Animism & Artefacts are the foundational guiding themes of the 2nd year MA work. These themes are explored through the lens of migration-era Indo-European cultures which include the early Celtic and Norse. The cultures chosen were partially based on personal family ancestry, and also due to an interest in their intimate connection with the natural world, in which they acknowledged consciousness in myriad forms, both seen and unseen.
In practical terms, this exploration takes the form of carved and cast objects in wood, stone, metal and plaster, as well as watercolor paintings and drawings, with designs based on interlaced zoomorphic forms, geometric patterns and knotwork as expressed through Euro-Pagan cultural motifs. By working with traditional patterns and their underlying construction methods, a variety of styles and symbols are brought into focus, to be engaged with directly.
The intention is to create an opportunity to meditate freely upon the ancient artefacts, in hopes that they provide an insight through which to better understand the advanced craftsmanship and world views of our Indo-European ancestors, particularly related to their connection to myth and magic. These artworks are meant to be assembled into an altar, as an aid to ritual practice or as a focus for active contemplation. Through the sacred presence and invocational prowess of a practitioner, the objects may be infused with spiritual energy.
A further topic of investigation in the second year of the PFSTA MA programme explores v-incised letter carving in stone. This direction was supported by the opportunity to study stone carving and letter design with the master, Tom Perkins, and to connect with the lineage that revitalized the lettering arts revolution for the modern era in the west. Working with stone serves to develop a deep appreciation for the vast geological processes that were required to forge the material into being, resulting in enduring works of great longevity. It presents the challenge of sourcing ideal geological materials upon return home to the American mountains. A number of carvings were incised into native Colorado sandstone, others were executed on Vermont slate, marble, limestone, dolomite and other stones. The medium of letter carving in stone impresses upon the artist the gravity and potential impact of their chosen incision. Stone, as an enduring carved monument, translates today’s sentiments through time to be received by future generations. Therefore, if one is to engage with these tools and materials, it is critical to create works that stand up to the test of time, both in terms of technique and inspiration.
Finally, a number of related drawings and paintings on paper complete the MA presentation. Drawing on Celtic patterns, zoomorphic motifs and geometrical proportion, these paintings and drawings provide a complementary balance to the solidity of the three-dimensional work. These works are literal and symbolic portals, metaphors for the initiation of a spiritual journey where each step leads toward liberation.
David Heskin is largely a self-taught artist who eventually sought out training in a variety of traditional painting lineages prior to attending the MA programme at The Prince's Foundation School of Traditional Arts. His interests are in synthesizing tradition with innovation in the spirit of a true artistic polymath.