Out of the Darkness, Into the Light

Joshua Stuart (a.k.a. Colors From Space), New Mexico, Dubai, Global

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Sounds of bird song. Sending love notes back and forth across a swollen river and the rural pastoral farm lands of my valley. A rooster cries in the distance. Lonely but satiating its need to be heard. A dog barks even further away. Directly next to me, a Bleeding Heart perennial provides deep pink and sweet nectar for a curious bee. Dandelions carpet the lawn. Their bright yellow optimism is the only sun I've seen in days. The gentlest of breezes wafts a subtle sweetness past me. The air is mild for June. A welcome change from the heat dome that lingered over us last year, but also dreary in its constant weeping and chills. Sitting on the stoop of my home, I listen and I breathe. It's been a hard year of loss, change and uncertainty. Sometimes I can let it wash over me with the constant rain. Other times I wish I had some help – someone or something to hold it for me.

My next featured artist, Joshua Stuart, might have the container for me. His video art piece, Circle of Protection, centers around earth magic and holding strong circles.

Joshua goes by the moniker, Colors From Space, and is both a video artist and a music producer. He is most known for his visuals and projection for bands like Tame Impala and Sigur Ros. In his words, “(he) is a transmutator working in experimental and documentary film, mixed-medium frequency modulation, and node-based generative networks for live entertainment. Attaining unto the adept's path, he fuses the esoteric to life-long pursuits in glyph re-animation, poetic folklore, and digital conjuration.” In my words, Joshua wields magic through art.

Created as a collaboration with music artist, Robert E. Livingood, Joshua states that Circle of Protection “explores concepts of ritual amidst sacred landforms and landscapes as sources of power for personal transformation and protection”. It is a glimpse into a realm we can usually only feel the edges of. It speaks to honoring the shape-shifting nature of wildness.

Joshua's imagery speaks to me of the skilled knowledge needed to draw and coax light out of darkness. The light that is conjured then ripples and undulates out into the environment. Viewers are bathed in a pulsing wave of preternatural vibration. Joshua's other work, particularly his imagery created in Notch, wields strong warrior energy. His art resides in a realm of fire and mind, and his work uses speed, numerous edits, changes, fractals, layers and geometry to express this. Working with Robert, Joshua took his fervid mental prowess and infused it into a container of nourishing wildness.

Low to the ground, Circle of Protection opens through what I perceive to be the lens of an animal – a coyote perhaps. It explores its landscape as an animal would. Quickly darting this way and that, slipping under chaparral, taking a moment to smell the earth, but then moving quickly again. True to coyote medicine, things aren't always as they seem. Pulsing pulsing pulsing. Plant medicine comes in waves. Fractals emerge through the landscape; normally outside our parameters of perception, visual frequencies infuse the scenery. Eventually the energy re-embodies, and we become voyeur to the meditation and the meditator, the conjurer and the magician. Emerging from the darkness into the light. First the chair – the symbol of sitting in ceremony, or of an archetypal throne to energies that guide and influence us. Next the hands materialize – the molders of creation. Finally a fully cloaked form. Configuring out of and from the desert landscape of sagebrush and mountain deity. The figure translates messages of wildness, and nourishes the student by prompting their rising up towards the light. All of this happening inside a circle. Inside many circles. Potent energy reverberating outward onto the land and into the viewer. The shape-shifting magician's blade drawing sacred patterns; the sword pointing down – a nod to the sharp and penetrating power of the artist's intellect. As the piece ends, and the sun sets on the experience, I feel cleansed and reconnected.

This is just some of the symbolism that Joshua uses in his work. Quite literally a magician, he creates spells with all of his work. A dedicated student of the spiritual and elemental teachings surrounding Tarot, Taoism and the Iching, and Earth magic, he knows how to craft his work in such a way as to invoke trance-like transformative states through screens and speakers. Visually inspired by the collage editing style of American film maker Kenneth Anger, and the surreal mystical imagery of Alejandro Jodorowsky's The Holy Mountain (1973), Joshua's work dialogues with a cult cinematic lineage. All three artists are known for expressing ritual in their own visual languages. Receiving energetic communiques from dimensions beyond our visual perception, all three are forceably expressing them in ways that question religious, societal and cultural norms.

Joshua has always been a truth seeker. Since the age of four, his intense curiosity has led him to build a life that continually challenges and questions dominant beliefs and ways of being in the world. Searching for the animistic forces that he feels beneath the chatter of pre-programmed mundanity, he is drawn to wild landscapes and esoteric teachings. His physical embodiment of the information he finds through spending a great deal of time in both realms, is the initiation point for his creative material. His process is mysterious, even to himself at times, but he has a trust in the practices and the discipline. Belief in both is what creates the strength of the container you can feel through Circle of Protection. Thank you for your dedication, Joshua, it helps me in these times of uncertainty.

See more of Joshua’s work as Colors From Space, follow him on Instagram:

@colorsfrom.space

Video and images in the order they are posted:

  1. Circles of Protection, audio/video collaboration between Colors From Space & Robert E. Livingood, 2020

  2. Video still - KHANUNAHK (experimental short horror film), 2016

  3. Stage projection shot - Tame Impala, 2019

  4. Stage projection shot - Sigur Ros, 2022

  5. Notch image screenshot, 2021

  6. Artist, 2022

If you enjoyed this article, and are curious about the cult cinematic lineage that I see this piece falling into, check out Kenneth Anger’s Invocation of My Demon Brother.