VISIONARY ART, VISIONARY FICTION – guest post by Brendan Graham Dempsey


In the productive solitude of your artistic woodshed, the only language needed is the silent understanding of your thoughts, the only public a very receptive audience of one. Here, the critics may be harsh—but at least they share your taste—and the imagination has no limits or prescriptions save what it can invent.

But then there comes a day when, finished (though when are you ever really finished?), a new task begins: the long, practical slog of presenting this mad thing you’ve made to the world. Now, you actually have to ask yourself how other people can find, let alone read, your work. You discover yourself in the unexpected position of setting up road signs for directing traffic to your labyrinth.

At this stage, it’s important to start thinking about questions of genre, that is, terms used by existing audiences and established reading communities, so people can locate and approach your work with at least a little context and some reasonable expectations. Now, the language needs to be a shared one, with all the nuance and connotative subtext that come with effective communication.

Having explored some of the label terrain now, examining what’s out there and asking where my work fits within it all, I think I’ve found a genre that hits all of the important points: Visionary Fiction.

But first, some context.


I first learned about a genre of painting called “visionary art” through the work of Alex Grey, probably the most famous visionary artist out there. Grey’s incredibly original work has become iconic for its striking beauty, impressive detail, and powerful spiritual message. It has managed to acquire broad appeal, acclaimed by a very large and diverse … Continue reading

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