This website currently contains the work of five different Artists (more may be added in the future – either of my own creation or others). Each Artist’s page contains biographical information, examples of their work, and their underlying philosophies. Although the styles, emphasis, passions and motivations are different for each Artist – they share a number of important elements that will be outlined in a Manifesto.

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Each month (starting in January, 2018) will feature an in-depth look at one of these Artists with a closer look at their life, their work, and what motivates them to create. We will also look at their techniques, training, and reasons behind their chosen forms of expression.

The current members are: Robert Bentley, John William Peel, David Cuchulainn, Artemis Andromaxis, and Joseph Lee.

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The Reasons for This Collective:

We are not the same person we were 5 minutes ago, let alone 5 years ago. Change is the only constant. Cell replacement and lessons learned (or not) each press their fingers into our clay.

This isn’t to suggest that we are blank-slates or grains of pollen subservient to some sort of cosmic Brownian motion; only that even the most solid definition of ourselves would have to include growth and decay to be accurate. Regardless of where you stand on the subject of free-will, it is this central figure inside our minds, this ghost in the machine labelled ‘I’, that is more a conduit for these experiences. Through our ideas and passions we direct the flow of these experiences, playing both a part in – and being a result of these waves. But our ever-changing nature doesn’t end there.

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The face we present to a lover will be different than the one we present to our friends, family, colleagues, or strangers. The face isn’t just a mask – it is the actor beneath as well. Our roles can influence our thoughts and actions, and by extension the lessons we learn. Excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmitters dampened, emphasized or silenced in relation to everything from the place we are in a hierarchy to the connection we feel with those specifically around us…nailing down what makes us ‘US’  as a single entity becomes impossible the longer you think about it.

I’ve always been very conscious of the many different parts of my own personality. Sometimes I’m supremely confident, and other moments I’m riddled with doubt. There are periods where I feel bold action is absolutely necessary and other opportunities which are better explored in a circumspect fashion. These are more than just context dependent occurrences. It is not just that I’m coldly looking at a situation and analyzing for the most optimal response, it is that I’m a different chess player looking at the board – and while I try to do the best with the situation I’ve been given, the direction of this decision making process can change depending on which version of me is present.

There are common threads woven throughout these other instantiations of myself. There is the philosophy regarding the underlying unity of knowledge, a passion for a variety of subjects “outside” of Art, and the idea that because of this unity, the act of spending less time on one single thing won’t detract from it. The lessons I learn competing in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu will carry over into Art, Chess, Philosophy, etc. and so on.

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So to this end I’ve split myself into five different Artists. All of the work on this website is “mine” at the moment (until other interested Artists with a similar philosophy wish to join!), and I’ve kept all of the details of these other Creators to be as close to who I am as possible. If one of them is expressing a deep interest in languages it’s because that’s a part of me. This also extends to most (but not all) biographical and personal details. The last part being possible because the emphasis and drive from each individual will be different.

If you are interested in working together on a future project or would like to purchase one of the original works of Art found on this site, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Send an email to robert@bentleyartist.com

MANIFESTO

1) The Underlying Unity of Knowledge: The delineation between subjects, although a useful linguistic convention, doesn’t say anything about the truth or nature of those subjects in and of themselves. There are lessons that span apparently disparate topics, and insights which can be gained by seeing the underlying unity that permeates reality.

2) Language and dialogue should be as inclusive as possible (without sacrificing depth): It is better to engage more minds than fewer; your message will have farther reach and the clarity will afford the opportunity for greater contributions to understanding your work.

Isolating a piece or a discussion through the use of exclusionary language only satisfies a fragile & threatened ego: Art speak and other forms of obfuscation are highly discouraged. Perhaps a subject is too complex to be easily understood by those who are unfamiliar, but it’s mystery should only be due to itself – and not due to someone guarding the topic like a secret and the source of their power.

Keeping this reverence for plain speaking ensures that the concepts and pieces in question are both easier to see and easier to attack. You are both a better Artist and a more courageous one if you don’t require the armor of exclusionary language. People are notoriously good at self-deception and to avoid becoming the emperor for whom we design clothes for, it’s necessary to limit the number of roads that lead there.

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3) Focus is on the production of Art, not eternally talking about it: While a great deal of value can be found within the exchange of ideas, these ideas ultimately mean nothing if they don’t lead to something tangible. “The fool who walks travels farther than the intellect who sits on his ass”.

4) Radical Honesty in all aspects of creation: Like a Martial Artist who continually tests themselves in honest fights, “losses” are considered advances in understanding. Let go of the ego to be a better person than you were the previous day. Don’t take attacks on your work (or even yourself) personally. Perhaps the critic is wrong or horribly misled, perhaps they’re even motivated by the less elevated intentions; if they’re mis-characterizing the work this will come out through dialogue.

Getting into the habit of both speaking one’s mind and hearing what other people think is difficult, but ultimately prepares you for answering the hardest questions and creating better Art.

5) If the Artist has time, energy, and resources to support other Artists outside of the collective with respect to their creative freedoms; they are encouraged to do so. No Artist and no Artist’s community is an Island, and if the goal is to fill the world with good Art, then sometimes that means helping others in their creation of it.

6) The celebration of free expression and exchange of ideas: The strength of the ideas shall be trusted  to support themselves without recourse to force or censorship.

Freedoms like these mean nothing if they don’t also apply to the uncomfortable and sometimes appalling cases. Many great truths and discoveries start out as blasphemies (G.B.Shaw), and if we spend our time worried about who we will offend, or which group will like or dislike us for what we say, we’ll be blinded to many important qualities that may need to be brought into the light.

This freedom of course is tied to the aforementioned openness to criticism. Protest, critique, satire, and ridicule are all acceptable forms of expression. Be open in the discussion of ideas, but don’t mourn the ones lost if they evaporate when exposed to the light.

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7) While a lot of these statements are important and provide a general overall philosophical guide; none are absolutely mandatory or beyond question. People are too messy and too varied to be able to rigidly adhere to the same rules.

This document will remain “Alive” in that this first iteration won’t be its last.

There will always be room to grow and evolve.

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