aRt, Identity and the Sacred
words from my book:
by Shannon Kringen
This book is a container to place my ideas about the connection between making art,
developing a sense of self and feeling connected to the sacred beyond the individual.
I work improvisationally with cameras, writing poetry/spoken word, drawing and painting
abstractly inspired by the shapes and repeating patterns I see in nature. Being a spontaneous
photographer and abstract artist is similar to the disciplines of meditation and spiritual
I spell “Art” as “aRt” to draw attention to the aesthetic in the creative process being about a
sensitivity to the literal shapes and unique creations that happen when one is in engaged in
making aRt. I enjoy how the word looks and see this as symbolic of the what aRt is.
I am a dancer when I shoot photos. I move in a graceful motion looking into my camera frame
until the shapes look “right”.
I capture what is naturally there but in a way that abstracts it and makes the viewer notice
something new and different about ordinary physical reality. Because of my emphasis on
being in the present moment and my love for travel and being open to life as it unfolds without
planning I do not limit myself to photographing any one subject.
I do many self portraits which I call “Self Portals”. I see them as doorways into aspects of my
psyche that I want released and expressed. I also capture Urban Decay, Reflections and
Shadows on water, mud puddles, through transparent surfaces such a windows. I also enjoy
photographing animals, wildlife, water droplets on plants, abstract close ups of texture, clouds
reflected in water.
All the subject matter is related as it’s about the Tao of allowing life to unfold in the present
moment and being surprised by synchronicities and paradoxes as they arise and dissolve.
Often times I feel like I wander and randomly shoot photos then when I edit my work I see a
theme and pattern to what I am doing.
This amazes me and informs me that my sub conscious mind is speaking through me. I also
paint abstractly and write poetry that I hear in my head. I use a similar approach to all
mediums. It’s intuitive and I feel guided by energy within me. My process is very kinesthetic.
Some of the spiritual practice characteristics shared with photography are: freedom from the
sense of self, receptivity, spontaneity, acceptance, and non-attachment.
Creative Photography can be seen as an communion between the self and the environment
with no sense of separation.
A spontaneous photographer responds in the present moment and lets things happen. The
photograph almost takes itself. My best photographs have been done this way. Suddenly free
and open to what is around me. Having never seen that kind of light or shape before. My
heart and mind are in love with what I see and I shoot when it feels right. This cannot be
People tell me after seeing my photographs of shapes in water and mud puddles and chrome
they now notice things out walking they never saw before. aRt can be transformational for
both the aRtist and the viewer of the work. Flowing with life and not rebelling against it.
Accepting what is “pretty” or “ugly” both equally being “equanimous”. All these spiritual
principles are used in creative photography. All my work no matter what medium is
approached as improvisational intuitive practice and is not planned out but felt in the moment
and allowed to happen.
aRt, Identity and the Sacred defined:
What is aRt?
Art is a language. Art is a way of expressing yourself and tapping into the dreamworld and
subconscious as well as the collective unconscious. Sometimes aRt can be the best way to
reach eccentric individuals who may be creatively gifted and yet have deficits in other areas
of learning. (ADHD, Dyslexia, Autism etc. ) Through the practice of making visual art or
music, theatre, dance, and writing stories; someone can connect both inwardly with deeper
parts of the self as well as externally with others forming a sense of community and
What is Identity? As human beings we all have many similarities and yet we are all unique like
snowflakes, no two alike. Each individual person has their own patterns in their fingerprints.
To be an adult means being autonomous. The individuation process is helped by finding your
own voice that is completely your own. This allows you to be differentiated and freely your
own self. .
What is The Sacred? The Sacred is something beyond the individual self that connects all of
life. This ties in with nature. The whole ecosystem depends on each plant and animal to play
it’s part in the web of life. Humans are merely one species on this planet. Earth, water, sun,
plants and mammals are work together in this rich complex symphony of life. To me, sacred
ties in with what I would call “spiritual” meaning that which creates and connects all life
beyond the individuals.
How do aRt, Identity and the Sacred intersect?
I am fascinated by the paradox of finding yourself through losing yourself. “Self” seems to
be elusive. When I look for myself I cannot seem to feel satisfied in “finding” it. When I am
making aRt I am in love with the present moment. It’s literally a gift. When I surrender and let
go of trying to “find” something it usually appears.
