NOW SERVING Psychedelic Culture

Tryptophantasia: a Talk with Kaliptus

On February 13th at the Wild Project, the multi-talented animation artist Kaliptus will be screening animation from a group of psychotropic video artists at an event he calls “Tryptophantasia.” Kaliptus describes himself as an exorcist and bringer of paradise through visual poetry.  Some of his most exciting client work has been with Alex Grey, Marvel, Stephen King, Black Tide, Sneaux, Orange County Choppers, and Seed Gallery.  Although still quite young for such accomplishments, Kaliptus sees himself playing an even greater role in the transformation of the human soul and hueman condition to its rightful place as a forever expanding and universal entity.  

Salma:  Thank you for talking with me, I am curious about you and your work.  My first question has to be, explain the name Tryptophantasia.  Many of your events have such interesting and esoteric sounding names.  What inspires them?

Kaliptus: You’re welcome, Salma.  It’s a pleasure.  The meaning of Tryptophantasia originated from the word Tryptophan.  When I first read “A Golden Guide to Hallucinogenic Plants” by Richard Evans Schultes, I discovered that the amino acid Tryptophan was largely responsible for the bio-chemical aspects of a psychedelic experience and that most indoles or hallucinogenic alkaloids come from this amino acid. I found it worthy of integrating it into my artsy jargon and combined it with the word Fantasia, which is an animated film, produced by Walt Disney.  The event does resemble a sort of psychedelic or visionary Fantasia so I felt that the title was perfect and just rolled with it.

Your work ranges from sketches, paintings and digital manipulations all the way through to video art and animation.  Much of it seems steeped in deeper meaning and brings to mind hidden worlds and makes transparent the perpetrators of “the afflicted man.”  Would you call yourself a visionary artist?

I do consider myself a mystic or visionary, multi-media artist.  One of my many roles is to expand the consciousness of myself and the consciousness of those who interact with my artworks and me.  I strive to create devices in which the possibility of a higher state of being increasingly becomes more available and forever grows, transforms and expands itself.  I hope to break down more and more boundaries that separate us from the infinite, in hopes of achieving utopia here in this living world, even if only for a temporary moment.

What inspires the themes and subject of most of your work?

Most of my works are inspired from my own mystical experiences.  A large number of them are attempts to bring back a piece of that realm of experience from which I had gone into and returned.  However, some of my works with a more dark and violent appearance are intended to be types of exorcism.  There are times when certain destructive extremes and imbalances manifest themselves from the subconscious mind and into the world.  When I tune into the metaphysical existence of such extremes I try to exorcise them by giving them a chance for expression, in hopes that they will not manifest destructively in the physical world of waking consciousness.  A good example of this sort of thing I did, is the animation “Endarkened.”

Is there a message in each work or is it an expression of what you have seen, a sort of documentary or revealing of hidden things or something else entirely?

Every piece of work varies and in most cases they might be all of the above and more.  Let it be a mirror to the public.

When I look at your work I feel a mixture of deep disturbance and at the same time it inspires within me a curiosity and compassion for what you are trying to show us and for you for what you have seen.  Do you ever think about how your work comes across to others and is there any particular way you’d prefer to have people see your work?

I think that many people will find what they are looking for in my works.  If they seek enlightenment they might find it.  If they seek chaos they might find that. Whatever they seek, they will probably find it and that just about goes for anything I think.  Because of that, I do not fear the possibility of being misunderstood.

Why Kali?  Talk about a little more about Kali’s role in your life and in your work and in your mission and self-identity.

Well, to say the least about this deep and complex happening, my girl friend and I almost died in 2002.  During this near-death experience I experienced many, many strange things, one of them being a sort of internal rebirth.  The “Rebirth” actually just made me more of whom I already was.  It kicked me off of autopilot and awakened my being into a more conscious type of living.  The paradigm shift was so creative yet chaotic that I forever became a reflection of “it”.  I became a sort of Earthquake or rather “Mindquake” of the heavens, casting what Patanjali would call “Dhyana” on my immediate environments around and within me.  I became a sort of Kali-Man and my girlfriend became my opposite counterpart.  However since that day we’ve become more unified than ever, and I must admit that I have bits of her and she has bits of me.  I guess sometimes I feel like Shiva and sometimes I feel like Kali but altogether, I feel like an entirely new being.  But please, keep in mind, I do not claim to be Kali or Shiva and do not want to be worshipped as god or guru.  I just think that the karmic energies of universal myth and poetry have a tendency of manifesting in humans from time to time.  In the Jungian sense I just think that Shiva, Kali and a bunch of other collective archetypes exist in all of us and can be accessed accidentally or on purpose depending on what one’s path stumbles upon.  In that sense, we are the ones we’ve been waiting for.

How does Kali fit into your work?

Kali as energy fits into my work as much as it fits into the rest of world.  I think it’s just an organic manifestation that happened.  I don’t really pray to Kali or try to convey her subject matters all the time.  Though I’ve had interesting visions of what seemed to be the appearance of Kali, eyes closed in the underworlds of a certain meditation I had in the past, I do not make all of my work about Kali.  Kali has just become transformed into a male aspect and has been made into an alias or mask for me as an artistic entity.

