Marc Marcel is an Artist, Author, and Poet representing Baltimore, Maryland. I discovered his work some time ago (circa 2013 by way of this video.) after some of my first experiences with psychedelics and was fascinated by his commentary on the nature of reality and what it means to be human.
He explores these themes with his outstanding poetry and in his magnificent, The Book That Doesn't Even Matter. It's within this space of examining humanity, that he has elevated himself and everyone who has been lucky enough to experience his work.
His animated parody Gurus (which I wrote an analysis and review of) is an incredible look at some of the figures and ideas we typically hold in such high esteem in cultures around the globe. I've gotten the opportunity to speak with him about his ideas and the inspirations for the outstanding series.
Prox: How did you did initially get interested in religion and spirituality? Was this before or after you started doing poetry?
Marc: I was always an inquisitive person, so it was only natural that I would start wondering about religion and how I felt about God, and the afterlife. I have had many instances that dictated my next move, but I would say one of the more prominent ones was when I was 20 years old.
I did a report for a mandatory bible course I was taking at a junior college in Nashville Tennessee, on the forth coming of Jesus, and had to pick out a verse in the bible that showed that. I choose from the chapter Isaiah. I forget exactly what verse and chapter it was, but I had to recite the report in front of the class. When I went home a week later, my father suggested that I take my grandmother to church. I wasn’t a church going person, I hadn’t been to church since I was 13, but I did so anyway to bond with her. We were late getting there, but as soon as we sat down, a young boy was introduced, and he got to the podium and read the same verse from Isaiah, that foretold the coming of Christ. I was just floored, out of all the passages in the bible, that was the one that I heard when I first walked into the church, after 7 years. I didn’t take this as a sign that I should be religious (Thank God), I took it as a sign that something was aware that I was there. This opened me up some to the possibility of something deeper than the physical. I had some experiences when I was younger, but this came at a time when I was just about to open some doors for myself.
My spoken word/poetry came a couple years afterwards. I can’t say that it is what led me to poetry, but my poetry was more in-depth because of it (These types of surreal moments).
Prox: While it is becoming more common, it is still pretty rare to see members of the black community interested in psychedelics. In your opinion, what can psychedelics offer to us as a race of people who still seek to heal and grow after some of the things we’ve been through?
Marc: Perspective. Peace of mind. Although, I’m hesitant try to sell someone on the “peace of mind” part. Because, it gives you peace of mind, in the sense of this reality, people here, our differences, you understand that it is only a game. And while it answers many of your questions, it in turn only leaves you with more. So the “peace of mind” thing, is a kind of catch 22. Because the things that may bother you beforehand, become obsolete to the new set of questions that you will then be consumed by. However, these questions tend to be less superficial, or selfish. Your questions may go from “why me?” to “what is this?”
For me, I would say, the most important thing it has helped me with, is giving me a different perspective, to see reason in things, and coincidence in others. When it takes you to the places it does, you tend not to look at this world the same. You understand it differently, it’s as if you see the blueprint, the cause and effect to certain things. But mostly, it helped me to see how we’re all connected, even the people that hurt or harm us, we are just as connected to them, as much as we are to the people that we love. When understanding things like this, it allows you to move on quicker, to get over certain hang-ups and disappointments, and to understand that this is just the game of “life.”
Prox: How has your poetry been affected by these substances? Are there any new elements that you’ve added into your art that was absent before you used them?
Marc: Well, it’s impossible for you to dive into such a thing and not be affected by it. My life has been affected by these substances, so, therefore, my art was affected as well. My art is a reflection of my life, the things I see, experience, thoughts, feelings, or beliefs I have about the world and non-physical. My life and my art go hand and hand. However, it was just the next phase of my growth, I suppose, what my art was leading to. I wouldn’t say psychedelic substances brings out things that aren’t already there, it just kind of…zeroes in on it. I have a “clearness” about what I’m doing, instead of just free-styling my way through it.
Prox: Could you explain The Gurus Project for us? How did you come up with the project and what does it symbolize?
Marc: Gurus is a philosophical cartoon parody about history’s greatest philosophers working to solve the modern world’s problems. It came to me, because I wanted to make fun of my own philosophies.
