Imagine an artist who is unclear as to whether he is the set-designer, lighting specialist, director, playwright, usher, actor, or member of the audience. That, ahem, would be me. As an artist, I definitely love the frame of the theater. All of my work now is set into the unfolding sci-fi epic, Pupazzo Universo, to be published in 2018. My current work offers previews of this epic which is all about love on an intergalactic scale. My art is subject to the vagaries of my imagination, personal mythology, and childish insistence on wallowing in primitive narratives where love wins, where we don’t have to play by the rules made here on earth.
Love is simply bigger than us, our little blue-green planet, or even our galaxy.
Reconocimiento Eterno, 9 foot tall flaming casket with incense burner and two videos running simultaneously. Illuminated Sculpture by Wolfram Alderson
WOLFRAM ALDERSON – CURRENT WORK
One sees clearly only with the heart.
– The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
The premier of the Love Icon Show was launched in July 2017. All of the pieces in the show are based on themes and characters in the science fiction epic, Pupazzo Universo. The collection is available for exhibition and will grow over time.
Building on the overall theme of universal love in my work, I have started on a new collection of work, complimentary to the Love Icon Show, called “Utterances of the Heart.” All of this new work will be expressed in three-dimensional illuminated German words – expressions of love: Äußerungen des Herzens.
“Love can sculpt the mind – it is the ultimate sculptor!”
I am a life-long agent of social and environmental change. I have served as curator and lead artist in several public exhibitions. I also developed two major art therapy and rehabilitation programs in the Los Angeles area, one for Cuban refugees and the other for severely abused children. My art has always existed in the context of my life-long social change career, and has intersected in powerful ways with the populations and the communities I have served – always at the intersection of human and environmental health. I have been blessed in several key periods in my career to blend my work in the social sector with my art – on reason my work focuses so much on the larger theme of love – the love deficit being the only reason suffering exists on earth. I have served as curator and lead artist in several public exhibitions.
Earlier in my art career, my work was inspired by mythologies and archetypes, as described so eloquently by Joseph Campbell and Carl Gustav Jung. A great inspiration in for my work was a dominant theme in my mother’s poetry, which I carry forward in my own work: “Moments of Magic and Places of Rescue.” An influence for both of us was the poet and artist Kenneth Patchen and his “picture poems.” Alexander Calder is a also an influence, especially “Calder’s Circus.” Paul Klee’s work, especially his puppets, has a special place in my heart. Puppets have captured me, heart and soul. These artists inspire me by blurring the lines between poetry and visual art with kinetic expressions that jump into your heart and soul.
Lesser known, but equally inspiring to me are so called “Outsider Artists,” champions of Art Brut and “primitive” art. This classification of art is so inadequate, albeit useful to collectors. I love this self-schooled art that is raw, primal, primary, savage (as in a force of nature), and unaffected by art-schooling that too often churns out artists whose work can be derivative of mainstream art. My biggest influences have been alleyways and playgrounds, sand pits and garbage dumps, trash cans, wild fields, secret meadows and woodlands. These environments infected me with wild desires to create, to transform, to play, to run, to love. I’m especially grateful to the art teacher who admonished me declaring that my “skies can’t be purple, they must be blue.” I decided right then and there that being schooled in the arts put a damper on my creativity.
Much of my work is self-illuminated, and builds upon the dance between love and light.
I have found great pleasure in expressing myself in various mediums: Sculpture, Water Colors, Photography, Puppets, and Earth Works. My favorite medium is “hardware store.” I call my school of art “Primitive Intergalactic.”
Societies never know it, but the war of an artist with his society is a lover’s war, and he does, at his best, what lovers do, which is to reveal the beloved to himself and, with that revelation, to make freedom real.
“Why do you light your pieces?”
I grew up afraid of the Boogeyman. I really was pretty sure he was waiting for me under the bed or in the closet or basement. So, I started lighting up my room with Christmas lights, and old fixtures I got out of the trash. These makeshift lighting scenarios evolved into altar-like configurations, and ultimately got baked into how I make my sculpture. I’m still concerned about the Boogeyman. I’m pretty sure the light I use in my work does more than keep away the demons.
