Behind the Art: Featuring Anaximander and the Mystery Achievements

I’ve always been fascinated by the big questions of life -- the nature of the human race, why we are here in the first place and where we are going.

I consider myself a deeply spiritual person, and for that reason, I think a lot about the nature of the human race and the world around us.

Moreover, I believe that we are here for a purpose, one that remains deeply mysterious, and that it is our duty to extend our intelligence as much as we can here on Earth — and well beyond. Are you listening Jeff and Elon?

It might not be obvious at first, but a lot of those ideas are embedded in my painting “Featuring Anaximander And the Mystery Achievements.”

This piece began as part of my Spirits of Babylon series in which I riff off on Covid masks and “social distancing.” To my way of thinking, these were symbolic of a larger dynamic: our profound need to communicate with each other and to find love and meaning, blocked by physical masks and the distance we had to keep.

For Anaximander, I turned to the days when I studied philosophy in college.

Anaximander was an early Greek philosopher that few today know about but he had a huge impact on the rise of Western enlightenment and its scientific and mathematical achievements.

He postulated The Big Idea: that the first living creatures on Earth emerged from water and that man came from creatures other than humans. He drew what is considered the first map and also charted the heavens.

The Mystery Achievements in the painting’s title refers to an old Pretenders song from their first album. What I am trying to say here is that our knowledge of the world around us -- anatomy, physics, chemistry, astronomy, math, computers and more -- have come a long way.

And yet, much of life, its very nature, remains a mystery to us all…

This painting features two Easter Island totems standing guard as it were at the edge of the ocean, the end of the world as it were, and they wear stoic, almost comical expressions. To my way of thinking, they reference ancient civilizations.

They are flanked on each side by the amorphous characters who appear in the Babylon series. Once again, they have their arms outstretched with beams of light coming out of their hands, signifying to me our deepest desire to communicate and to cross the massive divides between us today.

If you have a moment, please take a look at the Behind the Art video that accompanies this article. In that video discuss the orb that is sending down (or is it receiving, or both?) DNA into the ocean. I also discuss the meaning of the infinity symbol and the representation of a signal beacon to and from Earth in the upper left of the painting as well as the significance of the number 11:11.

Look at the image and watch a video where I explain all the elements of the piece.