Deep meditation where one enters an altered state of consciousness is something that is important to me as an artist and on a personal level. I practice meditation daily, as a way to focus my mind on my goals and to access the more creative side of my brain. Very often, while in deep meditative trance exploring my inner self, I get very clear visions and ideas for where I want my work to go. This often produces strange images which are not always easy to interpret, but which when studied, often provide a clue as to what is going on deep within.
Have you ever felt like you had an amazing idea, during a day dream, but that when you tried to contextualise the idea with your rational, conscious mind, it melted away like ice cream on a hot day? Have you ever had a dream that felt so real and tangible at the time, but then found that when you woke up, it started to dissipate like when you take a mouth full of sweet candy floss? Meditation helps me to solidify those ideas and dreams so that I can catch them and bring them into the real world as ideas and images for my work. This was the basis of the performance Ben and I did, as Damoah and Summers, on Sunday the 24th of March 2014 and is why Ben cleverly coined the term “Theta Painting,” to describe what we did.

A Brief Note on the Science Behind Brainwaves and Meditation
Brainwave research over the last century has classified brainwave patterns into four distinct levels of awareness. When in a waking state, the average human brain produces electrical waves which oscillate at between 14 and 30 cycles per second. This is called the beta level of mind. When in a deep meditative state, brainwaves oscillate between seven and 14 cycles per second. This state is called the theta level of mind and is where one detaches from reality and is able to access the so called subconscious mind… This state can be thought of as that space between being awake and being asleep. It is a dream like state. 
Binaural beats have been developed which cause the brain waves of listeners to slow down so that they are at various levels of mind. We utilised this technology to induce the theta state of mind during our performance. Playing the beat in the background allowed us to enter into a deep meditative state very quickly. 
Live Performance
Ben was actually not physically present for the performance. He was beamed onto the wall of the Vibe Gallery via Skype from France. His virtual presence seemed to interest the audience and I think it was his life sized moving image on the wall which kept so many of them glued to their seats for the duration of the performance. 
The theta sound was played through the speakers in the gallery for 15 minutes. During that time, we both entered deeper levels of mind. While I was under, I saw the image of what I was going to paint very clearly. I have had years of practice, so it was easy for me to crystallise that image in my mind once my alarm went off telling me to wake up and start painting. Ben recalls a similar experience, saying that he also saw the image of his painting very clearly in his mind.

We then started to paint feverishly. It was almost as if we were still in a trance. For almost an hour, I did not notice what was going on around me. It was a joyous and exhilarating experience. I felt free. During the time I was painting, I felt anything was possible and felt an overwhelming sensation of love inside me. You know that butterfly feeling, that rush and excitement of first love, or a first kiss… It felt like something similar to that, but with a sense of calm.

My piece. 

After the session was over, I was interviewed and asked to explain my image. If you follow me on my social media channels, you will no doubt have seen those funny buildings in my daily sketches. Practically every time I meditate for the purpose of getting ideas for work, I see those things.

An earlier drawing I did.

They are buildings, but they are not ordinary buildings. They are living entities to me. They have belly buttons- or navels, attached to umbilical chords which reach out, trying to attach to people or things in the image. I think they represent THE system. Something to do with us humans being plugged into the system. But in most cases, the people in my images are not attached to that system- and when they are, there are other things going on which represent freedom from it, or an awareness of it. In this particular piece, there are butterflies (some thought they were flowers) coming out of the mouth of the man in the image, almost like a procession. Each of the butterflies is attached to the building entities by a very thin cord. But therein lies the contradiction. Butterflies represent freedom for a lot of people. Freedom and change. Metamorphosis. Think about it and interpret it as you wish… The butterflies appear to be on a road, but on the edge of that road is what appears to be a cliff face. A blackened dip down into nothingness. What that means I do not know. I just saw it and painted it.

Ben’s piece.

We received some amazing feedback on the day. many people asked if Ben and I had some sort of spiritual connection because despite the obvious differences between our work, there were a couple of striking similarities, such as the blackened cliff face or hole in the ground, dipping down to nothingness. Many picked up on that. It is funny as we could not see each other. I had no idea what he was doing and he had no idea what I was doing. On inspection of the footage later, we often mirrored each others moves. Strange. Maybe somehow the meditation connected us on some unknown spiritual plane. In  any case, we have spent a lot of time together and that naturally happens with humans. As you build rapport with someone, you mirror each others actions.

Our website will be launched very soon, but in the mean time, feel free to visit the site to subscribe to our mailing list here. We also have a Facebook page which we update whenever we have something going on. Hit “LIKE” to be kept abreast of future Damoah and Summers happenings. 
Below is a video which sums up the event in six short minutes accompanied by some great House music selected by Ben, who also happens to be an amazingly talented DJ. Read Ben’s interpretation of the day’s events on his blog here.

Thanks for reading and supporting!