“Love can accomplish all things. Things that are most impossible become easy where love is at work”. St. Therese of Lisieux
Do you love art, words, music, photography, texture, color, and poetry? I know a place that will give you some respite from your hectic day. Walter Smith is a gifted artist/writer who creates words and art for contemporary mindfulness on his blog – New DigitalScapes . If you spend loads of time on the internet, surfing from site to site, either for work or pleasure, it does get monotonous but never on NewDigitalScapes. When a fellow blogger, LesLee Hare, introduced me to Walter’s artistry several months ago, I was impressed by his abstract forms, his skill with color and texture, his honesty and mastery with words; words he weaves into the fabric of his paintings, pictures, and other creative expressions on his blog. I also found his work soothing in a hypnotic, healing way.
When we chatted online, I found out that the man behind the work is a down to earth, kind, and reflective father, grandpa and friend. Since that first connection, I have looked forward to Walter’s artistic work and I invite you to welcome Walter as our Featured Blogger for this week’s Get to Know series. Leave him a comment here and do visit his blog to learn more about his work and craft.
What has been your biggest life Challenge?
Without any hesitation, I would have to say my biggest life challenge has been maintaining my recovery from years of substance abuse. It has been nine years of total sobriety. I am very proud of that fact. But I never lose sight of what it means and what is was like to be an addict, nor how significant and beautiful life is when not escaping from reality. What I have discovered in this process is how important acceptance of the addiction is, seeking support with honest intent and personal accountability. Personal accountability is the key, I believe, that truly makes recovery possible and sustainable. You have to look at yourself in the mirror, alone, every day and say I love myself enough to make it through this day.
How does your creativity come to you; the process?
The source of my creativity and its methodology continues to be a work in progress. I recently published various posts on my art blog: n e w d i g i t a l s c a p es, examining the different influences that have, over the years, led to my creative way of thinking about art and the arts in general. The one thing that I can readily point to as being the most influential force on my art is my life experience. Personal and intimate to my sense of awareness, it has been my goal, to translate this experience into various forms of art.
The process is digital in nature, the computer being the primary tool for creating. I began using the computer for art, and video in 1985. In the 1970’s, I attended art school and studied painting, but found that particular form of expression did not meet my needs. I wanted to be able to transform my environment, and relate experiences into art in “real-time”.
Over the years, my art and the digital process has evolved, however, its consistency can be found in its ability to explore a multitude of intricate, abstract and micro-tonal possibilities. The most important thing I would like to achieve in the process of creating is establishing a rhythm in my own inner intuition—feeling its energy transform itself into every work I create.
Where did you grow up and why do you blog?
I am originally from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and now I reside in Gray Court, South Carolina. I lived in Philadelphia the majority of my life until I moved here in 2002. I was raised by my grandmother, mother and older sister. It was their kind and nurturing approach to my upbringing that has helped me understand the importance of compassion, empathy and unconditional love for others. I began blogging in December of 2010, and the main reason was to provide another vehicle for my art in the new internet media.
In the process, I connected with and was impressed by a fellow blogger, Leslee Hare and her blog All About Enlightenment… and then other connections followed. I’ve always enjoyed writing as well, and have used prose and poetry in my visual work for years. Blogging seemed like the perfect process for combining the two. One of the more significant discoveries about blogging I have found and enjoy is the meeting of the minds. I am an introvert at heart and welcome the opportunity to meet others with common and diverse interests while simultaneously developing friendships.
“Through the mind and intellect, consciousness is divided into I and other. I am on one side, and the world is on the other. Light is on this side and the other side is dark”. Sw Parmanandji Maharaj
What is most important to you/about you?
What an interesting question. It would seem that the answer or answers, can often be related to specific moments in my life.
My family has always been an important part of my life. My daughter Dionanna, or “Lady”, as she was affectionately called, passed away in March of 2011. She was the love of my life. At age 33, she and I were developing a strong, mature relationship, full of communication and empathy for each others “issues.” I miss her a lot, and the love that she and I shared is a testimony to how important she was to me. I am very thankful and grateful that she has left me with four beautiful grandchildren whom I cherish dearly. I know that caring for and supporting them and their future goals are of the utmost importance.
What is most important about me? I would have to say that it is what I contribute to my community as an artist, and as one who provides support to individuals with special needs and disabilities. I have stated in the past that, as an artist, I believe it is our responsibility to contribute compassionately and aesthetically to the well being and enrichment of our community. Our community needs all of us, including those with special needs and disabilities to make it rich and meaningful. Everyone has something to give.
What motivates you to get out of bed?
When I read this question the first thing that came to mind was the dreams I had the night before. There was a period in the 1990’s when I was having intense dreams every night for months. They would always occur around the same time at four in the morning. I was taking the herb Valerian Root for sleep aid, and found that it appeared to contribute to having the dreams. I then began to leave my laptop on next to me in bed in order to have quick access for notation. Immediately after waking from a dream, I would type as much as I could remember. No matter how tired I may have been, I dedicated myself to this process. Over time, I recorded some of the most incredible and surreal dreams that I can ever recall.
So I believe it is dreams and of course artistic aspirations that motivate me to get out of bed. Dreams can be a bridge that takes my waking day into the unknown. And last, but not least, my art and the relationship I have with it. I want it to be the spiritual source that drives my pursuit of discovery every day.
How would you like to be remembered?
I think I would like to be remembered as a dedicated friend, father, grandfather, and artist who tried to enrich the lives of others. There was a time, in my teens, when I thought I wanted to be a “famous artist”. How trite that thought is now. There are so many more important things to achieve in this life. However as an artist, I hope that my work gives pleasure and insight, and is respected and loved by my peers.
In addition to his work as a versatile artist, Walter enjoys the outdoors; he hikes, bikes, water rafts, does yoga and meditation, and communes with nature. When he is not working on hid digital/video art, he spends time with his family, blogging and enjoying life. You may connect with him through his blog – New DigitalScapes, his art website – New DigitalScapes, and his Video NewDigitalScapes YouTube channel. Give a big hello and welcome to Walter!
What are your thoughts? Do share? If you’d like to be featured, leave a note and let me know how to reach you. Thank You.
Positive Motivation Tip: Artistic expression speaks to the deepest part of our psyche; a place we can visit again and again for rejuvenation. Explore it.
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PHOTO CREDITS/ATTRIBUTIONS: All featured photos are courtesy of Walter