Visual Philosopher: Buckley

For millennia, our artistic rendition of the human form has bonded civilizations the world over and we now know that the first known ancient cave paintings depict the dawn of self-realization with an anonymous traced hand in red ochre. Since then, human beings have celebrated our collective bond through sculpture, paintings, carvings and multiple means to immortalize our feeling of connectivity. 

Buckley’s work is no different, often using similar depictions as ancient artists to illustrate an ideology rooted in hope and optimism. Her glyph-like imagery draws off the intention of classic frescos with cropped vignettes that leave the viewer with questions beyond the borders. 

Even though certain works of hers are mysterious, there is a disarming playfulness about them that serves as a reminder that throughout human evolution we still, at the heart, all just want to remain connected. Here she shares more about her practice and what in her life motivated her to take action and include her work in the Legalize Humanity exhibition.

What causes are you involved with?

I think of the Universal Basic Income movement (UBI) as a great opportunity to bring equity and provide access to basic needs to all. It also helps to correct the industrial-revolution context of work/life balance. For me, that’s a cause that moves the needle and helps everyone across all divides to reach a higher human potential. 

The group most active with this and a great place for anyone to find out more is The Economic Security Project. The issues of homelessness, insufficient care for mental health and unjust incarceration all rank very high for me and I truly believe that all of these issues find an apex of solutions with the implementation of UBI.

Are there any areas of altruism that hit close to home? If so, what are some examples of how you give back?

Controversial as it initially reads, I don’t believe in a pure representation of altruism. I believe we are motivated from deep resonance inside our Self to aide one another. For me, “selfless” acts are not operating without satisfaction of self, but achieving a deep understanding of what it is to be a Self, and extending empathetic compassion to serve one another simultaneously. Contrary to the more political understanding of “service” as putting yourself aside, I find that we give most completely when we feel truly inspired to deliver justice and kindness to those whose suffering feels akin to our own OR to an injustice that feels too compelling not to repair it. 

Art, for example, is a giving of one’s self to a practice which serves an audience to then contemplate themselves to the depth in which the artist has mined their own inner plane. My interest in the UBI movement stems from growing up in financial hardship, seeing what that does to a family and individual, which inspires me to seek ways to heal that injustice for current and future generations. When I imagine those more needy than I’ve ever been, the pangs of injustice deepen tenfold, and the desire within me to eradicate that ache intensifies greatly. 
My work is rooted in self-discovery and universalism as an effort to build pathways which activate my audience to go inward so that the fortified self may then blossom into an outward expression of care for all they encounter. I say all this only to inspire more frequent simple actions of giving in a time where many feel so powerless against great adversities. Also to remind us that giving IS receiving and that is a fantastic gift of Life. Of course, there are so many whose lives are fully devoted to grueling and devastating causes, which is so humbling to witness in a time when humanity is being called to innovate more radically and immediately than ever before.

Has your work ever commented on activism? If so, what are some examples?

I grew up a pretty firm anarchist and worked as a “professional activist” in politics before I made art, and it was through that lens which I observed humanity’s deeper needs for another form of organizing, recognizing and communing with one another that our government isn’t structured to tenderly elicit within us. However necessary and galvanizing a fight against things out of harmony can be, I found myself aligning with a new form of activism in the preventative measure of creating non-verbal works which remind us of solutions that always lie within our reach.

My job in politics was a role in community organizing, outreach and activation, and what I found was that the easiest way to stimulate action was through discussing fear. Setting off into the subtle work of the arts, with a still clear target for impact, I seek to find ways to create work that motivates us from curiosity, inspiration and love. To me, this form of activism fights for contemplation over reaction, seeing commonality versus separation, and empowering rather than fear-mongering. All of my work is tuned to this frequency because I feel it is unfair to over stimulate humanity with insensitivity and rage. I am fighting for a more sensitive and connected world, and that cannot be constructed through shocking and shouting alone.

We also noticed your work is informed by your spirituality. How would you describe your “practice,” if applicable?

My spiritual practice is the art of questioning and evolving. Of uncovering what is clear and simply true. It is working to remove confusion and complication so that every thought, word and action is always refining toward its essence.

 This is why linework has been the foundation of my art practice, it has taught me to lead and follow simultaneously, so I can find the edges of what I’ve learned and what I’m about to discover, and fold them into one another, over and over. To draw a line is to make a distinct decision, and to complete an image is to continue to do so with equal parts variety and consistency. The metaphor in the Way of my work then informs how to live into that, which is where the “practice” resides.

Questioning is an incremental removal of any impasse which doesn’t allow that practice to move forward, finding the truth that’s already within, then evolving is the application of what’s become understood to move into the next phase of becoming.

What is your motivation for being part of the Legalize Humanity show?

A human rights offense of this caliber requires as much participation and visibility as possible. Any opportunity to help raise consciousness around it and reflect the wounds of our society so that we can motivate great repairs will always be where my work and energy will be sent.

How do you define the term “visual philosopher?”

An observer of society’s systems with particular focus on developing new models of relating, who publishes work via the universal language of imagery rather than written word.