John Devlin

Art therapy as a route to psychic wholeness

I enjoyed architectural sketching while studying at the Technical University of Nova Scotia in the 70s and took several classes in rendering and perspective. But it was only after I fell ill in England in 1980 that drawing became an absolute existential necessity. Having no connection with the academy, I was an outsider and was driven to draw by inner urgency. I felt compelled to do it, on whatever scraps of paper that came to hand (LP record sleeves, backs of letters, margins of books). And this became even worse (or better) during the few times that I stopped taking my medication. What drove me was the absolute conviction that I had encountered the divine while at Cambridge University, and that it was encoded somehow in the architecture of King's College. If I kept on marking, and drawing that college, over and over again, I would eventually stumble upon the magic formula that would reopen the low garden door in the wall that led to Paradise. So I left the rational world behind and entered a shadowy land of alchemy and the Holy Grail. Since my medication has been ramped up over the years to keep me out of hospital, my daemon or muse has abandoned me somewhat, leaving me all the more dependent upon art therapy to move forward and invent a numinous landscape that I could control and vicariously inhabit. I left the comfortable world of Christianity and the church far behind, and found myself completely alone: responsible for creating and sustaining my own solipsistic Universe. I have returned to the church somewhat, at the price of lost creativity and diminished demonic energy. The residue of my 36 year journey through a kind of inferno remains 1600 drawings/images:



John Devlin

Dear Roise,

Thank you for the kind comment.

It is always nice to get interesting feedback!

best wishes,

John Devlin


Roise Knox-Peebles

I very much like the Fascist on the Beach - very interesting effect of something semi-hidden but visible; possibly lurking behind a blinking eye.

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