A Year of Creating Dangerously, Day 306: The Creation Story

The Creation Story 2017

The Creation Story, Ronald Kok, 2017, Oil Pastels

There are times you just start drawing and something completely unexpected emerges.

Today I share with you my latest artwork which I’ve titled “The Creation Story”. It began as me drawing a tree but a tree with human figures as the foliage. I’m not sure why I did that. The truth is that there often is no clear explanation for decisions you make as you’re creating something. It can make this whole art endeavor kind of freaky but also liberating and full of serendipity.

As I was completing the figures, adding color to them and defining them better with dark lines, the piece started to remind me of some of my favorite art from some Indigenous Canadian artists, specifically Marion Tuu’luuq and Norval Morrisseau. In keeping with that idea, I began to see this piece as telling a foundational story, maybe a Creation Story from some long-lost civilization. So often in the creation stories of indigenous cultures, the concept of spirit and earth are intertwined. I really love that. There is no stark divide between divine things and carnal things.

When these thoughts occurred to me, the earth in quasi-earthworm shapes and sky in quasi-bird shapes came to be. I was trying to get at that concept of mortality and earthiness as impossible to disconnect from eternal and spirit.

This drawing isn’t intended to project my personal belief about Creation or the Creation Story. But it is intended to pull together what we often make disparate elements. We tend to talk in divisions: “Sacred and Secular”, “Spiritual and Carnal”, “Man and Woman”, “Human and animal”, “Heaven and Earth” and the like, with emphasis placed on separateness instead of on unity. To me, the stories and images from Indigenous artists have helped me see far more what is held in common than what seems different.

If nothing else, doing this drawing has helped to remind me that starting with nothing much in mind can lead you somewhere full of ideas and purpose. Amazing.

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