We are humbled to be featuring one of the most touching psychedelic visionaries, sharing of her transcendental and experiential artistic influences, manifested in the process of deeply elevated devotional painting, she opens up about.
Katia Honor’s expression on canvas is an intricate reproduction of her spiritually rich awareness for the internal, intertwined with a gasp of visual calm, following from the deep trance state. Describing herself as etheogen-oriented artist, she is creating beauty in composition, which speaks of gentle personal tranquility, unmasked from the external, but composed purely by her own spiritual nourishing.
Can you tell us who is Katia Honour?
Katia Honour is an Australian visionary art painter, fascinated by esoteric philosophy, transcendent states and beauty.
How did you discover that you have a talent for painting? Do you remember your first art piece?
My first art piece was as small as 15 x 10cm, called "Breathe"- painted on my lap after my first ayahuasca ceremony. I had been suffering trauma from a serious accident and my doctor suggested I should draw, knit or paint when I felt dissociated. After the shamanic healing, I was seriously ungrounded, so I took their advice and tried to paint the feeling. I could visualize images with my eyes closed, and then imitate what I see by smudging paint around. For the first two years, I'd often close my eyes and ask the spirit to move the brush for me and show me what to do.
What is the biggest all-time influence on your work?
When Alex Grey noticed and exhibited my work in his 2011 Australian tour, he changed my life forever. He introduced me to the term "visionary art" and led me into a movement, populated with so many wonderful artists. Since then, Wolfgang Widmoser and Michael Fuchs have become like a family to me and influenced me to adopt Old Masters methods like mischtechnik, decalcomania and sfumato.
Ultimately, true, good and beautiful philosophies are the biggest influences on my work and the reason why I paint overall.
You speak of transcendental states and devotional painting. Can you tell us a bit more about this expression of mind and how this is reflected in your work?
By transcendental states, I mean altered states of consciousness with an elevated heart and spirit. My favorites ones are ecstatic states and oceanic bliss. So, those are often themes reflected in my art. Shamanic ceremonies have been very influential in achieving these states, but I also regularly enter trance by chanting and being involved in pagan ritual, hindu pujas, tantra or ceremonial magic. Sometimes falling in, or out of love also inspires the kind of states that urge me to create an artwork.
I am referred to as a "visionary artist" and I identify as an entheogen-oriented artist. Yet, my style is not as trippy as that of my fellow artists. Perhaps, this is because I find peak psychedelic experiences visually chaotic, and often unpleasant. Instead, I focus on and paint the peaceful feelings and messages that come when the visuals calm down. I deliberately embellish the vision by applying old masters laws of beauty and composition, so that people who are not psychonauts can still enjoy and relate to my art. And, more importantly, when my work is shown at festivals to people who are dealing with their own visual disturbances, it is easier on their eyes, and inspires uplifting thoughts.
The way I practice devotional painting is by starting to meditate on a subject or theme. This is often a vision- received from a transcendental experience.
I take time and care to document a vision in the same way that some people use a dream diary to record and decipher their visions.
The more I document what I recall, the more it reveals itself. The sheer act of painting takes me into a light trance state and from there, the details and meaning unfurls as I paint them.
Are you ever deprived of inspiration?
Well, most of 2020 was spent alone in a one-bedroom apartment in Melbourne, and I was only allowed to walk or shop 1 hour a day. Inspiration was low, especially as I have a personal commitment to only paint uplifting subject matter. I was afraid lest my mind spirals down or my art is a downer to look at. With no new experiences in 2020 to inspire me, I felt nostalgic and made revised versions of artworks that I had painted years ago. I was impressed by Moreau's many versions of Salome and all the hours of devotion he gave to perfect his subject.
What do you use for your inspiration in that case?
I often go 'beauty-hunting' and deliberately try to find something spiritually nourishing to seed a new artwork.
It can be kindness, mercy, passion, a spiritual ceremony, or just a twisted tree resembling an angel that is dancing in the wind.
Sometimes, I take a long hot bath and get lost in my thoughts until something interesting arises. At other times, I just start by making a random decalcomia pattern on a gesso panel and scry into it until an image appears in the chaos (like a Rorschach inkblot test) and paint what comes up (see Plato's Cave).
Do you have any other artistic talents or interests?
Philanthropy is important to me, so I founded "Ecstatic Arts" not-for-profit incorporated association to support artists, lost trades and singing circles. Mostly, we host events and share what we love as a community. In 2012, the Visionary Art Atelier was created to bring master art courses to Australia and we have since hosted artist-in-residence programs with Michael Fuchs, David Heskins and Aloria Weaver, Daniel Mirante, Leo Plaw, Adam Scott-Miller, Rubinov Jacobsen, Wolfgang Widmoser, Kuba Ambrose and many more.
Do you make plans for the future and how do you see your work developing over time?
Can anyone make plans in this weird year? My interests and aesthetic taste are becoming more philosophical and abstract, and less spiritually illustrative. Today I began a new work about quiet self-reflection vs. social facades, which may be a new direction, or maybe it is just a passing fascination.
I am also enjoying digitally modifying old artworks, printing on canvas and hand painting the final layers. Truth be told, I really dislike canvas reproductions because they seem like a fake painting and always lack the lush pigment. Hand touch that makes a painting feels alive. Yet, people request to buy them. So, I have compromised… As a mischtechnik (mixed technique) painter, it suits my style to layer oils, tempera and glaze in a way that completely covers the canvas and makes a more real painting. It took a while to explore with materials to get it right, but now I can revisit early artworks and make them look how I wish I had painted them in the first place.
I'm unsure where to draw the line on artistic integrity when it is not really an original or a reproduction. Many artists make originals that have started as digital prints, but I am still unconvinced… so I am classing these as reproductions and selling at a price that reflects that.
What will be your advice to new coming artists based on your Experience?
Know your own soul and be brave enough to share it.
Love and enjoy the process so deeply that you get lost in it.
Be willing to make lots of mistakes and learn from them.
Interesting art evolves by trial and error, and dies if overly criticized.
When you have developed your style, invest in professional skills to take you to the next level. Professional artists, dealers, curators and buyers are quick to dismiss art that does not show for well-rounded technical skills.In my experience, mentorship quickly pays for itself- through increased artwork sales at higher prices. I suggest that you find an artist who you admire, with a similar style to yours.
Curators, festivals and artists grow well together. Support festivals and shows that are just starting up and suiting your style.
Avoid 'pay to play' galleries and competitions that make money from artists, not for artists. I've sold more art from a well-chosen cafe wall for free than a high exposure, paid gallery space. I find a good white wall in a classy place and offer to hang an exhibition and invite people to buy their own drinks/food at the opening to support the venue.
In my experience, being genuine, kind and a pleasure-to-exhibit usually leads to more invitations. Show up on time, offer a helping hand and smile - you'd be amazed how many artists don't do that, and how many organizers remember when you do.
Visit Katia Honour's official page to find out her more about her work and oncoming projects: CLICK HERE