Interview by Bryn Colvin
Neil Geddes Ward is an artist whose work has inspired many a Pagan along the way. Talking to him raises some interesting questions about how we use ‘Pagan’ as an artistic definition. There’s a great deal of spirit in his creations. Is it the artist, the audience or both who decide what any given image means?
Bryn : Tell us about the Pagan that lives inside of Neil and do those beliefs inspire your fabulous art?
Neil: There is no pagan in me, haha! I tend to think that I read a lot, and think a lot, and then have an opinion. That does not make me Pagan, I think, but more a person who is interested in paranormal things and where that might take us, and I think if you say you are a Pagan it can limit your experience, and I would rather say, I have a common interest in things that folks who call themselves Pagan might have. I do not worship any Goddess or God, but tend to think more of the overall picture. If that makes me Pagan for some people, then that is fine with me, but I am not totally saying I am!! Now that, that has confused you!!! But I do get ideas of what I want to do in my art through Pagan channels and also other areas too, and also I am inspired by the Pre-Raphaelites too!
Bryn: You describe yourself as visionary – it’s even in your email address. Can you expand on what that actually means for you?
Neil: Now what do I mean by visionary?? Well hard to explain but I would say, going beyond what we see to expand our minds a little more, open to more possibilities etc, to see things in new ways and to try to think outside the box a little more! Better to think like that than just accept the world the way it is!
Bryn: So is it more about giving people opportunity to find their own meaning and resonance in your work?
Neil: My work tends to be cryptic, some of it is very clear to me, and others are more like dreams that fade with mornings first light! So a lot of people find their own meaning in my work to an extent, I certainly don’t send out explanations with every print I sell! Some people just like the look of something, some people choose a certain image because it reminds them of a spouse or something, and some like it because of the moon or the owl or some other element that my paintings contain. We all free drawn to something special that resonates and I guess many of my paintings resonate with some people to some extent or another.
Bryn: When did you first discover your talent?
Neil: It was not a case of me discovering my ‘talent’ but more of discovering other people in my class at school could not do what I did! So I guess I took it for granted that everyone could draw or paint! But not so, and I guess others with other talents would say the same thing. I did know something different from others, in the fact that when I was at school, when I was very young, I would always paint the sky all the way to the horizon whereas other kids my age just painted a blue band at the top of the paper. I guess I was actually looking out of the window! In fact I tended to look out of the window a lot at school! I was told I was too much of a day dreamer! haha!
Neil: I paint in Oils and also draw in pencil. I find Oils are very flexible and a lot easier to use than water colour or other paints. Oils have a slow dry time which helps me greatly in blending colours and tones! I also take many reference photos of models to help get the look just right!
Bryn: What artists and or musicians–and songs– if any, inspire you and why?
Neil: Brian Froud, for his vision of faeries, the Pre-Raphaelites for their genius and ability! I admire Rush, the Canadian rock group for their excellent songs and musician ship. I play bass guitar too, so I know what standard they are!!!
Bryn: If the world was created in the image of your imagination, what would it be like when we woke up tomorrow and seen it with new eyes?
Neil: Oh blimey!! Well there would be no money to argue over and no wars and no murder, pollution, or wrong doing. Hmm, is this called Heaven?? I think we all blame everybody else sometimes and sometimes, you have to take responsibility for your little corner of reality, whatever reality is, if there
is a real world out there at all!! More acid Vicar??
Bryn: If someone would like to commission your talent, where can they find you? What are you open for—Book covers, Graphic Novels… what?
Neil: People can view my art on www.neilgeddesward.com and email me at email@example.com and also find me on Facebook, Neil Pagan Artist . I do take commissions, so long as are serious ones, in the sense that people will really want them!! I will be happy to consider most projects, books, portraits, etc so give me a call!
Bryn: Any new projects in the future or plans?
Neil: Currently working on a children’s novel proposal for publication, me doing the illustrations and also basic plot lines. Will be featuring Elves and Orkney! Aim to get that to an agent in the New Year! fingers crossed!! Plan to do more pagan conferences, so if anyone needs a speaker, please email me, and I would be happy to discuss. firstname.lastname@example.org
A huge thank you to Bryn Colvin and Neil Geddes Ward for putting together a fabulous interview. And don’t forget….we will be featuring some of Neil’s art with our Pagan Holidays throughout the month. So be sure to check his web site out and consider him for any ‘art needs’ you have in the future!