By Ray and Naja
"For my pallet and brush,
And a train."
I have always been fascinated with railroad pennies. When I was a kid I remember being shown pennies that had been squished on the railroad tracks. One time a kid showed me his house key which he crushed on the rails. I've always felt that our nation was being crushed by industrialism. The future is being crushed by national debt. Mother Earth is being crushed by human meddling. Dreams are crushed, hopes are crushed, and yet everything is an opportunity for change.
"We will crush you!"
When the object is crushed on the rail it might not be as high as it was, but it is much wider and broader. The Chinese have a saying "a frog in a well" meaning a person who can see very high, but not broadly. When a frog looks up from the bottom of a well it can see the sky, but only a little bit. The height limits its width of perception. Of course the frog thinks that its vision, and opinion of that vision, is the true definition of the sky. When the frog comes to the top of the well, it realizes that in the height of its perception was also the very narrowness of its understanding. When I see the pennies or other objects flattened out it helps me to see where I've been narrow in my insight and feelings.
As a student, teacher, and practitioner of both Eastern and Western Alchemy, where we turn base metals into gold, I am fascinated by the many stages of change and refinement. This is not only in the material world, but more importantly, in the spiritual and emotional world. I see my Train Art as a tangible example of the changing and refining of materials. The penny, plus the rail, plus the train, plus a brief moment in time, affects not only the penny, but the holder of the penny. With the help and creative eye of my partner Naja, we bring you a new way of looking at art, alchemy, and life.