What if we could translate the human experience, as described through the Enneagram, into a series of paintings -- landscapes, aerial photos, or a bird's-eye-view of the home from here. What if there was a way to experience the Enneagram metaphorically -- something that felt like a drone photo of the path ahead, a map folded up in your pocket, and maybe, perhaps even a mirror of yourself. Could it make all of this human experience less morpheus, and a little bit more tangible? Could we better understand and give grace to each other, if we knew the kind of path they tread?
These questions were inspired by my time painting the artwork for Sleeping at Last's "Four" music video, and I set out on a nine month deep-dive into enneagram theory, and how to translate our shared experiences as humans, into landscapes -- into art.
Over the months that followed I read books, listened to podcasts, poured over enneagram-based songs, spoke with hundreds of people, and studied the language our Earth already uses. I wanted these paintings to be tied to real places in the world, places our feet really can traverse, as that would give even more grounding to what we experience in our minds and hearts, which can sometimes feel like a vast and overwhelming expanse.
As much fun as it would be (and how much easier on me as the artist!) these are not paintings of what each Enneagram type likes. Instead, I’m aiming to represent who they are.And to do this I had to reach beyond myself and my own interpretations of life. I asked hundreds of people these questions:
"If your internal landscape was an actual place here on Earth, what would it be? What biosphere could be used to represent what it feels like to be you, and what your journey looks like? If your internal processing, fears, motivations, virtues were a landscape, what would it be?"
Compiling their answers, my understanding of Enneagram theory, and my interpretation of the world's textures, I created a sort of vocabulary that I could pull from to create these maps.
I wanted the paintings to "read" from left to right, coming from the disintegration type and childhood wound, and traveling across the landscape, heading into health. I wanted each piece to depict a different biosphere, and capture the vast variety and beauty of both our world and humanity. I wanted the depictions to include the type's distraction possibility, fear, obstacles, core struggle, growth point, and virtue. And above all, when a piece was on the wall of its type, I wanted it to feel familiar.
After each painting, I shared it with a core community of each type, hearing their interpretations and insights, tweaking things when it was needed, and processing with them. You guys were AMAZING! And this project honestly wouldn't be what it is apart from you! I said it so many times during that process, and I'll say it many more:
I feel so honored and privileged to be able to do
this project with and for people like you!
After months of painting, study, and repainting,
here are the Nine base Enneagram paintings:
WANT TO KNOW THE INSPIRATION, METAPHORS, EASTER EGGS,
AND MORE HIDDEN WITHIN EACH PAINTING?
BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE
Because these maps were done reading left to right, the paintings can be lined up by their integration direction! Like this:
This is an easy way to see which type you pull from in stress (taking on that type's negative characteristics) and which type you lean into in growth (taking on their positive characteristics.) For example, if you are a Nine, you pull from Six in stress, and lean into Three in growth. Not only can these effects be seen in each painting, but when lined up, you can see the story of our human experiences carry through each piece!
And let me just say, we humans are pretty dang amazing together!
Now, if you know your Enneagram theory, you know there's a core part to this whole thing we haven't talked about yet.
Where are the wings?
Never fear, friends.
Using a double-exposure technique (yes, think a digital version of the film photography technique) I overlaid the paths of each Enneagram wing pairing (there are 18!) to create images for every one! 9w8 is different than 8w9 after all!
That means, in total, there are 27 images -- 9 base types + 18 wing pairings! Whichever map you resonate with most can now be in your hands and on your wall -- a constant reminder of your beauty and the beauty of your journey!
ALRIGHT, HOW DO I GET THESE IN MY HOME?
Printed on metallic paper, they literally GLOW, and because they are mounted on 2mm styrene, and sprayed with a luster coating, they can be hung directly on a wall, sit on a display shelf, go in a glass-less frame, or almost any other standard frame!
The Kickstarter campaign that funded this project was the first and currently the only place to purchase these prints! Prints will be available for purchase here this autumn. Sign up below to be notified:
After seeing the impact these paintings can have on the community -- how it can shine a light on our journey towards health, and help us see each other and ourselves with more grace -- I want to create a functional tool that can bring this artwork off the walls and into your conversations. We came up with the idea to make a pocket-sized box set, with all 27 paintings, and the explanation for each written on the back. I see these being a wonderful tool for coaches, and for communities who want to explore the enneagram together. The cards are printed on plastic, completely washable, durable, and perfect for spreading out on the coffee shop table.
On day 10 of the campaign the community shot us past our 10K stretch goal, making the production of these cards possible! Here's a short video of their features!
What you see here:
There will be cards with all 27 paintings on the fronts (this sample pack only has the ones that were completed when we ordered it.)
The back of each painting will have information on the type, and the metaphors in the painting.
There are additional cards with info on the project, how to read the paintings, and basic enneagram info.
The titles of the types on the top of the card are color coded for ease in finding a specific type.
Flexible, non-tearing, won't crease or fold.
Can line up by number, wings, or integration direction.
Coffee-safe, washable, waterproof.
Because we made it to $15,000 before the end of the campaign I opened the option to get a CUSTOM DOUBLE-EXPOSURE, with any landscapes you choose! These are surprisingly time-consuming original creations using a digital technique to layer the paintings I created. Each one takes a few hours to perfect -- longer than it takes to paint it in the first place! There are many different implementations of this concept! Think relationship combination, tritype, etc.