Solitude and the Pale Blue Dot.

There is a quote by the seventeenth century author John Donne which states ‘No man is an island’

I found myself thinking about this and came to the opinion that he could be no further from the truth. We live on a planet of 7.5 billion people and yet we are all trapped in the shell of our own minds. We are isolated within our own thoughts perceptions and anxieties as we navigate our bodies through the environments around us. Each day interacting and communicating with other trapped souls as they also steer a path from within their own brains. No matter how close we come to other people, whether acquaintances, friends, families or lovers, we can never experience consciousness as they perceive it. Everyone lives from within the confines of their own bubble from the second of conception to the moment of death.

I wanted to try to capture these thoughts through my art. I envisioned a large dark canvass with the subject at the centre. A man, naked, sat head bowed his body curled, alone in the darkness. Isolated in his own thoughts.

As I painted this piece I found myself contemplating the true extent of our isolation. Human kind, a conscious species clinging to a spinning rock. A solitary speck of dust drifting in a vast vacuum of emptiness. Marooned on a piece of driftwood. It reminded me of the life changing moment. Voyager 1, which had completed its primary mission and was leaving our Solar System, was commanded by NASA to turn its camera around and take one last photograph of Earth across a great expanse of space, at the request of astronomer and author Carl Sagan.

The photograph of planet Earth was taken on February 14, 1990, from a record distance of about 6 billion kilometers (3.7 billion miles). In the photograph, Earth’s apparent size was less than a pixel; the planet appeared as a tiny pale blue dot against the vastness of space.

I looked at my painting of 40,000 cells of colour and placed  single pale blue dot. The artwork ‘Solitude’ was perfectly complete.

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