December 30, 2012 - January 5, 2013: Issue 91

 Ted Blackall 

In 2012 we were very fortunate to meet a brilliant artist in Ted Blackall and shared a small insight into 3rdi painting, a revelation not just for those who wish to paint but also for every body else as well. This gentleman, who has studied under Australian art legends William Frater, Murray Griffin and Harold Freedman, worked at Channel Nine in Melbourne when Graham Kennedy was leading our cultural revolution and created advertisements you will know is also our Artist of the Month for January 2013. Could there be any better way to herald what must be a great year with gents like these smiling from our horizons…and also up close…

You’re always looking for something to paint?

You’re finding what to paint and this …the ‘what’ is the mission; it’s not that you don’t know what to paint, you can paint a fridge, a bunny, a bran or anything like that, but the ‘why’ comes before the ‘what’ . all artists have this problem, they’re thinking ‘what will I paint next?’ …so it’s what.. what… what…. Ultimately I got to ‘why am I painting?’. I found I’d rather make breakfast or watch TV or anything else rather then paint because painting is hard and it’s only hard because of this ‘why?’; the motivation.

Before, in the commercial world, I was easily motivated because it was cash; I got to pay the bills at home and all that sort of thing, so that was easy. I did good work and I did it conscientiously and I did it for people with love and I wanted their business to go well because of my art. I like the praise but it didn’t mean nearly as much as seeing them happy about it and being able to take my work into their clients and watch their clients laugh and sign cheques. So that was quite clear. But then the more I came into working in Fine Arts I ran up against this thing of…”I’m painting…I’m really good at painting things. I was trained in that." I can paint any kind of figure, out of the imagination, with light and shade and everything like that; I’ve done so much of it. I must have done thousands and thousands of renderings of this and that, not to mention hundreds and hundreds of paintings, and I found myself in this future mode all the time, telling myself ‘I’m going to get better at this, I’m a painter, I shouldn’t do anything else.’

Nowhere in there was there this clear mission. Then I studied a lot, a lot of texts and I’m very interested in the ‘why’ of lie and what I’m actually doing and I think an artist is brought to that at some stage; they’re saying to themselves ‘what is the point of actually living?’…’what is the thing that’s going on on the planet?’ and the answer to that is communication because you have this concept of others in one’s world, others to communicate with and to realise the oneness and the One is in all; this is what we try to do, we try to join everybody up…everybody is Self or an extension or projection of Self.

I always think of myself as looking in a mirror (when looking at others) and ‘how am I doing today?’ (smiles, looks at interviewer as though looking in a mirror)… ‘I’m doing ok today!’ 

When I work with the Seniors; these are very old people and they know everything, they’ve lived a whole life and they’re very silent with it. I’m busy teaching them something and feeling very self conscious and at the same time (learning from them) for whatever their spirit they have going because they’re all really highly developed people in the mind. So this is part of my study and I have to confess that I recently came across ‘A Course in Miracles’;  I read it all, I’m a voracious reader. This tells me that ‘self is one’; there is just One, there’s just One in All and that life energy itself is an illusion. So here am I painting, looking for ‘what’ life I should be painting…and I’m looking and I go back to the ‘why’ very soon because I’m not getting the volition and the ‘why’ and the communication. So if everything is un-real then what is my work illustrating by showing these un-real things… what’s the significance in terms of communication, what’s it communicating; what do people see when they look at my work and what do they get out of it if they exist at all…and I have to assume for the sake of the argument that they do, that being alive they exist, that they want to get something out of it.

There’s a certain power in work that sells for instance, that’s popular. I’d have to point to Ken Done for instance; he’s very specifically popular with the Japanese. He’s popular with everybody but very popular with them. They buy all the work he does. Why they like him is that Japanese society is a very structured society with a top-down rigid set up and Ken Done is a free man, he paints freely, like a child some say, but really what he’s doing is he gives himself permission to go right ahead. He’s a lovely guy and real super-friendly. They buy the freedom when they buy his work, it’s the freedom they take, buy and put on the wall and look at. That is the selling point, the USP, the Unique Selling Proposition, of the painting and at the same time it is in fact his reason to paint, that he offers freedom, he paints freedom and it’s given as a commodity. So you see you’re giving at the same time as taking; you’re giving something rather then a picture of something.

So there’s an equilibrium?

There is an equilibrium. A quid pro quo; all communication has to be two ways. There is no way it can be any other way. It’s didactic.

