Art in Alternative Minds
We will only ever know what it’s like to be us. My thoughts are restricted by the things I have and haven’t experienced, as are yours. It’s human nature however, to be curious. How far can the mind’s function be warped and stretched beyond ‘normal?’ Art in Alternative Minds compiles and analyzes the most unique minds devoted to art, studying both voluntary and involuntary altered states of consciousness.
Normally, it takes decades to cultivate artistic skill; tedious studies, agonizing periods of creative block, and countless sleepless nights slaving over a project are almost a requirement for calling yourself an artist. Somehow, one person slipped through the cracks and exchanged the struggle for the greatest natural talent I’ve ever seen.
Akiane Kramarik was only eight years old when she created the painting to the left- “Prince of Peace.” At that point, she had only been making art for four years. While most kids were learning their times tables, she stayed home and became lost in her art. While this extra time for practicing helped, it would’ve been impossible for her to advance so quickly from square one. So, what’s her secret? Magic? Luck? God’s work?
Actually, that last one isn’t too far off. Akiane claims to draw her inspiration and talent from God himself. Born into a family of non-practicing Catholics, her parents were shocked by her immediate connection to religion. From an early age, she had visions of the face of Jesus Christ. From there, she painted him over and over, each rendition more and more lifelike. Her pious beliefs manifested in a strong motivation to create. To her, his mission for her was to interpret his image and imitate it in reality.
Her drive wasn’t only focused on his likeness. She expanded her talent to stunning imaginative works: fantasy landscapes; mesmerizing portraits, and photorealistic animals are all in her comfort zone. To me, the most enthralling aspect of her is her ability to render such lifelike images without a reference. “Prince of Peace” was born completely in her mind, as well as many of her landscapes. All of this, she attributes to God’s gift of artistic vision. Her ability to see, without seeing almost makes me wonder if she too has a sort of omnipotence.
At the age of eighteen, she’s still creating and only getting better. Although she’s moved away from painting Jesus, all of her work seems to have a godly connection.
Marie Cheng |’20