On the meaning of Oz by Oliver Ayrton

We are trying to find our way "home".

We are trying to find our way "home".

The project has been inspired by the pop culture phenomenon that is The Wizard of Oz but it also draws inspiration from some personal experiences and spiritual themes. 

First of all, The Wizard of Oz explores one of the oldest themes of philosophy: is reality "real" or is it a dream? For centuries, philosophers and sages have observed the dream-like nature of reality: seemingly solid and physically tangible, but simultaneously illusory and fleeting. As Dorothy passes from her world into the world of "Oz" (and comes back again) she experiences a strange familiarity about the characters she meets. This strange familiarity, or deja vu, is a well-documented phenomenon.

Secondly, the idea of human fallibility or "incompleteness" is a powerful theme that underscores the misery of human existence. Each of the main characters is missing either a biological part or a virtue: the Scarecrow has no brain, the Tin Man has no heart, and the Cowardly Lion lacks courage! Dorothy is of course searching for home. The idea that we are "missing parts" is really a metaphor that we as human are fundamentally flawed beings.

However, the wonderful thing about being human is that we are capable of profound inner and outer transformation. Each of us is indeed a "wizard" - capable of unlimited love, compassion, kindness and infinite growth! We only have to realise that the key to self-transformation does not lie without - it lies deep within! 


The Wizard of Oz - THE END! by Oliver Ayrton


"The Wizard of Oz" was the theme of my most ambitious body of work to date. This project was commenced in June 2015 and the works were exhibited in April 2017 (that's 21 months of production time). Now, almost exactly a year after the show came down, all four sculptures are finally complete!

Each of the sculptures was modelled on a live model who sat for me over a period of 4-6 weeks. I also sourced various hi-res images from the web as references. For example, the physiognomy of the Tin Man was inspired by a Z-Brush image of Lebron James. 

The works ask the question, "what does it mean to be human?" Each of the characters is searching for something - Dorothy for home, the Scarecrow for a brain, the Tin Man his heart, and the Cowardly Lion...courage! It's this "incompleteness" or "unhappiness" that I find to be very human...what do YOU think it means to be human?

Melencholia by Oliver Ayrton

Melencholia I, Albrecht Durer, 1514 (ink, paper)

Melencholia I, Albrecht Durer, 1514 (ink, paper)

This is one of my favourite images of all time. It was created by the master print-maker (and painter) Albrecht Durer, arguably the greatest Northern European artist of the Renaissance. Durer was at the peak of his powers in the 1510's when he created this masterpiece. For me, it captures the essential nature of the artist, which is a depressive, melancholic state of mind. The image is heavily laden with powerful imagery and symbolism. Can you see the hourglass representing the swift passage of Earthly time? Can you see the scales, purse and keys, and the rainbow in the background? 

I love the way that the craftsman's tools are scattered across the foreground of the image while the female figure (perhaps an angel?) slumps apathetically, with one arm supporting her head, the other holding the compass. To me this image represents the withdrawn, aloof nature of artists - oh that they could do away with the mundane necessities of terrestrial life, and rise like an angel to the heavens above! For it is only in the heavens that artist's spirit can truly soar. 

On Being, the creative drive and God by Oliver Ayrton

First of all, let me begin by saying that we are human BEINGS not human "doings". Often the question is asked, what do you do? Being an artist is not about "doing stuff". The experience of being in a creative headspace, trusting one's intuition and slipping into the universal slipstream of creative energy is profound and powerful. 

I believe that creativity is either something you're born with or without. It can't be taught. Techniques can be taught. Formulae and creative strategies can be learned. But true creativity, which is the ability to create something almost magically from nothing, is an innate gift. And it's rare.

For many years I wondered why do I have a creative drive? What is behind the universal, primal drive to create? After many years of searching, I found an almost perfect answer in a book titled Why We Are Born: Remembering Our Purpose through the Akashic Records (Akemi G). Here is an excerpt from her book:

"Whether you are religious or not, deep inside, you remember the perfection of the Source, which some of choose to call God. And we yearn to manifest this greatness that is deep within us, like a hidden jewel waiting to shine. This is what drives musicians to practise their instruments more, even when they sound excellent to average ears.  They are trying to manifest their innermost perfection. Artists attempt to make this hidden greatness visible. Athletes push their physical limits in the same way."

Each of us in an expression of God, an individuated expression of the whole. However, I believe that creative types (artists, musicians, dancers, writers etc.) are more closely aligned with the Source energy than others. They all share the same drive to create great works of art because this "greatness" is the memory of the perfection of the Source.