Hallucinogenic visions, physical and mental elevation, and out-of-body experiences can bring visual inspiration to the creatively inclined. The collaged works of Deanne Cheuk depict mushrooms, layers and layers of the species with intricate details of the cap, gill, and stems. During the course of Cheuk’s career, the presence of fungi, psychedelic and otherwise, have been apparent in her work.
Just over a decade ago, Cheuk published a gorgeously intricate book of illustrations, complete with a psychotropic pink, embroidered cover. She talks about it’s success, relating it back to her obsession: "My Mushroom Girls Virus book came out in 2005 and sold out instantly. It’s a compilation of a lot of illustrations I was doing at the time of girls and mushrooms, and other mushroom inspired artwork of mine,” she tells The Creators Project. While Cheuk has never worked under the influence, she admits that those moments when she has found herself “floating above her body and looking down upon herself” have been influential experiences to both her creative work and her present state.
“I have a mushroom obsession, but that’s for any kind of mushroom—I just love everything about them. Last year I was deep in the world’s biggest cave, Han Son Doong, and we found beautiful little white mushrooms growing in the middle in complete darkness, it was a magic moment,” she recalls.
For Cheuk, her psychedelic encounters have varied between physical and mental states. She tell us, “I do believe that some of my most profound experiences have happened while I was on a ‘higher plane’: I’ve had visions of the future, out of body experiences, seen ghosts, giants, looked down at myself and watched as the earth grew all over me until I became one with it.” Cheuk confirms, “I would never want to give back any of these experiences, they have done more than shape my work, they have shaped who I am.”
She says of her youth in Australia, “I have vivid memories of outdoor raves that used to happen at the Gnangara Pines plantation. These were in the middle of nowhere in Perth, in a pitch black forest. I think there was one big strobe light and you’d go and just dance and trip out in the forest, and there would be shooting stars everywhere. It was wild and primal and brilliant. This was in Western Australia, probably when I was 19 years old.”
While Cheuk continues her creative process, she reveals, “I just finished a drawing, it’s a portrait of a girl smoking a galaxy, it’s for a charity show in London, up next is an infinite sky vortex that I’ve been planning to do, it’s not for a show, just an idea I’ve had for a while.” In the future, Cheuk plans to keep pushing towards infinity “I just want more of everything!”
You can learn more about the artist by clicking here.