Q&A with Frederick Kahler

Interview by Jah Jah Gray

The 2014 Texas Patron of the Year exhibition, One of a Kind: Artwork from the Collection of Stephanie Smither, currently on view in the Front Gallery at Art League Houston features work from over forty “outsider” artists from around the world. One of the artists, Frederick Kahler graciously agreed to answer a few of my questions about his work, process and inspiration. 

1. What significance does your creative process have for you?

It encourages a mode of consciousness that clears away preconceptions and invokes a pure connection within the sacred self.

2. How do your spiritual practices inform your creative process? 

When I am awake or enlightened, my creative expression or my pen becomes the tool for my higher sense of purpose. 

3. Is your creative process itself your spiritual outlet?

Yes, of course, that is what defines art.  The creative process is the souls primary way of communication.

4. Some of your work resemble mandalas. Is this intentional, and why?

Yes, they do, though this is not intentional.  As I clear my mind, I let the spirit move through me. When I am in a pure meditative state of awareness layers upon layers of channeled information are revealed, and each drawing becomes it’s own entity. I have come to think of this form of expression as “Manta Art.”   

5. How do you feel about the label “outsider artist” to describe you and other artists who are “self-taught” or “untrained”?

I don’t like labels of any kind, but the term “Outsider” does not offend me.  I do not title my drawings and would prefer not to sign them for a similar reason.   A title, or label is a preview or an expectation of what you want the viewer to see, it becomes a preconception, and diminishes the ability for the individual to experience the art soul~fully for themselves.

6. With a very meticulous articulation of line and color, your work allows the viewer to contemplate a world inside. Can you talk some about the inception of your style? 

My artistic career was foretold by a psychic long before I even had a desire to create.  Six years to the date of the premonition I picked up a quill pen, dipped it in ink and the pen began to move. It was a craving that I could not satisfy.  The art flows through me; I am just the holder of the pen. 

7. What were some of your thoughts and feelings when you started creating in this "traditional" ink style?

I was totally amazed, blown away.  Each time I dip my pen in the ink and place it on the board it is as if someone is speaking through me. I am not aware of what the outcome will be. 

8. What are your feelings about psychedelics and their use for spiritual development?

Throughout history man has used psychedelics as a tool to awaken ones consciousness.  What tools we use to heal and awaken our spirit should never become a crutch to depend upon.  When you learn to go inside yourself, or practice a meditative discipline, you no longer need tools for awakening.  I believe a meditative state, similar to the a psychedelic state requires nothing more then just letting go and tuning into the spirit world. 

9. How do you see yourself when you are making your images?

As an ~ “outsider” looking in.

10. What is your feeling about the money you receive from the sales of your images?

I have been given a gift to share with the world(s).  I feel my creation as a surge of energy that flows through me.  I do not take ownership of it, and when I finish a drawing I am not attached to its outcome.  It was created for everyone to see, a remembering of past, present and future lifetimes, like that of an ancient scripture.  How do you put a price on that?