Date of Submission

Spring 2011

Academic Program

Studio Arts


Laura Battle

Abstract/Artist's Statement

Faint Visions

A Senior Thesis

Crystal Angeline Dyer

In this project, I attempted to attain a trance state while drawing. I set up experiments for myself, becoming both doctor and patient. After exploring my unconscious self through these experiments, I reexamined these ideas through additional drawings. Not every drawing was the direct result of an altered state. I stress the word attempt. The residues of my drawing experiments were left in my studio. My studio became a drawing.

Experiments in Mirror Drawing

In this experiment, I drew with two hands at the exact same time, attempting to make the same stroke or gesture with both hands. I am right handed, but in this experiment I used my left hand to simulate disorientation. However, I am more confident drawing with my right hand because of years of experience of the hand being dexterous. Even though drawing with my left hand is shaky, my mind is able to concentrate and control the hand. Drawing in different positions with both hands at the same time is too advanced for me. It results in focus being given to one hand while the other hand arbitrarily scratches at the same mark. Now I draw with both hands simultaneously in order to shift focus away from the dominant hand. In these experiments the physical movement of the hands is symmetrical but the two sides in the drawing do not reflect each other. My seemingly symmetrical drawings are asymmetrical.

Additionally, I am interested in the notion of an automatic drawing state —- one where the drawing comes either from the unconscious or simply from the enjoyment of the hand motions. In order to intensify this experience I have been drawing blindfolded and two handed, which physically forces me into an altered mental state.

Experiments in Blind Drawing

In this experiment, I wore a blindfold when I drew. For two drawings I made the background and placed the pins with a blindfold on. Then later I reflected and re-evaluated the drawing by adding thread without the use of a blindfold.

Experiments in Faint Drawing

In this experiment, I attempted to record the gesture of my own unconscious fall. I have synoptic episodes when I see blood, usually when I have blood drawn. Initially, these fainting spells were sparked by a traumatic event in my childhood when I watched my Mother have a blood transfusion. I am very afraid of fainting, but there is a strange, almost guilty pleasure I take from it. The act of fainting for me is a way to escape from my fearful situation. When I faint, I have fainting dreams or visions. Many times these visions are frightening and usually deal with my memory, forgetting who I am or what I should be doing.

Experiments in Shock Drawing

In this experiment, I used the apparatus of the Natuetronics Model D to influence my drawings. The Natuetronics Model D is an instrument that sends Bio-Active frequencies through a person’s body in order to cure a malady. Numbers are linked with different frequency patterns that are correlated to specific illnesses. The Model D that I used belonged to my Mother. As a child, the sound right before the sequence commenced filled me with an anticipating fear-like thunder before lightning. When I make a shock drawing, I choose numbers that correspond to illnesses of the mind such as hallucinations, dizziness, and other mental illnesses. The machine is running when I draw. I hold the metal conductive cylinders in my hands along with the pen I use to make the drawing. This experiment explores how pain is used to heal, and in the process pain can elevate one into another state of consciousness.

Experiments in Sleep Depravation Drawing

In this experiment, I started a drawing on March 20, 2011 (the spring Equinox) at 3:29 a.m. and continuously drew until 9:00 a.m. Then I continued to work on the drawing for seven days.

Experiments in Self-Hypnosis Drawing

In this experiment, I used self-hypnosis videos from the Internet to lead me into a meditative state. While listening to a video, I mixed graphite and flour together and created a drawing on the floor of my studio. Then after I created the drawing, I destroyed it by sweeping it into a pile on the floor. I was the only person who saw the real completed drawing before destroying it, thus symbolizing my solitary visions. Another time I drew while watching the video with a round piece of paper.

Prayer Drawings

In this experiment, I attempted to enter into a higher state of consciousness through the repetition of words and complete concentration and intention focused on those words. Handwriting is a form of drawing, and specific words have inherent power in them. I wished to harness that power and understanding of a word in order to gain a better understanding of myself. Many times I wrote the words in mirror writing and soaked the paper in wax so I can see every possible angle of a word. Soaking the drawings in wax also preserves the image and it is given as much immortality as possible. Many of the drawings I have done, I destroyed by painting one side of them and then ripping them up. It is simply a visual reminder about the eventual deterioration of the paper, the space, and myself.


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