Hunting for Your Soul in the Work of Timur D’Vatz

Hunting for Your Soul in the Work of Timur D’Vatz

When I was studying at the Royal Academy of Arts in London, one of the tutors used to tell a story about a student who always complained about there not being enough light in the studio. I think I will always remember the tutor’s answer:

“Stop complaining. Art was born in darkness” (i.e. in prehistoric caves)

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Timur D’Vatz

In the Concise English Dictionary, Myth is a tradition of fable embodying the notions of a people in relation to their gods.  Over the past ten years I have been trying to find my own mythology, my own way to God; and by God I mean a great knowledge.

Throughout history and in ancient cultures we have created thousands of myths and through them mankind has tried to explain the magical nature of the universe and its divine beginning.  In the Neolithic era people lived in close contact with nature and created cosmological myths about the birth of the universe, the sun, earth and people.

At the base of any myth lies knowledge, and myth is a poetical interpretation of this knowledge, based on universal principles.  The world of my art is a place of myth and magic.

My recent paintings are long standing panels, based on the ancient theme of a hunt.


Golden Light

The symbolism of the hunt has two aspects.

There is a slaying of the beast – which is the distraction of ignorance and the tendency to evil. And there is the search for the quarry and its tracking, which bear the sense of spiritual quest.

The figure of a hunter, with the pointed hat of a magician or shaman, is ready for the sacred ritual. There is a concept, widely held among hunting peoples, concerning the ‘master of the animals’ – often found in prehistoric art.



It is always a mythological knowledge which lies behind every symbol in my paintings. Fish (salmon) in Celtic mythology are associated with wisdom.

In several Irish tales the home of the ancient salmon is a mythical pool named Connla’s Well of Segais, which can be found under the sea in Fairyland, or the Land of Eternal Youth. In most my works images of the hunter and fish together represent a sacred ritual of the search for knowledge.

Deer were one of the forms preferred by the shape-shifting Celtic fairies, the Tuatha de Danan, when they appeared to people in the form of a White Doe or White Stag. 

They served as other-worldly messengers for hunters who might come upon them and then find themselves led deeper into the woods and on to great adventures.

There is a combination of a deer and a man – the horned god of hunting – in Cernunnos, or Herne the Hunter. The earliest description of the horned god is found in prehistoric times. One example comes from the fourth century BC and is located at Val Camonica in northern Italy.

Some of the patterns I am using in my paintings are based on Neolithic symbols: for example, the spiral represents the universal snake which invokes ideas of the powers of nature, force and dynamic energy.


Eric and Enid

The zigzag is almost universally used as a symbol for water and life. The upward-pointing triangle symbolises the male principle: fire, mountain and ascent. The downward-pointing triangle, possibly the more ancient sign, is a female principle: water, lunar influence and the idea of the Great Mother.

I am working towards a poetical structure of man’s soul and the creation of new myths. The artist is like the teller of a myth, the shaman. When he understands the rules of the universe, where his mind is in touch with the unconscious, he creates his own images, his own myths. Art carries this knowledge, transmitting it from the structure of the myth to the form of a dream and back again.