And if you’re standing at the core of that what is there?

Knowledge, it’s knowledge of how to communicate. I realised I don’t want to paint ‘things’ that don’t really transmit anything; there’s a new trend of painting abstract expressionism and this is an honest way of communicating, however there is a certain myopia about it in so far as we’re not quite sure what we’re communicating here and there. We wake up on a good day, we’re feeling good and we do an abstract expressionism painting and somebody buys it and the next day we can’t figure out why we’re not doing so good. The damn thing just sits in the studio the whole time.

The knowledge is the key. Ken has this knowledge of freedom, it’s contained and it’s focused. He spent a lot of years in advertising…honing his skills.

The mission is the thing; I do try and transmit this to my 3rdi painters; I guess you could call it discovery but it’s more about the idea that I don’t paint like others. For instance the Expressionists used light to paint to show the things. I’m doing it the other way around. I’m using the thing to show the light. Therefore I don’t have to travel to Uluru or some sort of significant lyric… ‘let’s paint the Sydney Harbour Bridge or the Opera House or the Blue Mountains’ or anything like that. I discovered that even just around my house is that small part of the bush that just looks really great, it picks up the play of light really beautifully and so that is my vehicle for the play of light. So if I paint light, I transmit light to the viewer and, abstractly, it’s the light which (light equals love in the communication) everybody loves in the picture. They say ‘it makes me feel like…’ all the connotations with the word ‘light’…are the ascending and meeting point for the feeling of oneness. Light is oneness. Light is all of these and so now I have subjects all over the place.

I was walking up here today and just outside this door and there’s this most beautiful play of light here because of all the concrete and the trees….I’m not interested in all the trees you have here but the play of light…it’s abstractly the light that I’m interested in.

Where were you born?

I was born in Melbourne in 1945.

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Sandringham. I went to Hallaby College in Brighton. I graduated and went to Art School where I studied Painting and Illustration.

What’s the first thing you ever drew?

I don’t remember the first time I drew. I think it’s a vaguer concept because what you’re doing (in writing) is hooking up a right brain idea with letters. I can tell you the reason why I drew as a kid. It was very young and beyond my memory, because apparently I drew from a very early age, and I always knew what it was for, particularly in review. I was the youngest child and there was a big gap between myself and my two older sisters, and my parents were kind of older, and so I lived a solitary life within the family, not a lonely life, I knew these were very nice people that I’d employed to be my family but they had different concerns and different phases. In this new post-war era I think I got a lot out of watching American movies. I loved the pictures, going to the pictures and so on and so when I first started to draw I invented a whole army, all sorts of military devices and lots of weapons and these two heroes which I drew all the time. One was called ‘Nicky’, who was the hero and had cross bandages on both cheeks.

Like a comic strip?

Yes, it was my own comic strip and ruling the world. The reason I told you I was the youngest is because I was actually looking for some kind of hand in the scheme of things. Everything seemed to be beyond my control in the world. The youngest is always like that. Everybody else is always doing something so much more important and significant things with their life. A lot of kids start off doing this, drawing particularly from comics which are filled with super characters with powers. The mere embracing of this as a theme to read or write or draw is a quest for the hand of power within life. 

I still remember lots of positive comment about my work. This was my Schick; I could do this thing of influence and worldly power and get influence through my drawings and naturally I got better and better at it as I got older. I was a prodigy, I could draw really well at the age of nine and ten, really accurately, but I wasn’t trying to do that, it was just a consequence of finding this was my place in life.

Which Art College did you attend?

RMIT, the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. 

Who were you studying under?

I created the best teachers. All of them were really terrific. First one that comes to mind is William Frater.

What did you learn from him?

Painting. I learnt what it was like to be around a great painter; taking away the exterior dimensions, it was how a truly great painter works, he’s in Sydney, he’s all over the place Jock is, very well known. I was actually very close to him and there was something ineffable that I picked up from Jock. The way he painted, as his students we all watched the way he painted, he painted on our paintings and we saw his paintings and all that…but this guy had a certain essence which could have translated into painting, writing, anything. He was one of these universal souls which kind of seemed to know everything. He wasn’t a know-all but seemed enlightened. I felt really lucky to have him.

Who else was there?

Murray Griffin. From him I learnt anatomy mostly, the importance of anatomy. He really stuck it to us as far as anatomy was concerned. He always used to joke about the gluteus maximus, so we’d all give impressions of Murray Griffin saying “Now here’s the gluteus maximus”…I can remember.

