Theta Spring Hypnosis in the Art World
Crystal Dyer in Conversation (Dossier Journal Article)
Crystal Dyer’s studio is made up of a several small rooms, one leading into the next like a series of dimly lit caves. The ceilings are low and many of the walls are ripped up, exposing puffy insulation and thick metal wires. A large black sheet of peeling wallpaper hangs off the wall; this is Crystal’s newest canvas. Ivory muslin is draped over the corners in the main room, where a candle burn
To Crystal, a multimedia artist, spaces often act as a representation of the mind, and in this case her space also reflects a great deal about her work. Her drawings indicate a sensibility that is at once methodical and mystical, clinical and expressive. Her current project, “Hypnosis Drawings,” is characteristic of both late 19th century occult practices and medical anthropology (picture a séance held in a doctor’s laboratory). And past projects have similarly involved such a pairing of the spiritual to the scientific. Process isn’t the only objective though—her work, and its primary intention, is based on self-discovery: “It’s a process of knowing, studying and learning myself, ” she explains. Far from self-important, however, her work draws more from Jungian concepts of the self and psychoanalysis than from the pool of narcissism. Her thirst for knowledge is her motivation and what makes her drawings so interesting. She locates a point between spirituality and science that is seldom visited in contemporary art, and her patience with her work, or “experiments,” is remarkable.
Eugenie Dalland: Tell me about what you’re working on right now.
Crystal Dyer: In November I went to see a hypnotist at Theta Springs Hypnosison 27th Street [in Manhattan]—I’ve never been hypnotized before. I’d read a lot about it, and I’d been thinking of doing this project for a long time. The hypnotist was really into my idea so she hypnotized me, recorded it and let me use [the recording] for post-hypnotic suggestion—that’s technically what its called. So I listen to it and I do drawings.
Eugenie: So you hypnotize yourself?
Crystal: Yes, but it’s different than self-hypnosis. It’s a deeper state. I’ve tried doing self-hypnosis, and it’s more just relaxing. This one is specifically for me and for doing drawings.
Eugenie: It’s specifically designed for making art?
Crystal: Yes, it’s for doing a drawing by getting information from your subconscious.
Eugenie: What is it like being hypnotized?
Crystal: Well, you’re conscious of what you’re doing but you’re like, “Why am I nodding my head right now?” It’s really fascinating. I want to be honest with my artwork, and hypnosis makes you more focused and less distracted. It really is an amazing experience, one where I’m fully conscious that I’m being hypnotized but feeling and seeing visions that the hypnotist dictates.
Eugenie: That sounds incredible..
Crystal: I definitely recommend it! People have been studying it for a long time. Actually, most of my research has been reading books I get off eBay from the 1940s and 1950s about hypnotherapy.
Eugenie: Which in particular?
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