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Katerina Husar Lazarova


Automatic Drawing: A Window into Artistic Intuition

In the realm of artistic expression, there exists a captivating phenomenon known as automatic drawing – a practice that transcends conscious thought, inviting artists to surrender to the whims of intuition and spontaneity. Originating from the depths of the subconscious mind, automatic drawing has long served as a conduit for creative exploration and self-discovery. Today, I invite you to journey with me into the enigmatic origins of automatic drawing and how it shapes my own artistic vision.

The roots of automatic drawing can be traced back to the early 20th century when it emerged as a cornerstone of the Surrealist movement. Artists such as Joan Miró, Salvador Dalí, and Unica Zürn embraced this technique as a means of tapping into the subconscious mind, unleashing a torrent of raw emotion and imagery onto the canvas. Through automatic drawing, they sought to bypass the constraints of rational thought, accessing deeper layers of the psyche to reveal hidden truths and desires.

Miro's practice, The Beautiful Bird Revealing the Unknown to a Pair of Lovers, combines automatic drawing with representational imagery and content. 

At its essence, automatic drawing is a form of spontaneous mark-making devoid of preconceived notions or deliberate planning. It is an act of pure improvisation, guided by intuition and instinct rather than intellect or technique. The artist relinquishes control, allowing the hand to move freely across the surface of the paper, responding to the impulses of the subconscious mind.

Der Geist aus der Flasche, 1960, pen and black ink, 31.9 x 24.5 cm

The origin of automatic drawing is in the psychological theories of Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung, particularly their concepts of the unconscious mind and archetypes. From a neuroscientific perspective, automatic drawing taps into the brain's default mode network, a network associated with spontaneous cognition and creativity. Research suggests that this process may activate brain regions responsible for self-referential processing and emotional expression, offering insight into the subconscious landscape of the artist's psyche.

For me, automatic drawing serves as a profound source of inspiration and liberation in my artistic practice. It is a process of discovery and revelation, where I embrace uncertainty and the unknown with open arms. Through automatic drawing, I can access a deeper wellspring of creativity and draw upon the rich reservoir of imagery and symbolism that lies within.

In a world deluged with noise and distraction, automatic drawing offers a sanctuary of stillness and serenity. It is a practice of mindfulness and presence, where the boundaries between artist and artwork blur into oblivion. Through the act of creation, I am able to transcend the limitations of the self, forging a deep connection with the universal currents of creativity that flow through us all.

Through the interplay of psychological and neurological mechanisms, automatic drawing serves as a testament to the boundless potential of the human imagination and the transformative power of artistic expression. It also serves as a window into the complex workings of the human mind. As I continue to explore the depths of automatic drawing in my own work, I invite you to join me on this extraordinary journey of discovery and self-discovery.


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