'Beauty Is Genius'Staedtler pigment liner, hanko & wax signature, 1120 x 800mm, 1/1, 2016

Beauty is Genius; of Gods and (wo)men. 

For me to talk about ‘Beauty is Genius’ in anything but the first person would be to dishonestly hide behind a facade and not give validity to a creation from my heart. This work is personal, raw, extremely intimate and revels one of my greatest challenges and fears. Working through this declaration exposed the inner workings of my mental capacity and comprehension, and broke my ties with former confines both of conceptualisation and conduct. This clarity came through applying myself to cleaning out my thinking, through application of knowledge, through time and love and above all, through accepting and trusting my experiences and beliefs in the sensory and spiritual.

‘Beauty is Genius’ is a declaration of a point of growth; of the recognition of the ethereal and the right to be able to take pleasure from the artistry of existence. It has taken great courage for me to create this artwork and to reveal it for this exposes two facets of my identity which have caused me enormous pain and hostility- from others but most destructively from within myself. For what is life if you can recognise and love all that is around you, but not be able to reflect this inwards?

The competitive nature of humans to prove we are better, that we have the ‘way’, that a thought or process is the best confuses and upsets me, but it is within these restrictions and rigid constructs that I find my true freedom. My curiosity is honed for A way, not THE way, and often this is a much more unusual one. For in my story, to get to clarity comes flying though dark and bumpy clouds, yet this is precisely how empathy through experience by immersion develops. There are so many wonderful ways to experience existing and all of them have value and merit in their own right. Learning how to appraise, respect and understand myself through appreciating my difference has been my greatest achievement. It is within the flaws that beauty resides.

Both Beauty and Genius have caused me considerable pain, isolation, loneliness, confusion and discomfort at times within my life, and this statement sits within a place of great friction for me. We aspire towards these qualities, yet the repercussions of them are greatly underestimated. Hand in hand with these come less virtuous qualities which are indispensable in the understanding of the former, however, these are much less appealing. Yet, this is where the proof in the pudding lies- it is within acknowledgement and acceptance of these attributes that the other values become precious. Vanity + pride, ego + charisma, creativity + madness, dedication + obsession, intellectual dexterity + emotional immaturity, anxiety + imagination, precision + perfectionism, courage + fear, selfishness + altruism, strategy + addiction, constructive + destructive, commitment + denial, perception + unconsciousness, persuasive + manipulative, decadence + depravity, vision + memory, unique + regular, private + extroverted, perseverance + surrender,  calmness + turbulence, work + play, peace + passion, loyalty + possessiveness, love + hate; the list goes onnn… Subtle shifts in qualities can have the most profound and powerful effects, all initiated by belief, recognition and evaluated by integrity. Academic and cultural achievements paling in comparison, it was a helluva road to develop my sensitive perceptiveness to encompass the blessings of talents and aesthetics I have been given. 

Both Genius and Beauty are not exclusive; they are mental states which though engagement and genuine virtue are accessible to everyone because everyone has them. For if life has not provided the fruits of labour and these gifts are concealed, these revelations lie nowhere else but within.

Action and reaction, as in science, as in nature, as in emotions and behaviour all has repercussions; ripples that turn into waves. Mental waves being as momentous as physical ones for this is equilibrium; this is where invention, imagination and creativity combines with the energies guiding us to search for what makes us happy and what helps those around us. 

Genius is clearly recognisable within youth and nature- it is simplicity and purity. Naivety which hasn't been sullied by the infiltration of desire, longing, stress, feelings of lack and of loss and that has been encouraged to romp and relax; to follow seemingly absurd concepts to the ends of rainbows. To explore through participation without an end game because that’s where all the fun lies- in the enjoyment of enjoyment. Hold. The. Horses. Here comes puberty- for humans this is where the scene becomes much more complex- here comes the land of Emotion. In my experience, intelligence can be interpreted as control; as the search and dedication towards understanding, but this hardwired drive doesn't couple too well with elusive and fluid sensations out of balance. Yet, as with all juxtapositions, this too is balanced and diffused by it’s partner- relinquishment.

