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Before the limitations of dualistic thinking, many or most cultures did not readily differentiate between real and imagined worlds. For most people, what lay over the horizon remained unknown and undesirable at best. Unearthly and unutterable at worst.
Dualistic thought processes eventually gave mankind the polarized concepts of good and evil (God and devil), heaven and hell, life and death, black and white. Yet, before this, a dreamed place was an insight into a real ‘otherworldly’ place, populated by real people and real but perplexing creatures. There was no derogatory concept of ‘imagination’: Dreams were simply visions of another realm. In many cultures, the most respected and knowledgeable individuals in their tribes were the shamans, visionaries, and seers. These were individuals with a more acute ability to see and interpret the reality beyond the tangible. Only centuries later did this wholly natural and acceptable ability become described as supernatural.
It was this less literal mindset that gave us our folklore and legends. Tales and stories handed down in written and oral traditions over centuries. Stories of gods and monsters from exotic lands and ethereal planes. Strange tales from strange places.
In our modern era, these fanciful concepts have become labelled fantasy, fiction, and surrealism. They are still an important part of our human condition and culture, even though we are ever more hard wired into a very dualistic empirical world. I paint these strange worlds and characters to evoke wonder, awe, and, maybe, fear. Perhaps also to ignite the tiny ember of a story not yet fully imagined. As a creative person, I am driven to tell stories and, perhaps, create a form of folklore.