One of the ways I refer to making my art is “Walking the Dreamworld.” I really like images. I like coming up with images that no one has seen before. One of the ways I do that is to use a Surrealist automatic drawing method. That’s where you scribble on paper and then make a drawing out of it. It’s like finding faces in clouds. The Surrealists were big into dreams and dream like images and this is how they mined their subconscious minds for new things.

I’ve also heard Canadian Psychology Professor Jordan Peterson talk about how the roll of the artist in society is to go to places that other people don’t and bring back art from those places. He called it walking the edges of the dreamworld to let the rest of us know what’s out there. That resonated with me. I certainly like to walk the edges of the Dreamworld.

That brings me to literal dreams. I’m actually not very into my literal dreams. That’s probably because I don’t remember many of them. I’m told that’s because a person has to wake up during the dream cycle in order to remember them. Otherwise you dream, go back to a non-dreaming sleep, and then wake up with no memory of having dreamt. That’s usually me.

Listening to stories of other people’s dreams is often very boring. That’s because dreams can be long and not have a structured plot to them. We like our stories to be well told. Most dreams don’t fit that category so when some one tells us about them it gets dull quickly. That is unless we can find some meaning in the dream. That’s not always easy but the search for meaning is also what “Walking the Dreamworld” is about.

I had a dream recently about a large sculpture falling over in the wind and breaking my front studio window. I bet that dream was about my lack of preparedness. The broken window upset me and I wondered why I didn’t secure the sculpture before the storm came. By the way, I’m not a sculptor and don’t have any big sculptures that can topple and break a window. But I still quickly found the meaning of that dream.

The type of dreams that people do like to talk about are the ones we all share. Dreams of flying and such. You can find a list of archetypical dreams in any psychology text book. I know there was one in my Psychology 101 textbook back in 1984. That’s how I found out that dreaming that your teeth are crumbling is a common dream despite me never having even heard of that one before. Needless to say after finding out about it I had that dream. But I haven’t really had it since so that’s okay.

One archetypical dream that isn’t in the textbooks but I have had and have talked to other people who have the same dream is what I call “The Collector’s Dream.” It’s the same for anything anyone collects but for me it’s comic books. I’m at a garage sale or some obscure store and I find a treasure trove of comic books. As I flip through them I get excited because they’re all great issues and dirt cheap. Then something happens. They disappear. Sometimes it’s through a contrivance of the dream plot and sometimes they they disappear in my hands but either way they’re gone leaving disappointment in their wake. That’s the “Collector’s Dream.” You stumble upon the ultimate collection but can’t have it.

In the last 15 years or so I started having a recurring dream. I don’t know if it’s one other people have or not but it seems it could be. It’s about not being able to find my way home. These dreams almost always take place in New York City. That makes sense because, over the years, NYC is where I’ve mostly found myself making my way home from. I find my way to Port Authority, Penn Station, or Grand Central Terminal and take a bus or train home.

In the recurring dream I’m either walking or taking a subway to one of those three places but I never make it. I get all turned around on the streets or subway stations and everything turns into a maze as they do in dreams. It’s very frustrating but eventually it gets so unreal that I realize I’m in a dream and wake up. Not a fun dream but I wouldn’t call it a nightmare. Maybe an anxiety dream.

I’m sure not being able to find my way home has some universal meaning but I’ve never been able to find any pattern in why I dream this dream. It seems random to me and randomness makes meaning harder to come by.

I did have a dream last night that seems to have an easy meaning. I dreamt I was meeting friends to go to an art show in NYC. I met one friend at the gallery and then she had to pop out for a second. She never came back and none of my other friends ever showed up. I spent the whole dream awkwardly killing time at this art show with strangers.

That one is obviously a Covid dream. It’s about the anxiety of things getting back to normal post-Covid but never really getting back to normal. Will anyone be there after things get back to normal? That’s what the dream was dealing with.

With my last two Big Ink drawings I was particularly trying to get back to the edges of the Dreamworld. I’ve been getting one Big Ink drawing done a week and for a few weeks they were coming out like portraits. There was a big face and a background of patterns. I find my Big Ink drawings to be more dreamlike when they have more of a background space in them. A weird landscape. So for the last two I moved back to my imagery of multiple figures with hints of buildings and landscapes in them. That puts the “World” in Dreamworld.

I may not remember my dreams much and they may sometimes be filled with anxiety but I sure like walking the edges of the Dreamworld in making my art. It’s a good place to be.