Adolescence brought many challenges for me and my intellect and looks did not bring easy avenues. However, I wouldn't take a moment back. I am learning more today than I ever have; it only gets better. I have never been interested in being the prettiest, or having my looks sway situations or opportunities for me- I actively seek out developing skills and knowledge where this is not prioritised. However I cannot say how I look doesn’t affect what I do as that is based on others judgements, but I can tell you it is not always beneficial or advantageous and that it brings the recipient challenges with ettiequte, expectations and interaction. I enjoy playing with my appearance and the different characters I can express but my interests lie in learning, in having courage and being kind, and in building genuine relationships. I have always wanted to understand people from every walk of life, more so in turn due to the tribulations, deceit and deception I experienced as a young person. This propulsion; to nourish my intellect and talents, brought me to understanding myself though others, and subsequently developing Mind, Heart, Body and Spirit while helping those around me. I did not have control over what blessings I had been given, but I knew I had control over how productive and valuable I could make them in order to share myself and my expertise.

As with ‘Tall White Poppy’ I have treated 224,000 1mm squares each with a mark to create a bigger picture. Many metaphors lie within in reference to my thoughts of existence and individuality. Curves are made up of boxes with sharp corners; like in life there are spikes in the bends. No line, no mark is flawless, even the shapes that seem so from afar have blips and variation; as too in living and mankind- beauty is imperfect. My handwriting creates form by using script to articulate my personal viewpoints; it is fluid not rigid; only my opinion not a rule or regulation. I supply the definitions of both Genius and Beauty and examples of the uses of them, making statements and talking of experiences from my own life or ideas I assimilate with in order to instigate thought through concepts less literal, but everything is open for interpretation.

Juxtaposing the information are marks, symbols, doodles and the playfulness of the imagery. The process in itself is meditative and gives me lucidity within mind chatter. Space invaders, mountains, tiles and checkerboards; snakes confined within shapes and wayward off paths, changing colour when entering new zones and missing prizes to follow other directions; wonky edges, boarders unravelling and parts not coloured in likeness to the adjacent design are all symbolic illustrations of what I think it is to live and love; to have freedom of choice, to be unique and draw the picture of our lives how we desire. 


Welcome to my mind.




Both the definitions of Beauty and Genius are surrounded by references to breathing techniques and encouragement to visualise and focus on goals and aspirations. Herewith follows the transcript of text within the artwork.

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Genius | ˈdʒiːnɪəs | noun | (pl: geniuses)

1 (mass noun) exceptional intellect or creative power or other natural ability 

‘what a teacher of genius’. ‘that person has a genius for organisation'

a person regarded as exerting a powerful influence over another for good or evil.

‘Hitler was an evil genius’ ‘this young person is my good genius; my guardian angel.’

(pl: genii | ˈdʒiːnɪʌɪ | ) (in some mythologies)

a spirit associated with a particular place, person or institution

the prevailing character or spirit of something

‘Tadanori Yokoo’s paintings and aesthetic did not suit the austere genius of minimalist contemporary Japanese art of that time.’

adjective | informal

very clever or ingenious- a genius idea

‘the movie was absolutely genius in parts’

Origin: late middle english from Latin

‘attendant spirit present from ones birth, innate ability or inclination; from the root of gignere ‘beget’, the original sense ‘spirit attendant on a person’ gave rise to a sense ‘a person’s characteristic disposition (late 16th C), which led to a ‘person’s natural ability’ and finally ‘exceptional natural ability’ (mid 17th C)


A selection of the surrounding declarations: 

'A beautiful genius walks their own life story. It is not looks, it is not knowledge, it is not recognition. It is simply living life as required by your soul.'

'The only difference between you and me is what we think and dream.'

'Have the courage to take one step. One step becomes two, becomes three, become a genius for our own existence.'

'Let curiosity get the better of you'

'Your ideas are for your journey'

'Breathe breathe breathe breathe breathe…'


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Beauty | ˈbjuːti | noun (pl: beauties)

1 (mass noun) a combination of qualities, such as shape, colour or form, that pleases the aesthetic senses, especially sight; ‘an area of outstanding beauty’

a combination of qualities that pleases the intellect. ‘the artistry and beauty of football’

a beautiful or pleasing thing or person

an excellent example of something

(the beauties of) the pleasing or attractive features (of something); beauties of the New Zealand countryside

(in sing.) the best aspect or advantage of something; ‘the beauty of growing your own vegetables is that you have the pleasure of experience, skill, availability and supporting conscious consumerism.’

adjective: Aust/ NZ informal: good; excellent (used as a general term of approval) ‘You beauty All Blacks!’

