Gustavo Attab on Enlightenment, ‘Higher Planes’, and How Art Speaks to the Unconscious Mind
Etched with geometric lines, organic patterns, and an individual amid these visual elements, Gustavo Attab’s artworks are drawn from his spirituality and existential musings. He works with both digital and traditional mediums — with murals being some of his most definitive works — and lets these materialize with the divine he’s so connected with.
With this highly developed spiritual side, Attab fulfills his idea of an artist: one who is “a bridge between this physical world and a greater, unknowable, divine plane.” His works, like ‘Cosmocosciente,’ are a glimpse into this plane. He explains that it’s “inspired by my own meditative experiences, in which I felt my consciousness expanding and connecting with a higher cosmic mind.”
You can buy it as framed wall art here.
[Note: The interview below contains minor edits for clarity.]
Tell us about yourself. How did art come into your life?
I’ve been drawing and creating things since my childhood, but this habit got lost as I grew up. I graduated in product and graphic design, but I was never satisfied working in these fields. Gradually I felt the calling to retake my creative side and began to rediscover myself as an artist.
What does the creation process look like for you? How do you feel while you’re creating a piece, and after a piece is complete?
The way that the idea is generated varies a lot. Sometimes it comes from my conscious feelings and experiences, sometimes from unconscious places, other times from some study or visual inspiration.
During the process, many experiments and changes take place, often resulting in an image very different from the initial idea. The process is not always so fluid and there can be blockages, frustrations, and insecurities, but in the end, everything is resolved in the right time and when I finish I realize how that artwork made sense and needed to be materialized.
Who are your biggest inspirations?
Here are some names of classic and contemporary artists — traditional and digital painters — that I’m inspired by [in terms of] both visual style and thematics: Alphonse Mucha, Hilma Af Klint, Alex Grey, Pablo Hurtado de Mendoza, Victor Mosquera, Dániel Taylor, Felipe Ikehara, INTI, Miles Toland, B-47, and the list goes on.
A lot of your works feature themes of introspection and self-enlightenment. Why do you use visual art to express these themes?
It’s an inner need of mine to materialize and externalize feelings, ideas, and questions that come from [such] a far, intangible place. Sometimes we can’t express [these] just through words, so I think images are a great way to do that. They can provide a more immediate and conscious contact with the viewer, but they also communicate directly with the unconscious mind, truly touching the inside.
As an artist inspired by the idea of enlightenment, how would you describe your relationship with spirituality?
I consider spirituality as a natural and intrinsic aspect of my life, trying to experience it in my daily life, in my actions and relationships. That way, I associate a much greater meaning to everything I do and everything that happens to me.
What does “enlightenment” look like for you and how do you try to achieve it?
Currently I try to perceive the concept of enlightenment in a more applicable way, more internal than external, in the sense of bringing light to obscure places of myself, transmuting things. It’s like in therapy, where we need to look towards forgotten and distorted issues of our interior, aspects that are difficult to face, understanding and integrating our shadows, healing whatever it needs, thus knowing ourselves better and living a more fulfilled and meaningful life.
You once mentioned that your work explores themes of self-discovery and finding unity with the universe. How do you think art aids in matters of spirituality like these?
I consider the artist as a channel, a bridge between this physical world and a greater, unknowable, divine plane. So art, in all its forms, is a glimpse of that plane. It’s something that can help us remember our essence, our true and divine nature, [and helps] people rediscover themselves and evolve to a higher consciousness.
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