How do you see the world ever changing and how is your work related to that vision, if at all?

Well, I hope that everyone as a whole becomes more eco-friendly.  It seems natural for evolution to have its quantum leaps during times of pressure and desperation, so in a world of heightened pollution and earthly destruction, I hope that we all learn to keep what we have and improve it.  If my works can assist the process of attaining the possibility of a paradise or utopia on this planet, I would be extremely fulfilled but I guess we’ll just have to take action, wait and see what happens.  I can’t help but to remember one of Robert Anton Wilson’s quotes, “Advantage all without disadvantaging any!”

If your work is an extension of something even greater within yourself, how would you describe that greater thing?

The minute you describe something in words, you take away the direct experiential meaning because words are metaphors and they become like a photocopy of a photocopy of the real thing.  I can call my work an extension of the genius or an extension of human nature or an extension of the universe, god, nature, etc.  But in more accurate terms, it is an extension of something else entirely that cannot be described or fully understood.

What are your beliefs about the spiritual or psychological significance of art and how it might affect others to transform themselves or to better understand the invisible world around us?

Well, some the art I have created is based off of previous experiences.  I think that there are some who are out there and have seen the same symbols, traveled through the same realities, witnessed the presence of the same energies but are keeping it private because they might think that if they share it with the rest of the world, people might think they are crazy.  I hope that my art breaks them out of their shell and gives them the confidence that they need to go onto a more universal path.  After all, when I almost died, my girlfriend and I saw eyes everywhere.  We experienced a sort of shared-hallucination during the peak of our internal death process.  Then two years after the experience I saw the works of Alex Grey and realized that he had experienced the same exact realm of phenomena and I thank him greatly for painting it.  This was very inspiring for me and I hope I can do the same thing for other people.

Tell me more about your new project, Tryptophantasia.  Who are the artists that you are working with or who will be featured in this event?

I must admit that the global artists in this animation screenings event are definitely the best and most talented individuals that I have ever brought together.

We have Bruno Dicolla, Yoshi Sodeoka, Blu, Zumbakamera, Stieg Retling, Malcolm Sutherland, Weirdcore, Joseph Pelling, Fernando Sarmiento, Jacob Rendell, Aghori Christ, RKDB, Mato Atom, Domino, and Syd Gnosis.

Please be sure to check out all of their works because they really are cream of the crop video artists, motion graphics designers and animators that have been in the industry for some time.

What inspired you do put together the artists involved, why did you choose them specifically?  What role or place does each one provide in the greater vision you have of what you’d like to say or accomplish with this project?

The content of their works fits in with the theme of the event in that they are mystical by nature. They are also some of the best video artists I have ever stumbled upon.  Please check out the artist’s websites, come to the screenings and judge for yourself.

Can you tell us a story about one of your interactions with any one of these artists or how you came across them and what your first reaction was?

Ok, sure.  One of my favorite artists that will be displaying one of his pieces called “Psychedelic Death Vomit (Slight Return) 3d”, is Yoshi Sodeoka.  I met Yoshi when I used to work at Motherland, Inc doing work for clients such as Marvel, Stephen King, Blacktide, etc.  Yoshi used to split the studio space with Lance Sells, the creative director at Motherland so I used to sit across from Yoshi everyday at work and got to know him quite well.  We clicked big time ever since and aside from us being interested in each others works a lot, we were pretty compatible and got to hang out a few times at the studio, during lunch, etc.

Can you describe briefly a few of the styles of the artists in the show and what you like about their work?

The styles of the artists vary from psychotropic animations to mystical videos, tripadelic motion graphics, mind warping experiments, occult surrealism and lots more.

What role do you think animation may have in re-educating people into a new way of thinking that is more resonant with the resurrection of the mind-soul from out of the pits of hell that we sometimes find ourselves in and into the quiet still place of a heart centered existence?

Well, I think that animation is a more visual and accurate way of communicating something as opposed to words.  You can convey an experience directly, rather than describing it in a misleading juxtaposition of vocabulary that jades an experience.

Is there anything else that you’d like to say about Tryptophantasia?

I hope that all who are reading this will get to experience the screenings and support this fairly young and underground psychedelic animation scene.  It is you, our audience that can nourish the artists and give us a chance to keep doing what we do best.  I thank all the past, current and future supporters some of which are and were COSM, SVA, Seed Gallery, Motionographer, Kromotion, Rebirth Nation, Vimeo, Souldish, Evolver, Reality Sandwich, Subterranean, etc.

Thank you for your insights.  I, for one, am looking forward to learning more about your work and I’m excited about the animation screening.

Tryptophantasia is a multi-artists animation film screening being held in NYC at The Wild Project Theater on February 13, 2010.  The Wild Project is located at 195 E 3rd St.  The theater is wheel-chair accessible.  Contact Ana Mari at (212) 228 – 1195 or for more information about the theater.

Tickets are $5 in advance or $7 at the door and can be purchased in advance here. There will be an after-party for the event too.  Click here for a flyer.

A full listing of the event can be found here: “Tryptophantasia on Souldish”

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