I did Life Drawing and I think this is the first time I saw a woman naked. I was fifteen, sixteen, or seventeen. I went home and my sister and my mother asked, I told them I did Life Drawing and we were a church family, and they were completely gob smacked; ‘has she got no clothes on?’…this was 1961 …and I said, I was a man of the world, and cockily said ‘yes, no clothes.’ 

I can remember the first time we had the first Life class and this was probably with Harold Freedman, who was a fantastic drawer, did all those murals around the place…she took off her robe, the model whose name was Lilith, any art student of that time if you say the word ‘Lilith’ to them they’ll know who you are talking about, Lilith disrobed in front of everybody, and I had never seen this before, I’d never seen a female do this, and neither had anybody else in the class. The atmosphere in the room…you could cut it with a knife…and everybody is sharpening their pencils, looking around at each other… nobody wanted to be busted being uncool about it. The thing I noted at the time was ‘ha ha everybody else is doing it’ ; I do that, I can’t help myself; I look around and think ‘what’s going on here; ahh, everybody is sharpening their pencils, setting up their things as she’s casually’…like it happens every day.’ So I guess I did generate the question from my mother and my sister that I was able to be cool with them and realise it was a real phenomena in my family culture… to be drawing naked women.

Harold Freedman was one of the greatest drawers in the world and he drew in second World War. He was a War Artist and has got some very famous paintings in the war books, famous paintings, the most exquisite drawer. He showed me about mass and form as distinct from Murry who built the human figure.

Murry Griffin was in Changi and they used to paint on stuff they pulled out of the ceilings, bits of the camp house. A lot of the guys who came back from Changi were gone in the head because it was such a…a lot of the boys that came back from that war couldn’t talk to the missus or the family or anything like that. It made you think ‘gee, that must have been really hard to put up with’. It would seem that Murry was our first experience of actually knowing somebody who’d been in Changi and what a lovely angelic human being he was. A lovely smile, a lovely attitude, a very loving nature, and it would seem that he didn’t really carry any baggage at all. But he had always been a great artist, a terrific artist, and I think he took an artist’s flexibility into that experience. 

It saved him?

It saved everything. Everything was looked at in an experiential way, not with prejudice, or rather, as a victim. An artist tends to experience things and say; ‘and this has happened to you’. You will look for the thing that is underneath; you see someone having an argument or doing something, as a journalist perhaps but especially as a writer, you go ‘what’s behind this?’…’where is this coming from?’. It might even involve Self, but you’re not hearing the criticism, you want to know ‘what is this, why is this so?’

I learnt that from him, an enormous compassion in the face of circumstances which I can only dream of. I have experienced some victimisation but on a very mild basis compared to people that have been in Changi. 

So he took us through the anatomy which was incredibly vital with the actual drawing. But Harold Freedman took us to the masses and the three dimensions. You’ll see that of you look at Rembrandt’s drawings or Leonardo’s drawings; that’s classical drawing, where the thing is not drawn as a flat map, the thing has, the way the strokes are made, you see it with Dürer’s drawings and all those great drawers; the strokes are made in the direction to penetrate the picture this way, the aerial space, so that all the shapes turn. It’s not shading, like light and shade, it’s explaining the form through line. He was the best at this on the earth; Harold Freedman, he was as good as Lloyd Rees nearly. Lloyd Rees drawings are just sublime; perhaps because he was in hospital for a year and that’s all he did, just draw with a pencil. That’s deprivation producing a sight, just in the same way as the Changi experience for Murry Griffin was a deprivation which gave him the need to draw. God, he painted a storm up when he got out of the army and came back after the war. Instead of being crushed by it and silent and forever in there he had a positive response to answer it with. He gathered it up and used it.

I think that’s what an artist does, and what a stroke of luck to run across art and expression.

How old were you when you finished and what did you do then?

Nineteen or twenty. I went to work at Channel Nine. I was in the Graphics Department. I was prodigious at Illustration. I worked out all the American styles; I’m a really good learner because I want to know, particularly about that sort of thing. I got to do all the illustrations as a kid. At the same time I was working as a musician in a rock and roll band. 

What was the name of the band?

