Brown’s Gas – Exploration in Oneness
I have a friend I met in Guatemala. He’s not an ordinary guy. Actually, my best friends are really not ordinary guys. They are all genuine, creative, good hearted dudes who are not afraid to live outside the status quo and be themselves. I guess I gravitate towards that energy.
This one friend of mention is particularly interesting. He loves to ramble on and on about conspiracy theories and is not afraid to reveal what he feels are the problems in society that are not often common knowledge. I know I can only do my tiny part to try to be myself and try to change things a little bit. I am trying to get to the foundation of things by encouraging people to understand themselves at a very fundamental level through mindfulness and meditation. 99% of the time I fail. I can get 1% of the people I engage with to open themselves up and try to understand and maybe practice mindfulness and contemplative thought I have succeeded. This is akin to reverse brainwashing; no small task.
So this friend of mine is really into health, even to the extent of creating a machine to produce Brown’s gas that he claims has great health and healing benefits. Brown’s gas is the term used in fringe science for oxyhydrogen, a mixture of oxygen and hydrogen gas produced from pure water. It is commonly used to power torches, high powered lamps and welding tools. My friend built the machine to be used for hydrogen therapy.
Because I had been working with fire, extreme heat from heat guns, and volcanic ash, I found this machine fascinating from the standpoint of it being used as a torch without the necessity for the usual toxic gasses needed for powering these tools. It essentially burned water. Whether it is good for health I have no idea. But it certainly would be useful to me as an art making tool.
We set aside a day to spend creating art. I suggested we do it at his house as I had no idea of the safety of this machine I had never heard of. I grabbed a roll of my favorite upcycled canvas, my canvas of choice produced in Guatemala by The New Denim Project (please check these guys out, they are truly an amazing company) and headed over to his place. He was all set up and ready to roll.
One theme I had been working with (and still am) is the idea of a unified connected nature of all living things. The concept of oneness. I decided to create paintings of a single line that touches itself continuously throughout the painting and is unbroken. One line that meanders about the canvas naturally and spontaneously. A line that follows an effortless course until I internally receive instructions to stop the piece and start another one.
We spent an hour or so getting the technique together using a lit torch on the canvas to create these paintings of a single burned line. At first the canvas would explode into fire as I tried to get the right method and movement applying the flame. We finally came upon a method where my friend would lightly spray the back of the canvas with water to prevent the flame from burning though the surface but still allowed me to apply the flame leaving a trail of burnt golden amber color on the face of the canvas. I had to make sure to keep the torch moving at a steady pace that would leave an impression on the canvas but not torch it. When I finally achieved a good technique it was if I was using spray paint to create a fluid line throughout the whole piece. It was liberating to just let my hand be guided naturally by force of nature without thinking.
Of course the thinking mind enters during the creation of the piece, but through meditation I learned to not pay attention to the thinking mind and instead be focused on letting go of thinking and watching my hand be guided along the canvas. Basically, as the piece progresses and my thinking slows down, I begin to watch Kurt making art rather than being Kurt making art. So much of my work involves this process of letting go of Kurt making art and becoming the whole universe making art. Through this meditative process I am able to create art that has an internal energy that has to be experienced first hand as if one were looking at an Agnes Martin painting or a Jackson Pollock. These two artists, along with Dharma practice, have had a massive influence on my work and will continue to inform my work until my time on this planet ends.
Ultimately I was able to create some beautiful paintings that only involved the use of flame created from water, sprayed water, and upcycled canvas. This is creation using the most sustainable materials I can imagine and I am proud to have received the idea to make these pieces that speak to oneness, sustainability and the interconnected nature of all things.