somewhere in this luminous fabric lies a thread that stretches back to my walk, back to the castle, to the Vikings and their quarry, to the underworld of their ancestors and of the Earth’s mantle.
The light of my image comes from excited electrons releasing their energy. Energy that was forged inside a star long before humans had left the trees. Each of these photons had taken millions of years to work its way up towards the surface of the sun, before making the eight-minute hop to our planet, possibly during the Cretaceous period. Now through the arrangement of those photons, the pattern has become information and meaning - which can be reduced and folded into ones and zeros and delivered at the speed of light to any place in the world.
As I write these words, those digits have spread like pollen on electric winds, and are now in some other form, in some other place. Forked into your mind as an image; an emotional response, an idea. Now you too are connected to the unending thread - the ones, the zeros, the electrons, the photons, the sun, my mind, my walk, the castle, the Vikings, the sandstone, the centre of the earth, the embers of planet-forming fires.
What are we to make of this thread, and how might it be woven next?
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.
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.