Joma Sipes is a Portuguese artist who is inspired by his thoughts and practices in his spiritual path. I first met him when he was invited to exhibit his art at the summer school for the European School of Theosophy, due to the current situation that school has had to be postponed this year. I was taken in by the art work that he had been going to show, the colours, the impressions that I received from the series had an enchanting effect on me.
Joma started out by painting landscapes but this soon changed as he began to express his spiritual and artistic feelings which were becoming entwined. He soon discovered Madam Blavatsky’s writings and as you will read in the interview that this took him further along on his path and led him to other important writings in this genre, he soon became interested in chakras, occult anatomy, sacred geometry which can all be seen in his artwork.
A series of 100 “illuminated” works appears in his book “Soul of Light: Works of Illumination”, published by Quest Books, on November 2012.
Hermes interviewed Joma about his art and the influences that took him in this direction.
Hermes Q1-Can you tell us about your background, what brought you to art?
My background is related to Sacred Geometry, or Geometry that is inspired by aspects of the Universe that I consider Sacred. This Sacredness is a personal and intimate aspect of myself as a person and individual, and my connection with what my inner senses detect and feel. I have the need to do art the way that I do it. For me it is like breathing or eating, it is an instinct call from my deepest inner core. I always liked to draw, specifically geometrical patterns, mathematical proportions and figures that I felt some connection with and symbolic meaning, like triangles, circles or more developed geometrical figures. I have a long background in both spiritual and esoteric readings. Since I was 13 years old, I have heard about the name Blavatsky or Theosophy, and I always searched for other themes related.
Q2- What does your art work aim to say?
I do not have a specific aim or objective with my art. It simply comes and I reproduce it. I believe it has a purpose and people often say that they feel some connection with cure and health purposes, I believe because of the simple, aligned and symmetrical proportions of each work that I done, against the chaos of other kinds of works. I always try to create symmetry, that is my major aim when I do some work. My first two lines on each work are the vertical and horizontal lines that divide the paper or canvas support in four parts. This is always the start point from which I began to draw, and that helps me to achieve that symmetrical aspect of my art. The objective could be pointed that way: create harmony instead of chaos.
Q3 Would you describe this as spiritual art, or esoteric art? What name would you give it?
I prefer Spiritual Art, instead of Esoteric Art, because esoteric is always related, as I see it, to some kind of religion or esoteric group or school, and I am not in connection with any of these at the moment. It is Spiritual because I feel it as Sacred and it is Sacred because of the Spirituality in it. Here I can see the symbol of the Infinite that keeps together the Harmony among the universe and produces the lines that ties the different links between all things.
Q4 What is the medium for these pictures? Why do you work in this medium?
I use this medium, that is black background on paper or canvas because I feel it is the deepest way and simplest way to reproduce the drawings that I want. I cannot use any other color or medium, I have tried that in the past but without success. The blackness is always considered as the absence of color, but I do not see it this way. Although my eyes do not see colors on the black medium, I consider my “inner vision” sees those colors. When I work using only the colors silver and gold based ink pens, I feel that I create, the lines develop and emerge easily from the black, and when I use crystals in the intersection of these lines I believe I produce an effect of color and ethereal manifestation on the medium that was black. It is black no more, because something was created from that blackness. I believe it is the Primordial Matter, or Anima Mundi, that exists and inhabits the blackness and that can be explored and revealed using this way of work. It is like the Spiritual that lies unveiled and unmaterialized behind the blackness of the medium, become revealed and materialized by the drawings.
Q5 Please comment on how you were influenced to make this art and about who influences you.
I am influenced specially by what I read, it can be a book or a simple name, that inspires me to produce some kind of geometrical drawing. I am influenced by different kinds of spiritual writings and people, like H. P. Blavatsky, that I may say my major influence, because of the abrangence (Editor’s note-broadness, far reaching) of writings and Spiritual aspects that she touched. It is like a deep connection with my inner core happened when I read something. And I feel an instinctual wish to reproduce what I have read by means of a drawing using geometry. Many Spiritual authors and books have influenced me. Besides the ones written by Blavatsky and other Theosophical authors, like Annie Besant or Mabel Collins, many others have influenced me, like Yogananda, Gurdjieff and the writings of P. D. Ouspensky, Rudolf Steiner, and more recently the book “A Course In Miracles” and the author Eckhart Tolle.
Q6 How do you prepare yourself to make this type of art?
I have no special preparation. I simply sit in front of the black paper or canvas and the drawings simply flow in a natural way. No prayer, connection or attitude is needed. I always need music playing, nothing is produced without music. No special music is required, it has to be gentle and calm, to lead me into the harmony that lies inside myself. Then I start. I draw until I feel the drawing is finished. When I am not able to draw anything more, I know the work is done.
Q7 Perhaps you can tell us more about the colours, why do you use certain colours? Do they have a significance? Are the colours representing anything?
I have two different kinds of works, the ones that I call “originals” because these are made by hand on the black paper or canvas, using rules, compasses and squares, and gold and silver-based ink pens. I then add real small crystals on some points to finish the work. These only have the gold and silver colors of the pens and the colors of the crystals. Then I take a photograph of these and use color and ethereal computer effects on this photograph to produce the ones that I call “illuminated” and that are on the exhibition as posters and prints. I have a published book of almost 100 works done this way that is called “Soul of Light: Works of Illumination”, published by Questbooks, US, in 2012.
Q8 What inspires you?
I am inspired by mainly spiritual writings and authors as I already described, not religious writings, by religious I mean related to any organized group, sect or school. I am also inspired by Nature and the Universe itself, and the Sacred Geometry that I see on these.
Q9 What direction is your art going for the future?
I really don’t know. I keep working in Series of works. When I finished a Series, I began another. These Series are not related or connected, I believe these represent a Life Story, my Life Story and I keep telling and developing It like this.
Joma Sipe is an International reference (United States of America, England, France, Slovenia, India, Brazil, South Korea, Chile) in the panorama of Symbolic Visionary Art and Sacred Geometry. If you want to see more of Joma’s art check out his website https://www.jomasipe.com/