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Artist’s Notes

I spoke to Abbot David Gearets OSB (from a monastery near San Luis Obispo, California) about this image (this was his favorite picture). He led a retreat I attended on dreams. He said that this image is symbolic of our:

        God consciousness 

das Selbst

the Great Spirit,

the Image of God Within

Our True Center. 


It is a symbol of our soul’s efforts to bring unity, to bring harmony, to bring cohesion, to bring refinement, to bring development, to go beyond our egocentric self to transcend, to go into deeper religious experiences, for inner awakening.

“With a perfect orchestra you can do what you like . . . You can draw a sort of immense emotional throb out of the air merely by curving your hand. You can get brilliant waves of sound merely by a twist of the wrist. You can make sudden and absolute silence by a gesture. It is the most wonderful of all sensations that any man can conceive. It really oughtn’t to be allowed.”

Eugene Goosens (1893-1962), English conductor

Quoted by Beverley Nichols, Are They the Same at Home?, 1927

In this scene, the viewer is sitting with the orchestra, watching the conductor’s rhythms and looking out towards the audience. The energy of the audience enhances the performance of the orchestra. The conductor senses this excitement and brings it out of the musicians. 


I feel that the conductor is a wonderful symbol of a bringing people together to do something special through his skill and knowledge. The conductor feels the emotions of the music and pushes individuals beyond their limitations. The conductor pulls all the individual instruments together to create the music, bringing harmony, cohesion, and refinement. 

"It's a career that you start from a very early age, usually mastering one instrument. Every conductor has to play one instrument well in order for him or her to know what it means for a musician to make music. Then, when you're in front of a phenomenal 80 or so musicians, you know how to challenge them, to take them to places and ideas that they may not think of."
Nir Kabaretti
Conductor of the Santa Barbara Symphony

 Image Documentation 

An original, hand-printed serigraph published by the artist with collaboration of master printer Christopher Betambeau at Advanced Graphics, London.

Completed August 1987.

Edition Size: 240


         Image: 23" x 15½"
         Paper: 29" x 21"

Paper: Velin Arches Blanc, Mould-made 100% Rag, acid-free

Colors: 46 colors printed
Price: $500.00


Copyright © 2020 John August Swanson