Dreamwriting… and the Lucid Artist

What happens when lucid dreaming is introduced to the artistic process? After years of working with lucid dreaming scientifically as part of my PhD and also on a personal and artistic level, I believe lucid dreaming and the ‘waking lucid dreaming’ of the artist’s trance can be powerful tools for artistic transformation.

The dreamer is surrounded by the equivalent of a film of her unconscious mind at play – an unquestionably stimulating artistic resource – and being able to say, ‘I’m dreaming this’ opens up further possibilities for exploration and experimentation.

One thing I love about lucid dreams is that, as Kelzer observes, ‘lucidity does not seem to act as an inhibitor of the unconscious’ (1987). Even in the most determinedly controlled lucid dream, there are always uncontrollable elements, so that the spontaneity of the dream shines through – the sky turns a defiant lime-green, or a novel character melts into a puddle of warm vanilla custard. It’s this spontaneity that gives us our most original creations, the brightest, boldest ideas to take with us back to waking reality and turn into art. So lucid dreaming seems to be a naturally creative state which can facilitate artistic endeavours irrespective of whether dream control is used, but it can also be drawn on as an actively creative space where lucidity enables the conscious, in-the-dream performance of artistic acts such as sculpture or musical composition.

If you’re an artist, when you become lucid you could get stuck in and draw a picture/throw a pot, or announce your intention to find the ‘magic box’ of images, ideas, and inspiration. Mine turned out to be a treasure chest lolling open behind a tree (I had to shoo away two big guard dogs to get at it though) and to my surprise it was bursting with material – scraps of silk, twines of coloured wool, armfuls of slippery saris, thick ribbons all in a sumptuous tangle. Soon after this dream, I did my largest collage yet, ‘Spiral Energy’, using all of the above materials.

‘All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once you grow up.’ – Pablo Picasso. Solution: start lucid dreaming while awake 😎

4 Responses to “Dreamwriting… and the Lucid Artist”

  1. Ryan Hurd, September 17, 2012 at 2:02 am

    Hi Clare! How did the regional conference go? I love how your lucid work is developing, it’s really inspirational. I’d like to get in touch with you by email but am having trouble finding your contact info — please drop me a line when you can!


  2. Clare Jay, September 17, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    Hi Ryan,
    great to hear from you! The conference was amazing, I met some really interesting new people (as always) and it was lovely to see old dream friends again too. My paper on The Lucid Artist will be published in DreamTime soon so if you’re interested, check it out! I’ll email you in a moment anyway so we can chat privately.
    Clare x

  3. nike air max uk, September 19, 2012 at 11:29 pm

    Hello.This article was really interesting, particularly since I was browsing for thoughts on this matter last Wednesday.

  4. Andrei, December 3, 2015 at 9:23 am

    It could be that It could be that your sleeping has chgaend. If you are now sleeping better then you may be sleeping more consistantly so that you are not waking up enough to remember dreams and maybe going to bed or waking at a different time so that you are in a different part of your sleep cycle. Or if you happen to have been worrying more in the past this would have led to lots of dreaming, so if you are now worrying less you will be dreaming less and so less likely to remember your dreams…

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