Art as Spellcraft
Senior thesis, multimedia, research

My thesis was initially inspired by a comment from writer and occultist Alan Moore (Watchmen, V for Vendetta, Swamp Thing), who believes that:

"magic is art, and that art, whether that be music, writing, sculpture, or any other form, is literally magic. Art is, like magic, the science of manipulating symbols, words, or images, to achieve changes in consciousness"

I deeply investigated the connection between art and magic, with the goal learning some new information to incorporate into a project of my own design.

Going down this rabbit-hole had me cross many infamous creatives and spiritualists such as Aleister Crowley, Grant Morrison, William S. Burroughs, Brion Gysin, Phil Hine, Peter Carrol, and Austin Spare. I discovered that in the 1920's, surrealist artist and spiritualist Austin Spare had invented a style of manifesting one's desire through semiotic design which came to be known as called "sigil magic". These sigil designs, representing the artist's desired outcomes, became a staple in post-modern spiritualism, witchcraft, and chaos magic.

From there, I focused on sigil magic and chaos magic, having found a format of literally magical artwork. I designed 9 sigils focused on aspects of positive self-change that resonated with me personally, such as motivation, creativity, and mental health.

For display, I made an art installation that incorporated gesso paintings with laser-cuts. The painting was used to simulate dark scars, representing negative self-image, from which the bright laser-cut sigils spring forth in an optimistic fashion.

This installation was paired with a book documenting process and explanation. To download the full PDF of this book, click here.

Student project.