Ingo was born September 14th 1933 in Colorado at the small town of Telluride. He attended Westminster College in Utah where he attained his double
bachelor’s art and biology degrees. After school, Ingo joined the Army where served for 15 years, 3 of which he served in Korea and the other 12
under the U.N Secretariat. During the 12 years under UN, Ingo was also trying to build his solo career in art.
One of the featured paintings shows a Nordic-style male who looks very much like Adamski’s Orthon. Such men were typical with the Contactees as they
were intended to represent the ideals of both physical and intellectual masculinity. With the religious overtones of the movement, these Space
Brothers were representative of Adam in the Garden and not sullied by petty human emotions. Not to be left out, the women were also depicted as being
perfectly beautiful and usually fair-haired; only the dynamic Aura Rhaines was a brunette.
Ingo’s perspective on reality was that we all existed simultaneously within, and across, different, interacting dimensions. He believed that, with
practice, people can connect to different times and places through the medium of our consciousness. For example, the figure (above) is surrounded by
arcs set against a background of stars and metaphysical spheres. It’s possibly a depiction of how Ingo perceived himself in this reality and across
others. Perhaps it’s set to embody the ideal of humanity in its entirety? Whatever the case, it’s an attractive painting that reminds me of 1960s
and 70s sci-fi novel covers and the substances taken by the artists to inspire them.
Here's an old video where he chats about his ideas to a background of cheap 70s soundtrack muzak:
He plays on similar notions in another painting of a pseudo-Greek philosopher; the busts of ancient Greeks have become a clichéd image to symbolise
high intellect and logic. When we see a figure like this, it generates connotations of wisdom and transcendence is implied by the beams of light
energy emitted from its forehead. On one hand, it’s a lazy trope and on the other, it could have been Ingo touching base with his own inner
archetypes rather than setting any high water marks for art. All art is open to criticism, but not all artists create with critics in mind.
Another plays on similar themes by rendering a Janus image against a backdrop of Daliesque nightmare imagery. Was he commenting on society’s
transitional crossroads between industrial drudgery and intellectual, spiritual aspiration? For as long as he was speaking, he always nailed his
colours to the mast as a believer in the higher values of human potentiality. He could just as easily have been trying to express his inner psychic
landscape and could have been doing both. The main themes in his paintings, aside from sex, appear to be transcendental values and the human psyche.
He was quite a chameleon who found a niche in different sub-cultures across several decades. For example, he was part of the crazyheads who circled
the SRI/Project Stargate and rubbed shoulders with Jacques Vallee and Edgar Mitchell. Coast to Coast AM would interview him from time to time and his
ideas of alien moonbases and aliens amongst us have fed into the culture of popular ufology. He was also part of the gay scene around Manhattan’s
Bowery and some of his artworks are obviously reflective of that.
Personally, I see him as someone who was defined by liminality and existed in the sub-groups of outsiders. There's nothing wrong with that and I'd
say some of the most influential figures in cultural history have been definitively niche and detached from mainstream society. With regards to his
participation in the SRI/Stargate scene, I have an inkling he was selected because of his outsider status. I mean, being gay in the early 70s was
still seen as dirty and mentally aberrant so being gay, artistic and 'psychic' placed him right out on the fringes. His capacity for fantasy and
dissociation may also have had a certain appeal to those involved in the Cold War psy-ops of the 60s and 70s.
It’s a credit to the man that nobody has had a bad thing to say about him. Sure, we can argue about the validity of RVing and his sense of reality.
We can dispute his reality-filters and wonder how fantasy-prone he was. Despite all that, he was a creative and artistically-talented man who’s
remembered fondly by
family friends and
associates. He came, he saw, he shot the sh*t and he left without pissing people off...cool legacy.
Swann's art, in my view, ranks with Einstein's famous equation. Both are art forms hinting toward yet more clues to reality then we ever dreamed of
on our own. There are other similarities also, but that discussion is best saved for other times, when as with the maturing of Einstein's work, we
mere humans can have a stronger grasp on how such works should affect us rather than largely standing around in disbelief.
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