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Purple Satin

Exploring the Intersection of Visionary Art and Surrealism

Updated: Dec 18, 2023

Visionary art has some similarities to Surrealism in that they both have qualities that enhance what we would normally see in reality.

Visionary art is created from images witnessed from states of inner consciousness exploration, often from meditation, psychedelic medicines, and/or spiritual experiences. It is a way of sharing an awareness of the multi-dimensions and energy that exists and connects all beings. This is to say that the artwork evokes or represents emotions of the human experience.

Based on everything I've gathered, the goal of this style (and life) is to emphasize and remind us that love is the uniting force that we all have and need to tend to within ourselves to prosper in society.

To me, and countless other artists, creating art is creating love. Sending it out for others to see makes for a fulfilling contribution to the world. The energy you have cultivated during the process will be reflected in the work, as with anything.

The work would be deeply personal and healing to the artist and would naturally bear universal resonance, often made with elaborate details. Common inspirations are the natural world, spirituality, mythology, geometric fractals, and Buddhism, along with other similar religions.

An infinity symbol displays vertically filled with an arctic scene above and a desert sunset below.  Closed meditating eyes made of ice represent having a cool mind, while smoke from a volcano in the shape of a heart defines the lower half with warmth. A yin-yang symbol rests at the middle merge point between fire from a Chinese dragon and ice from an orca whale's swim.  Northern lights, snowflakes, and a polar bear wrap around the mind, while blue and white orchid flowers, fireworks, and sky lanterns fill around the heart.
"Infinite Balance" - Visionary Art by Ruby Stathers

Just a sampling of historic of-the-genre pioneers included William Blake, Samuel Palmer, Hilma af Klint, Edward Burne Jones, Hieronymus Bosch, and Frida Kahlo. I finally just read Kahlo's bio after years of circling curiosity of her popularity, and in my opinion: it's worth the read.

Surrealism, on the other hand, is often inspired by images witnessed in a dream. They tend to be more aloof ideas, focused on unexpected combinations, relationships, abstract features, or collages. You could also find humor within surrealism. An image found within a dream will be understood in fullness once the piece is finished.

Read my blog post (linked) about surrealism to dive deeper into this style.

A snail shines sun rays out of its colorful shell, where a tiny parade of snails travel along its spiral amongst many colored random lines.  The snails body is blue-decorated with purple stripes and red sprinkles, floating in the sky amongst the clouds and sea.
"Flow Slow and Shine"-Surreal art by Ruby Stathers

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