Blackies Babies. We did a couple of originals but mostly covers. Beatles songs and we did a lot of soul music, Marvin Gaye and Otis Redding. I look back now at that time, I was the lead singer and guitarist in this band. Later on I went solo and actually recorded for Warner Brothers, my album was called Energetic Flesh (1974; produced by Brian Cadd). I had all the top musicians in the country working on this album with me. I had this vision. It was the first time I realised one can have any crazy thing that one wants if you have it clear enough in your head. I’m skipping a bit here…

We’ll get back to Channel Nine in a minute…

Yes. I was about twenty-eight when I got offered this recording contract and I did this recording with all my own original material. This was more ballads and rock, a bit mixed up. To do with my age; I was actually too young. I’d been brought up in such a precious atmosphere, a myopic atmosphere in a way, that I hadn’t experienced enough of life to be a rock and roll star. I was going to tour with Randy Newman and I found that, I was a young guy, newly married, we had a five year old boy; what came to me one way or another was a fork in the road; which was; ‘go with this thing here’; and the sex, drugs and rock and roll and what we all know about, or ‘go with your family and follow that’. I can quite safely say there was no choice for me. That just looked horrible without these guys (Ted’s family). We love each other and we loved our baby. It was a definite choice. All the people I recorded with were all on their second marriages and had split up and had their kids visiting on the weekend. That was a pain I just didn’t want to go through. That’s an abiding and permanent problem. People who have to live with that, I feel so sorry for them. I’m no better then anybody in terms of that. I was lucky enough to see it clearly at that time and understand that. I think it’s the rock and roll life that highlighted my family life, that clear polarity of that decision. 

It’s like the mate’s line that says you can be with your mates and also be with your family but even that is a line that takes you away from your family; I’m not saying it’s always like that, but it’s a much more blurred line because your mates know your missus and your kid and their kids play with your kids, so the separation and the option isn’t quite as clear. I don’t have the moral fibre to say I made that decision because I’m such a good guy; it was just that this looked so horrible that the prospect of being without them, my family, was so absolutely and completely clear and that’s why I stayed with the art and kept on going with that.

So you were at Channel Nine during the 70’s?

1968 to 1969. 

They were doing a fair amount of revolutionary entertainment then for that era…

No sh*t. I was there to see it. I was a part of that; I was doing all the original Illustratipns. They used to have Graphics in those days, none of these quick cut films that they piece together today. I did all the Graphics for all the shows; I did an illustration for The Littlest Hobo which was a television show. I got to draw people and perfect my style and be paid for it.

There were also the first Australian cop shows, Australian musicians being filmed and recorded….

And they had Graham Kennedy who was the high priest of this iconoclastic ironic movement. Everybody loved Graham; I mean everybody loved him personally but also because he was almost a cultural saviour and for all of Australia it turned out to be. I had this and that to do with him but I’ll tell you a little story…

Can we print it?

Yes of course. I had to do the idiot sheets, they called them, and this was beneath me. I had to do them for In Melbourne Tonight which was an institution. I scrawled through them because I was doing great illustrations and that was much more interesting to me. I had no sense of humility on those days. So they go on the TV and the next morning Graham storms into the art room and says “Who wrote those bloody …” as it turns out that last night he just stumbled his way through, and I looked at it and it did look really bad.. and he said “Who did it?!” but… he didn’t actually do it in a way that was truly angry. Graham was a real beautiful soul, and even as he’s dressing me down, although he wasn’t dressing me down directly, I think they said ; ‘that guy over there’, and he said “Well, you’ve got to stop doing this because I’ve got to read this stuff…” and while he’s doing this I’m loving the guy. Truly. I never thought ‘what a bastard’ or anything like that. We all absolutely loved him because he was such an important part of our lives. 

The younger generation don’t understand this,  that a lot of the ethos that goes through our entire culture is directly from Graham Kennedy. Absolutely it is. He did things no one had done; that’s where all the innovation came from, from him. This whole night time show format, sit down at 9.30 and everybody watched Graham do his thing and this told you how far you can go. He starts giving the impression of the seagull and going ‘Fuuuu…’. He did that for the first time. He did it and he didn’t get censored. He got away with it…totally. 

He was giving all our childhood’s a going over, saying “Listen you old fogies it’s a new world, and you’re not to be so oppressive.” or stuff like that and he sold this whole freedom. I can’t think of another person, even Barry Humphries, who had terrific ideas…fantastic stuff… I lived in Edna Everage land, we all did, there was nothing separate about it. 

But with Graham, (he was empowering) I grew up looking at him and then manifested being in his presence. We all hung around the studio, the old soup factory in Bendigo street, where GTV is. We all loved him.