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder’

proverb: that which one person finds beautiful or admirable may not appeal to another

‘Beauty is only skin deep’

proverb: a pleasing appearance is not a guide to character


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(main text) Beauty is Genius (follows into the text to the left of G)… and completely subjective; but lets go back a step because I am not talking about what is on the outside. New Zealand, you may take this statement as an ice pick to the face, but stay with me… I am talking about beauty of thought, beauty of creation, beauty of being able to exist in a modern world obsessed with negativity and destruction. Beauty is taking delight in things that make your heart flutter. It is appreciation, gratitude and wonder in the incredible, unique and pleasurable. Beauty is gratifying the existence of experiences and things bigger than self and ego. Beauty is positivity. Beauty is taking enjoyment from being intellectually challenged and being presented with concepts foreign and unusual and allowing space for comprehension, discussion and varied viewpoints. Appreciation of beauty is not being bent out of shape if something is better than another. In our media saturated world our initial connotations of the word beauty are all about body image, identity and competition- often linked with feelings of lack, judgement and negativity. Beauty is character, and character celebrates variation and diversity. Beauty is the slow burner, the sensory and the unforgettable. Beauty is spirit. The hard work, dedication and diligence of beauty should be celebrated and encouraged. Beauty is thinking big. In my country beauty is often misunderstood, judged negatively and feared. Beauty is much more than the package you have been given on the outside. You can't choose it, but you can choose how you share it. Beauty is space, it’s grace, it’s what’s left and not filled. It needs no explanation. It causes conflict, argument and discourse. Beauty is juxtapositions; safety, strength, weakness and vulnerability. Beauty is assurance and wonder. Beauty is a gift from one to another. Beauty is not exclusive. Beauty is a mindset. Beauty is brain power, it’s thought processes and every single person has it! Beauty is honesty; for reflecting and accepting both good and bad and having the courage to choose the best option available at the time. Beauty is energy; it is unlimited and infinite. We live in a world filled with the constructs of our imagination and thoughts- beauty is recognition of the wonder of these. Human beauty does not make life easier. It doesn’t give you an advantage and makes you no better nor worse than anyone else. Beauty is orchestrating the power of the positive. Beauty is black and white, good and bad, love and hate. Beauty is balance. Beauty is not number one, nor is it ‘perfect’ or whole. It changes, is personal and requires no justification to another. “imperfection is beauty, madness is genius, and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring”- Marilyn Munroe. Beauty laughs at itself. Everyone wants something they don’t have- beauty is enjoying and being content with what you do have. Beauty is living to the fullest capacity. 


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The difference between genius and madness is honesty. Refracting. Regrouping. Changing. Evolve. Grow. Develop. Beauty is genius? It’s like herding cats. It’s never a crowd pleaser. There is not consensus there is only being or giving up. This statement makes me so uncomfortable because I have been labelled both of these things. Neither of these attributes make me better or more elite than another person, yet societies impression is that that is how I feel or perceive myself. In fact for many years I wanted to hide and not face the obligations I have to make the best of what, by the grace of a power much bigger than me, has been bestowed on me. Beauty, the genius of beauty, I believe is simplicity, authenticity and integrity. It has fuck all to do with the allocation of aesthetic pleasure and everything to do with energy. Beauty is challenging. Beauty takes intellect to manage. Beauty is not always comfortable. Genius is not rational. Beauty is being brave enough to not be the same. Genius is esoteric. Genius is the courage and bravery to see and believe in concepts which aren't entirely tangible. Beauty is removing ego and replacing it with faith- Genius is trusting the voice in your head to enlighten you with answers- Heart is choosing between the paths of good or bad in order to learn. The only thing that differs you from another is what you think about and the actions you undertake in order to achieve them. To be different you have to think different. The only constant is change. You are a beautiful genius constructed for your life and your story. I’m not smarter than anyone, I’m just tuned into my world. I love being imperfectly crazy. An essence unique. Genius is intellectual exploration into the far reaches of the absurd. Human beauty is so dwarfed by nature and the environment and is forever coloured by ego and perspective. Beauty is courage to be what; who you are with integrity. Beauty is not ‘one up manship’. Is it confronting because the concept requires Divine intervention? Because it is intangible, elusive and unquantifiable? Because you can't buy it? Because it comes from an utterly personal selection of skill? If everything was the same, nothing would be challenging to be different. Beauty is not forgetting how to play. Beauty causes friction. Beauty and genius are not harnessed by ego. Beauty is genius? It certainly is extremely complex. Cute - ugly but interesting; Beautiful - imperfectly endearing, Genius = madly creative. Genius is curiosity mixed with drive. Honesty.




Through the information laden, brain chugging context and thought provoking messages perhaps the most uncomplicated revelation sums it all up; whatever communiqué lies within, it is but a pretty picture which brought me much joy to create.


Photography Sean Aickin Photography