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Confetti Pattern

Dan Collins

Since 2021

Has been with us-


My current practice is focused on creating totemic representations of words through
shamanic calligraphy. To achieve this, I have stripped my palette down to three
powerful colours; red, white, black. These colours make me think of cave paintings,
tribal wood carvings, totem poles, and other ancient artistic practices imbued with
mystery and magical symbolism. For me, they represent the primal forces of birth,
life, death, and everything in between. Using them is like painting with earth, fire,
blood, bone, water, air, to bring the words to life.
This simple decision about colour frees me to focus on the dynamism of form and
movement in my intuitive reactions to a word or phrase, and allows me to be playful
and experimental with the shape of the letters and the essence of the words. I feel
that when my word-paintings are finished, I have been through a kind of ritual,
meditating on the shadows at the back of Plato’s cave and perhaps daring to peek
over my shoulder at the reality that creates those shadows. I feel that the finished
piece of work has become an almost magical, shamanic talisman, created from the
spirits inhabiting the words as well as my own body and soul.
One common theme in all of my shamanic calligraphy is the idea of the power
behind words. Words have so much force, energy, influence, whether spoken, written
or even thought. My paintings are my intuitive response to how I feel about the words
in question. The interplay of shape and form is my attempt to respond to the energy
within the words, the meanings, connections, inferences, and moods.
I have absorbed a lot of artistic influences from around the world, including early
British artistic traditions such as spiral-making. I am especially interested in finding
the universality of symbols and shapes across cultures in my attempt to strip these
paintings right back to a kind of shared ancestral language of the cave at the dawn of

Although shared conventions are of course useful in language, I also like to playfully
challenge conventions of reading and writing, as I think letters can become beautiful
abstract objects if we free ourselves from the usual school-taught constraints of
writing and reading. I like it when people enjoy my paintings as abstract pieces
without realising they contain letters and words.

Instagram : @yelsk67


Moving to Assembly House has given me validation and affirmation as an artist. It’s a
beautiful place where I can feel inspired, supported, and part of a collective effort to
bring more creativity to the world. I always leave after a day in my studio feeling
energised and creatively motivated, and that's priceless.

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