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About P&A


photo by Tanya Greenstein
Harbin Hot Springs, April 2001

In the vanguard of an emerging Visionary Art movement, Phoenix & Arabeth have been creating fantastic and mystical works since 1973. These striking images glow with a reverence for the earth, an awareness of the god/goddess within every individual, and the natural magic of the complete human: body, mind and soul.

Phoenix & Arabeth's paintings and drawings are infused with symbolic language. They use the abundant design-pool of global art and craft as a palette from which to create new vistas. A fluency in the visual vocabulary of tattooing and body adornment motifs inspires many images. Phoenix & Arabeth explore the ambiguous nature of time and space. The human form as sacred symbol is a recurring theme.

Some art writers think the work of Phoenix & Arabeth should be categorized as Surrealism. Actually Phoenix & Arabeth's uniquely modern visionary art ("Visionary Realism") more clearly resonates with Pre-Rafaelite and Symbolist images of the late 1800's. It also echoes the creative visions of many tribal and historical cultures.

In 1992 Phoenix & Arabeth began to perform the ancient (and modern) ritual of tattoo, applying fine ink fantasies and symbolic paintings on living canvas of human flesh. Actively promoting the design of tattoos which compliment personal shapes and forms of the whole body, they published "Body Designs", a collection of body art images, in 1994. "Body Designs 2" and "Body Designs 3" are now in print as well.

Having researched henna, or mehndi, another traditional body art form for many years, Phoenix & Arabeth began to work with that medium in 1996, and the following year wrote and published the first comprehensive how-to manual in English, "The Henna (mehndi) Handbook."

Another extended research project, the ten volume Tribal Bible of ancient and tribal body art, is progressing well. The first three volumes are currently available (Fall 2002): "The Ancient Tattooed People of Central Asia," "Polynesian Tattoo Designs," and "Body Art of the Middle East and North Africa."

"The artist is an unconscious metaphysician; he does not copy empirical reality, but transcends it. He seeks the eternal lying in the things and shapes of the world. When he expresses these in forms, colours, and sounds he reveals the inner essence of things. This revelation of art ranks with that of religion and philosophy and is its complement."
----Paul Deussen, in 'Vedanta, Plato, and Kant'

Photo by Gael Brown, Ukiah, 94


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