The lights I use are essentially landing lights – just like you might see on an airport runway. If you want more love, more positive energy, positive forces, etc. you can’t just sit around waiting for them to arrive. Light up the runway! Make it clear that you want them to land. Burning in your soul is an eternal semaphore. Each one of us is a lighthouse. We are more than just beacons to keep the ships from crashing in the night. We are sophisticated transmitters. Your heart is beating away, firing signals throughout your body and soul – almost 5,000 times in an hour, over 100,000 times a day. Do you really think the energy pulsing through you is random? It isn’t. Channel it. Join up with the Love Army. Upload your signal up to the Intergalactic Love Channel. The lights in my work are my semaphores. I’m broadcasting every night.
Besides, don’t you find the antiseptic lights in galleries and museums to be annoying? So much (too much!) gallery light just washes out art, and makes it static and sterile. I refuse to participate in that nonsense. Light is such a huge part of any piece of art, why leave it to others to decide how your work is revealed? Your own light can be revealing. Reveal your own light. See what forces you can bring down to land in your life.
The artist is not a person endowed with free will who seeks his own ends, but one who allows art to realize its purposes through him. As a human being he may have moods and a will and personal aims, but as an artist he is “man” in a higher sense – he is “collective man,” a vehicle and molder of the unconscious psychic life of mankind.
I would be honored to be classified as a “neanderthal artist.” I’m trying to make sense of my world the best way I can. My art is my attempt to make meaning, in the context of change, my environment, and always love. Whatever it is that drives me to make art is simple and primitive – I don’t ever want to lose the pure delight that a child has when making art – minus the pressure of having to place art into the marketplace or to fit into some genre or category.
Growing up, I loved the science fiction of writers like Ray Bradbury and Kurt Vonnegut. Disappointed in the tired themes of more modern science fiction that endlessly recycle tropes built on violence, dystopian futures, armageddon, space wars, militarism, and other fear-based narratives, I am constructing my own science fiction epic, Pupazzo Universo, that builds on the foundation of real science and the notion that love is the most powerful force in the universe. Spoiler alert: Love wins on an Intergalactic scale – don’t let the fear mongers convince you otherwise.
Click here to view some of this work in my archives.
Wood, metal, found objects, Christmas Lights
Artist Wolfram Alderson, painting a mural at Hollywood High (Graduated 1976)
Wolfram Alderson, early mural work at Hollywood High
It is an artist’s duty to reflect the times.
An artist must be free to choose what he does, certainly, but he must also never be afraid to do what he might choose.
Perhaps the primary distinction of the artist is that he must actively cultivate that state which most men, necessarily, must avoid; the state of being alone. That all men are, when the chips are down, alone, is a banality — a banality because it is very frequently stated, but very rarely, on the evidence, believed. Most of us are not compelled to linger with the knowledge of our aloneness, for it is a knowledge that can paralyze all action in this world. There are, forever, swamps to be drained, cities to be created, mines to be exploited, children to be fed. None of these things can be done alone. But the conquest of the physical world is not man’s only duty. He is also enjoined to conquer the great wilderness of himself. The precise role of the artist, then, is to illuminate that darkness, blaze roads through that vast forest, so that we will not, in all our doing, lose sight of its purpose, which is, after all, to make the world a more human dwelling place.
I love [Thoreau’s] fierce and meticulous observation. Most artists begin, as seems right, with interior absorption, introversion and examination of their interior world, and often end there. From much ancient art, we deduce that the next stage involves attention, which goes to the life beyond one’s house, beyond one’s mind, beyond human obsession to the enormous intertangling that we call the universe.
A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write, if he is to be ultimately happy. What a [person] can be, [they] must be. This need we may call self-actualization.
Art and love are universal languages and when entwined, can be extremely powerful. These languages transcend all species and beings. You might look at the opossum and think, “Well, how can that animal be an artist? How can that animal know love?” The opossum is art in action, love in action, and embodies these “concepts” as a way of being. True art, true love transcends superficial notions of who makes art, and who makes love and allows our heart-mind to experience what is truly possible. Art and love aren’t made, we simply allow these energies to flow through us, to manifest in us and to reveal themselves in our actions and creations. Welcome to the healing zone.