I was only there about a year though because I really wanted to be in advertising.

So you moved on to advertising?

Yes, and I shouldn’t have. I was just bent on this advertising thing because you made money in advertising and you could support your family. I had this vision about getting a job in advertising because I was very good at the concepts and the ideas. I’m a reasonably handy writer and did reasonably well in the advertising industry. I worked for McKenna and J Walter Thompson…I worked with Jackie Huie, she was a genius. I’m talking about 1976 here. After that I went into my own business doing visual and painting at the same time. I went into Graphic Design. Later on my son came into it and joined me in the Graphic Design business. He worked with me for a couple of years. Now he’s in New York running his own e-commerce business and doing really great business. So I had a good chance to work with him for a while and he could see how not to run a business (laughs). 

Did you see your art developing through doing this or did it just make you want to paint full-time?

No, I wasn’t hungry to paint full-time. I was really, I have to tell you, any creative exercise that’s ever been in front of me I always adored it, because I’m in that place and I don’t want to be in anywhere other then that place. When I was in the advertising I never used to go into work. They’d chip my partner and say ‘would you have a word to Ted and say he should come in more’.  I had a couple of top jobs there, was getting paid a lot of money, and I would go surfing. I would get the work done though, absolutely. I was beyond conscientious, it was my life. I would look at what I was selling; Mennen for Men or Volvo motor cars.

I wrote an ad once with a picture of the dummies, you know the crash dummies. The headline says ‘Six dumb reasons to rush out and buy a Volvo.’

What was your favourite advertisement that you created?

That. That’s the one that comes back to me because I got synergy between the headline and the picture itself. I enjoyed them all…everything. I enjoyed the getting of it.

Do you know what an idea is? An idea is the joining hitherto unjoined separate and sovereignly different notions. One thing is taken and put with another to make a third idea. I’ll give you an example. The best ad that was ever done that was my style of advertising was, as far as that equation is concerned, is ‘Put A Lock on Freshness’ for Tupperware; there’s an orange and they have a lock. Those two previous disparate hitherto unjoined ideas are brought together to make this third proposition which is freshness for food, and give it an icon, make it an abstract. It’s what’s called iconic. 

All original ideas are like this, I love this stuff when I see it because I know the advertising people have had a hit. This brainstorming that goes on now, you can’t have an idea by committee; what you have to do is go and find that thing and then that thing and put them together to make something new. For instance, movie pitches, you have these brilliant Jewish writers who go in and say it all in 250 words of telling the heroes journey. If you’re familiar with Joseph Campbell’s work on The Cycle, there’s always the cycle, the transition through. It’s a fish out of water idea, it’s the hero’s journey. With all movie stories you can pitch until you’re blue in the face and it won’t get anywhere unless it has a fish out of water and the hero’s cycle. 

I used to go surfing and knew what I was looking for; I was looking for that and that at the same time and would drive them down these lines and they would either come together or I’d have to reverse gears and go another way. What happens today is a lot of these ideas go right through and they don’t work. They start out really good but then they’ve got nowhere to go because they haven’t fixed up the preparation. The thing wasn’t right in the start. The foundation idea, the concept was wrong. It was missing something. 

I was always after that hit. I would do it all in my head, as with the Volvo, I had something to say about the safety; why would you give dumb reasons; there’s the mnemonic, the wild card in it; ‘you’re going to give me dumb reasons? Ahhh..hit…memory…safety..’ That’s the whole proposition. All the stuff I worked on was like that. 

When did the shift to start doing portraits come?

I’ve always done portraits. One of the first ones I did was when I was at art school.

Who of?

Me. I did it in the mirror. 

What is attractive or different for you in doing portraiture compared to the commercial work you were doing?

The difference is that human life is all about identity. Apparently different identities. When I’m painting a portrait I’m painting the One person, the One and same person. If you look at any of my portraits, or any good portrait, you can see this One in All, one person. There is a single identity that is the world identity, the universal identity. The fun is the different covers and the different noses and mouths. That’s the fun on this level but the real fun for me is to actually be saying hello to my original identity in apparently someone else. And I see that it’s not actually someone else.