A line from one of my poems that connects with trying to find the self:
“fragile sense of self, intangible desire for wealth”
“ocean beam, come clean, come clean manifesting dreams.
Inner energy life force come forth.
Black fire feather rain
straining the stream of consciousness againe”
Art, Identity and the Sacred all together are about wholeness beyond the duality of opposites.
The creative process is the language I speak to integrate my individual self into the river of life
that I am part of. I use my aRtwork as a mirror for myself and others to see and project into.
The universe is one and yet full of seemingly separate entities. My aRt is my spiritual practice
where I express myself and connect with the whole of life. Reflections are a communication
tool. I am fascinated by mirrors, projections, reflections, patterns that repeat. I call them
“infinite, intricate patterns.” From microscopic to giant planets floating around in space. We
are all part of this amazing universe. There is order in the chaos and chaos in the order. I
am interested in relationships and patterns that mirror one another. Like the dendrites on
trees that mimic the veins inside the human body. I see my art practice as a whole way of
dancing with these repeating patterns.
Art, Identity and the Sacred book by Shannon Kringen
Can the sleeve of the book have this? Or the first page?
“I am Shannon Kringen Multi Media “aRtist” and intuitive, improvisational creative thinker. I
work as a figure model for artists, paint onto shoes and “paint with my camera” as well as
literally painting and drawing onto paper/canvas. I am inspired by repeating patterns I see in
nature. II refer to this as “infinite, intricate patterns”. Shapes, colors and textures I see in the
present moment are what inspire me to create. I consider making art my spiritual practice
that keeps me fresh in the present moment and allows me to connect with the world around
Chapter 1 Abstract Drawings and Photos:
My intuitive way of drawing and painting inspired by Austrian Artist Hundertwasser and Nature
itself. I never plan what I photograph, draw or paint. I feel energy in my hands and body and I
respond accordingly in the present moment. I am often surprised by what I create. I choose
colors very carefully knowing value and contrast is the key to creating pleasing compositions.
I see complimentary and high contrasting value and color as a symbol for seeing beyond the
duality of opposites. Yin/Yang, Hot/Cold, Good/Bad, Day/Night, Wet/Dry. I see the universe
as one whole being that contains many parts many of which appear to be the opposite of
each other. The Whole needs each part to be one cohesive piece of life When I shoot
photos I watch for light, shape, texture and carefully frame the image in my camera.
Chapter 2 Nature
I am in love with plants and animals. I think human beings can learn a lot from observing
nature and whole ecosystem which I feel very connected to. My “spirituality” is very much
married to plants and animals. I feel happiest and most at peace while close to the natural
world. I see my photos of plants and animals as a way of honoring the beauty, wisdom and
sacredness of how interconnected the ecosystem is. Man/Woman is only one species on
this planet. Human beings are part of nature.
Chapter 3 Urban Decay/Silhouette
I see beauty in decay. When something is old and cracked and chipped and full of rough
texture and contrasting colors I feel inspired to shoot a photo of it. I see this as a metaphor
for how important the birth and death cycles are. When something dies, something new is
born. I see the aliveness in decay. Nothing lasts forever. Everything on this planet is
changing at every moment. Transformation is continuously happening. I love the simple
shapes created by Silhouette I see when the lighting allows it to occur. When three
dimensional reality is flattened into Silhouette you get to enjoy the simplicity of dark and light
shapes contrasting with each other.
Chapter 4 Self Portrait/Self Portal
I call my self portraits “self portals” because I am forever searching for my true self. I am
fascinated by the many facets of people’s personalities and like to use myself as a canvas to
explore and express this. I see each photo I take of myself as a window or portal into part of
my soul. I am intrigued by how different I look and feel in each image. The core essence of
me is always present and yet I change and transform depending on my inner and outer
awareness and relationship. I am a rather introspective person and yet I have a strong urge
to share with others what is inside me though my self portrait photographs.
Chapter 5 Nude and Natural
I see my work as a figure model modeling nude for artists as a way of celebrating human
beings as part of nature. Nude and natural is a form of expressing oneself in a relaxed way
that is in harmony with plants, animals, ecosystem. I find it refreshing and relaxing to be nude
and natural outdoors. I am also very grateful to be part of the art education system as an art
model for people drawing, painting, sculpting the figure.
For more information on the art of Shannon Kringen
visit http://www.ShannonKringen.com and
P O BOX 20355
Seattle, WA 98102