Welcome to terrapindream.

Uh, yeah... My name is Terry and I like to explore consciousness.


Exploration often takes the form of visual art. It's always been this way, since first memories.

And it's perfect. Freud said you can't make the unconscious conscious by looking directly within. You must manifest the material in the outer world - then it can be seen and (perhaps) read. So my pictures are snapshots of one particular mind, both the conscious and the unconscious.

I want to get this work out to anyone who might resonate, of course , but more specifically people who share my love of the strange inner landscape.


I used to be a painter. When I discovered the computer as a tool in the mid-90s I latched on and haven't let go. It's as if the computer was made for me. I was floored by the freedom of it; the possibilies in working in series, to be able to instantly change a background color, to manipulate photos, to blend all my creative outlets in one unified arena.

My method of working has evolved over the years into a flow that suits my personality.

1. I paint, draw, and take photos - sometimes with an idea or theme in mind, but more often spontaneously and (seemingly) without connection to ideas. I have ever-growing archives of these - digitized and cleaned up - from which to choose.

2. And there are archives of collage elements. Everything imaginable: household items, machines, patterns, textures, faces and figures (mostly from Northern Reaissance paintings), eyes, hands, curve of hips, ears, bloody scenes, deities, angels...

I start a piece by randomly choosing five to ten disparate elements from the archives, then play with these for a while sometimes a few days. I delete some and add others, shift the order of layers, erase and scribble - until "something" appears. That "something" is personal, a sort of cartoon world that I have built in my mind over the course of my life. It is nearly impossible to get there by actively looking for it. By manipulating an already chaotic visual state I eventually arrive there somewhat by accident.

3. The third element is "painting and drawing" in Photoshop. This starts once the picture is already established and it becomes apparent what needs to be done.

This is the part I live for: the initial rush of recognition, and the sustained dopamine pleasure of coaxing it all the way out. This phase feels very much like a chemical stimulant. Ten hours go by in a flash. Total flow state. I don't need to eat, don't want to sleep. All I want is to be attached to that huge, dynamic visual machinery of the "deep inside."

In some sense I'm carrying on a tradition - a simple method of creating used by the Universe itself, which throws its "materials" together in countless arrangements and patterns. Eventually complexity and low entropy states appear. I make a chaos of changes on screen and watch for a transition to lower entropy. Ideally, the picture is finished somewhere in that transition space, before it becomes too ordered. It's a delicate balance between Apollo and Dionysus, Krishna and Shiva, Rocky and Bullwinkle.

Terry Baker
Comptche, CA