BUCKLEY is a visual philosopher. Her works manifest in varied forms, including: drawings, paintings, sculpture, performance, poetry, and experiential events. Through each medium, she reveals the mythology of an enlightened society. A synthesis of modern voicing and ancient forms, Buckley’s works traverse the symbolic and timeless experiences of self, prompting conscious contemplation of inner life. Buckley’s stream of consciousness process creates a sense of instant action which can be felt immediately in her glyph-like imagery; its lines exact and seemingly completed in one stroke. Her interplay of form and space are as honest and direct as instinct. Rather than dictating the complexities of reality, Buckley’s inclination towards simplicity invites the viewer to deploy their own facilities of reason, intuition and reflection.
As part of Lani Trock’s Muse series, Lani caught up with Buckley to shoot her in her studio and discuss her practice.
How did you enter into an art practice and from within that context, how do you embody the role of visual philosopher?
I entered into my art practice in the context of curiosity and also mindlessness, meaning, I wandered in. The true beginnings of my art making had to be retold to me by a distant relative who had clear memories of me drawing women since I was very young. Without that reminder, I didn't recall starting to draw until high school. I suppose it was always a subconscious conversation with myself. And now that my practice is conscious, I make work to have conversations with others' subconscious minds. As far as the external embodiment of the role, Visual Philosopher, I believe that comes down to responsibility for and consideration of what's being said in the work. What I share visually are a collection of theories and concepts which must have a consistent messaging and intrinsically support what I'd like to propagate in the world. This is a much longer topic, explaining the historical function of philosophers in society, but to show someone a thought about the nature of things or their potential, creates myriad possibilities for their implementation. For the internal embodiment of the role, I must immerse myself with what inspires, fascinates and captivates me. My job is to continue picking up the thread of that original curiosity which wandered me toward my work in the first place.
Describe your relationship to poetry, sketching, titling and writing. How have you seen the work expand through these modalities to more fully express its larger narrative, and unique collection of recurring themes?
My relationship to each of those practices serves as a digestive system for my ("capital-W") Work. The sketching happens first; always in stream of consciousness, a movement meditation for the hand while my mind continues to trail off in endless thought. Many pages of sketches go by and most often, when I'm finished drawing I close the book without review. I fill sketchbooks and create a stack of completed ones which eventually become cumbersome, and then I know it's time to archive. The archiving process is often the first time I've truly seen each drawing. Usually my archive stack is 100+ drawings, so I've developed a relationship to Titling which is a high-speed, intuitive essence scanning of each piece, where an instant one line/one word poem emerges when I take a moment to fully consider the message of the piece before me. Titling is so special to me for this reason. It is a conscious communion with my channel, the chance to step into clarity and see what the center of myself says when I let her do the talking.
Poetry and Writing live on another, more robust side of that digestive system. Poetry lives before or during Painting, and Writing lives after Painting. If Sketching and Titling is digesting vegetables, Poetry, Painting and Writing are the meat, cheese, bread. Poetry is my muse, it was my first muse, and it is what makes me a muse. My relationship to it is most clear when I am telling myself the fullest truth, even just for the moment of calling in/landing the poem. There is a parting of energy that happens around me in the space of delivering a poem. Writing is an extension of Titling, and serves as my reflective dissection of themes and concepts discussed in the work, but with a much richer and more thorough examination.
The relationship I have to each connects the disparate practices back to the nucleus of my studies, which is some combination of discovering the essence of my Work/Self and facilitating a functional reengineering of our society to a higher frequency of harmony for all.
What do you feel is the role of the artist in the evolution of society?
To name a few:
The artist asks questions and reacts where another accepts facts.
The artist creates worlds rather than accepting the one explained to them.
The artist builds positive disruptions versus maintaining status quo.
Inherently these are all functions of mutation, which is a mandatory aspect of evolution. Artists aide us in mutating thought through the divergent process of creative expression. They lubricate the imaginative, emotional faculties which would otherwise atrophy from the rigid, polar landscape of our cognitive/intellectual modes of operating.
In the last year, your work dramatically shifted in scale. how did this expansion shape the evolution of your process and the work itself?
Almost every large-scale job I did last year was done in a time-crunch, which alone conditioned me for a great acceleration in my evolution. When I didn't have time to worry about how to do something gigantic, full of very site-specific obstacles, sometimes physically precarious, I had to tap into absolute execution mode, the make-it-happen mentality. Bigger budgets, higher stakes, more visibility, it all comes without the option to quit or deliver anything less than the very best work I can give in that moment. To go from 11 public murals and several large paintings / varied projects last year, to the first weeks of this year spent alone in my apartment in front of canvases, surrounded by time, creature comforts and painting for the sake of painting... I have slowly and clearly unraveled the new growth in this reflection time. Doing large-scale work in a high-volume over a short period of time took away all of the fear I used to have about starting a painting. Of course, the sheer number of hours put in also greatly refined my technique. Additionally, I made a point to take advantage of each job by trying different styles on every wall I did last year, so I definitely brought home an arsenal of not only new voices to explore, but with the practice of experimenting in more demanding circumstances, I cut out the fear of risk-taking altogether. My appetite, as with most creatives, for personal validation of output and progress, is bottomless, and to have a busy year of making a lot of "mission-impossible" work, really quieted those aspects of me that needed proof of whether I'm capable, driven, worthy or talented enough to make masterpieces. And now that I've overcome that initiation of large-scale, I can comb into the deeper more refined layers of nuance toward my question of what truly makes a work of art a masterwork.
What are your wildest dreams for 2019 and highest vision for the future, both personal and universal?
I will distill 2019 for myself and speak of general future for universal..
My wildest dreams for 2019 personally:
to be instrumental in the implementation of one positive societal progression
to make, sell and exhibit masterful paintings
to be in highest alignment with my mind, body, creator, & essence
to be surrounded by, and surrounding others in love, respect and inspiration
to commune with the natural world everyday
For future universally:
the sacred masculine rises to gracefully initiate and integrate the feminine to where it is missing
energetic masculine and feminine balance to create a society of united strengths and supported differences
all basic needs are met for all people
nature is reintegrated into the most fundamental fabric of human daily life and value system
humanity's highest goals are all related to the mutually beneficial evolution of a symbiotic advancement of Earth and all sentient beings
curiosity and innovation for progress of overall physical, mental and spiritual health are at the core of every institution
children and elders hold leadership positions throughout the world
Community is a grouping of individual and unique offerings harmonized to collectively support and develop shared interests and values.