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Tommy Mishima b. 1980


My art practice is only secondary to a chief necessity to understand the depths of how reality is built through language. In a more general scope, this need traces its impetus for action to the most ancient of times, when those who mastered symbols and words were associated with fostering magical powers. To the uninitiated, this association to the esoteric was merely an inferring due to their lack of knowledge of how language works both in the conscious and unconscious level. While for the adepts, magic was simply the act of changing someone else's consciousness by the deliberate use of rhetoric. 


In the arts, the most concise example of this practice is found in Renaissance art, where artists are known to have used religious artifacts to convey pagan knowledge. The multitude who saw these artworks where enchanted not only by the dexterity of the artist’s technique but mainly by the power of the scene depicted. This visual reinforcement, apart from the established oral tradition, in turn served to perpetuate the principles of Christianity to the unwashed masses, and the true meaning of the symbols only to those who were in the know.


My work stems from this allegorical tradition of building layers of meaning within a single composition in order to stimulate both the rational and emotional aspect of the mind. With the use of archetypal signs and an investment in current social issues, my work stretches from the political to the universal in one read, marrying knowledge of the occult with knowledge of current affairs. Most of my influences are therefore split between artistic and non-artistic sources, with a pronounced tilt in favor of non-fiction literature. It is through the assimilation of this data that my imagery is born, as the eventual offspring of this epistemic junction.

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