My mission as far as painting portraits is to first it’s a blessing and that I want somebody to look at the portrait of themselves, that I have painted, and feel integrated, feel that integration and feel themselves as sovereign, as guiltless identity, feel guiltless and to be pure essence. I’m sure that I do pick that up because I’m looking for that. One only has to ask and it’s there. To know to ask is the trick. Not to do any special training; I’m teaching 3rdi now and that’s painting like this; I’m looking over here and painting here. Virtually all us 3rdi painters we’re letting the universe guide our brushes, what you call the god force or the original creative essence, that’s the thing that drives the thing because it’s the ego that runs us around normally here. These eyes (points to flesh eyes) are the serpent of the ego. Our method is to trap it over here and get the eye of the spirit, the 3rdi, working all around here. 

So if you look at my face and I start waggling my fingers and you become aware of my fingers over here waggling and you get interested in that, all of a sudden there’s a light episode happening around my face. You stop saying ‘no’ and the whole sense comes in; we actually paint the whole thing. 

So 3rdi is the next step, a progression for you as a person and an artist?

Yes. It’s everything, it’s every thing that I know. 

And it’s still developing as you’re doing it?

Blow me down, it is. Even today I realise that, and it should be like that, the day it stops developing I guess I’ll be dead. The other things is I’m credited with being a really good teacher but I’m learning from them. I tell my people ‘listen, I should be paying you.’ Everybody gets on to it and we all paint for each other in these sessions that we paint together and everybody paints for everybody else and it’s the most fantastic integrating experience where one will suddenly get on to the thing and they’ll make a comment about it. Mostly it’s to do with drawing in the peripheral vision, thinking in the peripheral vision, speaking in the peripheral voice, with that other voice, the real voice; and identifying this wretched little creature here who is criticising the self all of the time, selling ‘we’re not good enough’ …

So when is your next term for 3rdi painters beginning?

I’ll be running some in my studio on Mondays and Saturdays at $40.00 as a casual fee … the new terms will be in between school terms. 

If you could be another creature for a day, furred, finned or feathered, what would you be and what would you do?

I’d be a bird, that’s pretty easy. An eagle. And I’d fly.  The eagle because I wouldn’t have to worry about other birds. We feed birds at our place and they’re always looking over their shoulder in case an eagle is about. They’re in a lot of trouble, except for the kookaburras…but the lorikeets take precedence because they’ve got blood colours; they have the green to protect them from things above because they can’t be seen, but they have this blood colour from here up to here and march right up to the kookaburras and say ‘get out of here’. But the Indian mynahs are going like this all the time; they’re sh*tting themselves. So are the currawongs. So I would like to be a bird that had no worries. 

What is your favourite place in Pittwater and why?

Newport. We’ve lived in Newport since 1975 and see it change and not change. The Peninsula people, Barrenjoey people, are a race apart. They’re real easy going, intelligent, circumspect. A lot of it has to do with the surfing and the beach of course, which is sacred territory. That sacredness seems to spread out on the community itself. For instance take away the beach and the ocean out there… put a desert there…what would it be like…exactly. And we wouldn’t be wearing thongs and shorts and be this crazy people that we are. Everybody is very friendly. Everybody I meet on the Peninsula, just like that, you’re best friends in a second. They do anything for you. There’s something elevated and stratospheric about actually being on the ground here, its ineffable.  I walk around the neighbourhood as exercise and everybody says hello to you and is really cheery. I think there’s two elements in the world and they are love and fear. I don’t see any fear around here. We’re all in a situation of love here; don’t you love everybody ?

Yeah, I do. Yep. 

Everybody’s really terrific and you could be on a desert island with any of them. There’s no lunatics around the place.

What is your ‘motto for life’ or a favourite phrase you try to live by?

'One is creator of all that one sees.'

 References and Further:

William Frater

Murray Griffin 

Harold Freedman

Joseph Campbell's monomyth, or the hero's journey, is a basic pattern that its proponents argue is found in many narratives from around the world. This widely distributed pattern was described by Campbell in The Hero with a Thousand Faces (1949). An enthusiast of novelist James Joyce, Campbell borrowed the term monomyth from Joyce's Finnegans Wake. Campbell held that numerous myths from disparate times and regions share fundamental structures and stages, which he summarized in The Hero with a Thousand Faces:

A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man. 

Campbell and other scholars, such as Erich Neumann, describe narratives of Gautama Buddha, Moses, and Christ in terms of the monomyth and Campbell argues that classic myths from many cultures follow this basic pattern. Monomyth. (2012, December 25). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved from

Copyright Ted Blackall, 2013. All Rights Reserved.