Dreams are the wellspring of my creativity and have inspired the images for this body of work.  The images, culled from my dream journal, reflect my journey in trying to find personal meaning from my dreams and the resulting narratives. Carl Jung’s interpretation of dreams states that we all have a collective unconscious from which rise archetypes that appear to the ego as a series of images. Jung called these “imagos.” Each of the images I have created illustrates this rising up from the unconscious, and so have the possibility of being an archetypal symbol that can be recognized by other people.

My main body of work has been created though transfers; the nature of a transfer references the dream state and have an ethereal look to them. Some images have been enhanced with watercolor using a fluid wet-on-wet technique of an uncontrolled nature that also reflects back on the nature of dreaming, because we don’t typically have much control over what we dream.

The choice of animals also reflects the fact that the dream image is a type of symbol, even a Jungian archetype. Traditionally, in both art and mythology, animals are symbols with deeper meanings, based on the qualities the animal possesses or is believed to possess. For example, the cow is a prominent image in Greek and Egyptian myth, representing fertility. It also has a docile nature, which can psychologically represent an inner state of passivity, rather than active doing. Fire is a symbol of energy and power. In my personal lexicon, energetic fire is being consumed by the docile cow.  The passive is trying to absorb the active, either to overcome it or to gain the power of the active. Each of the images I have created has similar symbolic potential.

My dream journal inspires my artwork, but is also an introspective investigation of my own psyche. This process compliments my future aspirations of studying art therapy. Art therapists are particularly interested in the development of a narrative within a body of work. I am in the process of building such a narrative. I have adopted a format for my images that is based on a tool that an art therapist might use. The times and dates correspond to the dreams in my journal and are intended to add to the narrative aspect of the work. My creative expression offers insight about my own subconscious, and through the collective unconscious, others can gain their own insights about themselves and the work. 

Rachel Cimino

Anima(L) Series