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  • Simone Allaston is an Artist and Photographer completing her BA in Fine Arts at UWS.

    She later became interested in Jungian Psychology and the Surrealist Art movement. Simone earned her MA in Analytical Psychology in 2003.

    “I have always been a lover of bold art. I love strong colours and the play of light in a work. I have always been curious about dreams and the subconscious and have explored these themes through my work”.





In her writings and photography, Wenxin Zhang describes her experiences of growing up in China, her current life in San Francisco, and her personal relationships, all in a voice that is melancholic and tranquil. Her series Five Nights, Aquarium tells a surreal, non-linear take that attempts to reconstruct what she describes as the inner journey she makes between her home country and San Francisco. We recently asked her to tell us more.


How would you descrie Five Nights, Aquarium?
Five Nights, Aquarium is a non-linear story that consists of both photographic and written works. I divided the whole story into five mini-parts, each of which represents a micro-fiction. The five micro-fictions are intertwined with each other through hints I have buried in the photographs and written works. I try to let the audience dive into a labyrinth-like aquarium full of unconsciousness, full of hidden treasure and desire.”



There are feelings of estrangement, longing, confinement, and even boredom that seem to arise in this series. How is this work related to your journey between China and San Francisco and the feelings you encounter while traveling between the two places?
“In the book Stranger to Ourselves, Julia Kristeva wrote about foreigners; “A secret wound, often unknown to himself, drives the foreigner to wandering. He is a devotee of solitude, even in the midst of a crowd, because he is faithful to a shadow: bewitching secret, paternal ideal, inaccessible ambition.” Traveling between China and San Francisco, my life became a temporary thing. My perception towards San Francisco changed drastically over time, from exotic excitement to fatigue, and then to an intricate mixture of everything.”



You describe Tokyo and California as places to dream about and imagine yourself in. How does your relationship to certain places resemble or differ from your relationship to the people in these photographs?
“I was born in the late 1980s in China. I experienced the gradual collapse of an old system and the embracing of a new system of my country during my teenage years. The evolution of everyday life was a simmering process, which was too tedious for a claustrophobic teenager. In my young heart, Tokyo and California represented far more than two geographic locations; they are where most of the beautiful stories took place in my favorite books, lyrics, and movies. In a small landlocked Chinese city like my hometown Hefei, it was hard to live a satisfactory life without dreaming about a place that you long for.

“In the case of people in my photographs, I regard them as my characters. When thinking or writing about the story that I want to convey, I list the types of people that I need photographs of, and then I look for them. I don’t usually direct their poses, I chat with them in an immersed way, and then capture the subtle and complex moments. The people I photographed either represent people from my past or people I met in dreams.”

Wenxin Zhang


Internal thoughts are somewhat difficult to capture in photographs, how do you work with this enigmatic subject matter using a medium that lends itself to a pure description of reality?
“Those imaginary and intangible spaces that I describe and try to depict were not created for the project specifically. They grew with me over time, rooted and sprouted in the gaps between my inner world and the outside reality. They are inseparable parts of me and it has always been my desire to unveil them.”






This post was contributed by photographer and videographer Adam Forrester.

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 Donal Moloney

 Donal Moloney

Irish photographer Donal Moloney, straying a bit from the commercial photography he usually produces, shared with us a multimedia piece he recently made called Birdie, about an older woman of the same name who passed away three years ago at the age of 94. His images are a reflection on the last years of her life and the house she left behind when no one was there to help her make that transition. Time seems to stand still in Birdie’s house; she is everywhere.

Donal Moloney

Can you tell us a bit about Birdie?
“I’m guessing that Birdie had no family but I’m hoping to return to the small town and find out more. Her house was left like that because I’m assuming she had no family to look after the place while she was in the retirement home. What I do know is that she was the local librarian for many years. Her attic had a few tea chests full of old books.”

Did making this project affect you in ways that others haven’t?
“I rarely become emotionally attached to a building I investigate; such is my excitement in discovering them but Birdie’s did make me stop a little longer and think. The photo on the mantelpiece with the crucifix and the holy water did make me well up when I spotted the poem in the frame ‘A prayer for those who live alone.’”

Donal Moloney

Donal Moloney

 Donal Moloney

Donal Moloney

Donal Moloney

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What dreams may come…How to keep a creative mind balanced

By Simone Allaston |Creativity – Life Balance

The dream is the small hidden door in the deepest and most intimate sanctum of the soul, which opens to that primeval cosmic night that was soul long before there was conscious ego and will be soul far beyond what a conscious ego could ever reach.

Carl Jung – The Meaning of Psychology for Modern Man (1934)

For as long as I can remember I have always had the most vivid and incredulous dreams and nightmares. Like old friends they can be scenes that I revisit time and time again, sometimes after decades, the story carrying on from where it left off last time, twisting turning like a strange and disjointed cliff hanger. Often times the dreams can be freakish, dark and physically absorbing. I wake with sheer panic and my adrenalin filled body leaves me desperate for some other person awake to talk me down. Like a random scene from the TV show ‘Twin peaks’ (she’s dead…wrapped in plastic) the images and characters eerily dance through my inner world and speak volumes to me about where my sub conscious is at.

The one commonality I find is that without fail, if I am stressed, overly emotional or not taking the time to nurture myself …. a restless night of dramatic dreams will certainly follow.

The answer to this I find very simple. These images, crazy ideas and seeming dis-connected thoughts need respect and release on a conscious level, before they take hold unconsciously and demand attention. This absurd dialogue of my inner mind is more often than not food for fuelling my creative works.

5 tricks to keep a creative mind calm:

  • Devote a small amount of time each day to creative acts, paint, draw, scribble, sing, dance, write, journal.
  • Keep a creativity diary – cut out, draw or collage things that inspire you. Most artists’ keep a visual diary of notes, ideas, places and people to draw inspiration from. Drafts of images they are working on and sketches for upcoming ideas. I often wake in the middle of the night with ideas and words that I will use later in my art, so keep a note pad or iphone nearby to records these flashes of brilliance.
  • Read – Sounds simple enough but switching off from the digital world and engrossing yourself (and your imagination) in a world of fantasy allows your inner world room to explore and breathe.
  • Take time alone. Even 10 minutes sitting outside in the fresh air just being present in the moment.
  • Join or create a mentoring circle, friends on a similar path to toss ideas around with. A regular brain storm or creative catch up over coffee shakes off the insecurities I have of ideas in the early stages of development and I find so important to keeping my ideas evolving and fresh.

Let me know what dreams have inspired or motivated you into action?


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