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Toronto digital artist Ray Caesar talks about Ebbtide.

Ray Caesar talks about his picture Ebbtide...

READERSVOICE.COM: Could you give a rough overview of the steps involved in creating pictures, like Ebbtide?

RAY CAESAR: I work and sketch and dig up dreams and emotions the way some dig up dead bodies to see if they actually committed such a act.

I have a condition called Sleep Paralysis and sometimes when I wake I cannot move, and see things like dreams that hadn’t noticed I have woken up and keep projecting images into my mind’s eye. It’s a hard process to explain how I work, and somehow one just begins …”begin work……work……finish work”. That’s the only way I know how and that’s true for any medium. I sketch and model and begin to work a place with a figure in it like I am trying to build a skin for a lost soul and make a little heaven for it to live in forever. After a while the image takes over and somehow changes into what that life wants ….. there comes a point where the spirit wakes up in a new skin and just starts to change things and I am just there for the ride …just a pair of hands feverishly making something that might change completely in a few moments ….I don’t have any method…..I don’t think …I just feel and somehow before I know it the piece is finished and printed.

There is no list or process that can be written down in a step-by-step method …I wish there was but there just isn’t. You have to let go of lists and methods and steps and just ..”start work …work …finish work” and do whatever it takes to get to the next piece in a kind of feverish blind faith of feeling for the light in a dark room … that light is warm and radiates something kind and you have to use all your senses.

Along the way you have to feel and look and taste and touch and smell your way …one day you will love what you are making ..the next day hate it and the next day love it again….those ghosts will always be with you but they are untrue ghosts and just keep working and something good will come of it.

Doesn’t matter if it’s good or bad as it just matters that you try and keep on trying….just like a kid in a hospital trying to hang on to one more day of life. Each time I finish a piece I write a little about what I felt after I finished.

Ebb Tide

In my world I give my inhabitants the power and protection of creatures of the dark. The Bat, the Cat, the Spider and in the darkest depths of that deep Ocean of the subconscious and the tentacled creatures that dwell there, too. For me that Ocean is the afterlife and the depths of the subconscious and dream world are the ebbing tide of that ocean we stand at each night until we receive that “Sternest Goodnight” and wake no more. The Ocean is the sea of consciousness on this tiny world from where all life sprang.

In Ebb Tide I saw her as something from that world that was temporarily left on the beach, a visitor from the subconscious world who for a moment had the pleasure of lying in the sun. The things she catches in that underworld of the unknown are like the things I see in a state of sleep paralysis and drag back to this world. It’s those visions of the depths that I put into my pictures and they come from the hooks and lamplight and memories I find down there. Each night I bring back a few things left by the ebb tide of my thoughts like old lockets, tin boxes with treasure, a little piece of time past that has never been seen (the clock always represents that sort of thing to me).

I bring them back to a big house by the sea and I put those things in the dark rooms for the souls that wait there.

Each of us has a mansion of rooms in our mind. A place of memories both remembered and lost and all I am doing is making the guests of my own house, be they memories of this life or past lives, a little happier and less afraid of the dark. I am just running around that big house turning on lights and opening curtains and getting everyone to come down stairs for a big party.

Then gradually demon and angel shall walk hand in hand by the shore of that great sea, and as each soul dives to the dark depths they will soon notice it is the brightest place they have ever been.

She in Ebb Tide is like a lot of my inhabitants, a messenger, a guardian, a lover, a soul, a protector, a memory, a kind person, a child ….she is me. Her life is to exist traveling to the depths and return with each tide to the sunlit beach with her catch.

She, like all good messengers, is a fisherman of the depths. Sometimes as the tide ebbs she remains in the sun for rest as she knows that like a friend the tide will always return and she will hunt again for her treasures to bring back to this world. Each treasure she finds is a clue to the greatest mystery of all.

RV: What are some of your plans?

RC: To wake up each morning and waste the rest of my life on making what I love to make, and loving those that I love to love. To begin work …to work …to finish work and between that have some fun and make some joy for others…. to leave a little light in this world because I think it really needs it.