Behind The Scenes with 'Drawing Inspiration'

'Drawing Inspiration' (2011) is a hand-painted festival banner, which between decor jobs resides in my home rolled on bamboo! 

Measuring approx. 285 cm wide x 310 cm deep, it is painted on a king size bedsheet with several layers of acrylic.

About 150 hrs work at a rough estimate! To this day, this piece remains one of my most loved works.

My friend 'Morgs' gave me the opportunity to paint several large-scale Main Stage backdrops over 5 consecutive years for his wonderful event 'Island Vibe Festival' on Stradbroke Island.

They have dressed many East Coast events since and almost become iconic...I feel in a way that everyone owns them now!

'Drawing Inspiration', my Tree of Life, debuted in the Big Top (Main Stage) on Minjerribah (Stradbroke Is.) in 2011. 

In the photos used for print, I applied a painterly photoshop filter over it. The reason for this is, like many of my large-scale festival banners, I didn't have enough digital knowledge at the time of their completion to photograph them in high res! Or often it was such a massive last minute effort to have them ready for event deadlines that I didn't immediately photograph them at all!

By the time I finally found platforms to reproduce, they've had so much wear and tear I'd practically have to re-paint them... enter photoshop filters, that although lost a lot of my brush detail, brought them back up to 300dpi for quality printing!

It took me another 10 years to finally write this poem, my personal interpretation  to compliment the piece. I hope you enjoy it...

"All life begins…
with the 'Heart of the Land'!
This sacred ground, may we come to understand,  
She nurtures all, as nature planned…
Elements of soil, like placenta,  
Intrinsically linked with her magenta...
Here is Mama Gaia, Earth to represent,    
Receptive principle, her hands like roots are meant,
 To draw every sustaining element...
For She is pregnant,
New life force and presence imminent,  
But the baby is swept up, from her essence sent,
In another woman’s arm, to raise,  
A gift are these precious days…
For all life is just borrowed,  
And a blessing is tomorrow.
This tree that we all are, 
 Reaching from Earth for the stars,
Is a living tapestry,  
interconnected beings within community,
Co-existing with nature symbiotically,
our intrinsic love of family,
Our need to belong,
though we each sing our own song...
Up the strong trunk we come,  
Survival for the fittest ones,
Male counterpart he seeds,   
The Active principle now leads,
Pulling all that Earth energy towards the sun,  
From heart chakra pray and live as one,
Bursting it out into the World,  
New hopes and dreams to be unfurled!
All the ways we express ourselves,
 Singing or dancing, take care of our health,
Making music and loving,  
our connections be the greatest wealth!
Playing and knowing,  
Giving and growing,  
Hands reaching forth, now displaying,
These Heart shaped leaves!  
For what takes form, in the world we perceive,
Comes from whence we draw or focus...
where we lay our attention, its not hocus-pocus!
And these leaves speak too of the Bodhi Tree...
where Buddha sat, his mind to free!
We are organic and psychedelic,   
Electrical and magnetic,
Spiritual, emotional, physical,  
Mutable but not invincible!
Life is fragile and beautiful,  
full of magic imperceptible,
lets not make it an obstacle...
The only constant is change,  
 Biology we cannot rearrange,
Human ways can be so strange….  
Must accept and adapt if we can’t explain.
For Nature be governed by Universal lore,
  All we animals are primal at the core,
Every living thing with whom we share this place, 
 It’s not just about the human race!
Respect for life, all beings, may we support each other,
Chop this tree we hurt our mother,  
On her we depend as much as one another,
Intrinsically linked, physically synced!
The White cockatoo he keeps a lookout,
Wings spread wide he wants to shout,
“Hearken” to this natural lore!  
Listen to this planet like you never have before!
Our selfish ways she can’t sustain,
  Too much pain, like tears, let it rain!
Water meanders her life force through land,  
Like blood through flesh n hands,
Rivers of healing, serpentine,  
With our tap root they now entwine,
To become the blood of the tree,  
Same red stream running through you and me,
Earths river systems look like our veins, aerially!
So in gratitude for this life,
look again to the skies,
Here the kookaburras sit up high,
  Shaking off all those questions why,
Reminding us to laugh,  
Try not to do anything by half!
For here too we have Willy Wagtail,  
Didjjr Didjrr little one you never fail,
To put a smile on our face,  
Singing ‘bout our dear ones now in Spirit place,
that they be happy and free!
 These impermanent leaves,
will always fall,  
To feed the ground like the ones before…
And new things they grow,  
Mushrooms and mycelium know,
May help transmute toxic waste,  
Together clean up this sacred space!
Red Earth to tend,    
Blue waters to mend,
The fiery yellow sun,  
Frames this tree of life where we are all one,
All thriving against a deep dark sky,  
Aboriginal flag stylised,
Respect for Country on which we stand,  
Though we all grew here, no-one ‘owns’ the land,
The cobalt blue of the cosmos in which we spin,
 To represent this Earth and all of our kin,
Let me look into your eyes,
 before the colour of your skin!
We are intricate yet insignificant in the universe wide,  
 Both macro and micro witnessing the tides,
Grace and humility in our stride,  
For what an incredible gift is this ride!
Amazing and beautiful,  
Connected and truthful,
An honour and a responsibility, 
 To live with sensitivity…
Dream our dreams but then plant our seeds,
remember it's love that we all need!
So keep drawing and expressing I must,  
Life is too short not to trust.
Drawing it all in like a breath,  
Letting it out, each ‘little death’,
“Die before you die” they say,  
Try see life with new awe every day!
So I transmute all these feels,  
Gifts bestowed I keep them real,
In turn I give to thee,  
This beautiful Tree of Life that we all be.
 Help set your perceptions free,
Lets rise above,
remain in love,
As fractals unfold surreptitiously,
Lets try to act deliberately,
In this timeline of events,  
This life remains a present!
Blessings for you n blessings for me,  
Kindness and care are key,
May we co-exist in peace!
We are interconnected beings in community,  
Co-existing with nature symbiotically,
We are organic and psychedelic,  
 Electrical and magnetic,
Spiritual, emotional, physical,  
Mutable but not invincible,
Life is fragile and beautiful,
 full of magic imperceptible,
lets not make it an obstacle...
The only constant is change,  
Biology we cannot rearrange,
Human ways can be so strange…
Only in love...Do we remain."
Imogen O'Neil (2022) ©️


 You can find 'Drawing Inspiration' printed on:

- Mens T-Shirts

- Men's Tank Tops (Singlets)

- Women's T-Shirts

- Women's Tank Tops (Singlets)

- Cushion Covers

- Stretched Canvas Prints

- Wall Hanging/ Tapestry

- Prints on Paper or Cards

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