I created an Alter Ego, “Eisen Godfrey” and was going to have him be this smug philosopher, that thinks most people are ridiculous. But then I thought, “Why not only make fun of my own philosophies, but also the people who I have learned from and admire?” and that’s when I thought of adding Buddha, then Alan Watts, and Terence McKenna, and Jesus, and so many others.
It symbolizes “Being able to laugh through the madness, to find humor in it all.” I believe this because at the end of the day, through all our beliefs and interactions with each other, I feel that the non-physical finds a lot of the things we do in the physical, to be amusing, mostly our ignorance.
Prox: You love to stay current on politics. What are some of the things you’ve noticed on the world stage as of late? Is there anything we can do to improve our situation on the planet?
Marc: There’s always something we can do to improve our situation.The question is, will we do it? But, I’m sure you want to know what kind of things they are. I suppose this is just an opinion because like most things, you never truly know the outcome until you put forth an effort, nor do you know the best outlet or direction until that path is usually complete.
So, this is just an optimistic observation but, I believe the people need to speak up louder than ever before. We can go two ways about this, we can go down a road that leads us to having minimal rights, or the freedom we desire to have as a world. I say world, because I tend to believe people need to get out of this thinking of “country” or “nations”. They need to think more “worldly.”
The way we improve ourselves is to extend ourselves to others. It is the only way for the people to remain free. The more divisive we are, the easier it will be for the elites to stay in control, and to regulate the masses, because they can just turn the groups against each other.
Prox: What are some words of wisdom you would give to those who are struggling with the outcome of this past presidential election and the unrest that is happening in the country?
Marc: Buckle up. It’s only the beginning. I wish I could tell them that it’s going to be beautiful, and afterwards we will be singing “Kumbaya” but unfortunately I don’t see that. I see tough times ahead but, there is a means to the madness. I said in my book, “The Book That Doesn’t Even Matter” a philosophy on the meaning of life, that when things are built on top of rotting wood, you can’t continue to place steel on top of it, building upwards. The foundation is still rotting wood, and eventually it will not be able to support its structure. I think that is what we are seeing, the structure falling down.
I believe we can pull through this as a people, I believe we will see our wrongs, and eventually make progression to a society that has learned and can go forth with humanities best interest at heart.
It will be like growing your hair out. When it’s long and finished, it’s beautiful and looks like it never had any problems. However, people who begin to grow their hair out know that the early stages are the rough stages, the difficult stage to get through. Right now, we have just begun to grow our hair out, and it’s the early stages.
Prox: Favorite hobbies?
Marc: Honestly, I don’t have too many hobbies anymore. My hobbies are my livelihood. I’m constantly working, writing, animating, producing, just doing something that centers around my art. I’m a workaholic, so usually everything centers around it. Although, I would say, I am a space freak. I love understanding, and learning about the Universe, so anything involved with that, it becomes a hobby of mine, among other things associated with the history of the world. I suppose…”learning” is my hobby.
Prox: Who are some of your favorite contemporary artists?
Marc: Man, this is a tough one. I can’t honestly say I have a favorite, or favorites, so I will just name some that I respect. Alex Gray (painter), Sigur Ros (Icelandic post-rock band that makes up it’s own language), Graham Hancock (author on ancient civilizations and psychedelics), are just a few to name. But if I were to choose one I respect the most, it would have be Leonardo Da Vinci. He was an artist of so many things, whether it be painting, poetry, sculpturing, an architect, he was a genius. He found ways to truly bring to life the thoughts from his mind. If I were to have a master of the arts, it would be him.
Prox: Tips for aspiring artists, visionaries, and businessmen?
Marc: I’m not sure if I am the one to be giving advice about business, being that I myself am still figuring things out. I see it as an ongoing process. So with that said, perhaps my advice would be to keep working hard on your art, or whatever it is that you do. If you are a businessman, read as many books by businessmen that you can. Try to understand different perspectives, perhaps it can help you on your course. Basically, to be great at what you do, you cannot only be the teacher, you must also be the student. It is a constant learning process.
Prox: Information on upcoming projects and releases?
Marc: Well, I’ve been trying to release my 18th spoken word album, “The God I Used to Be.” I don’t have a release date for it just yet, but it is at the finishing stages of recording, and mixing.
Prox: Final Thoughts?
Marc: Enjoy yourself as much as you can. Life is precious, I hesitate to say it is a gift, due to some of my beliefs, because I tend to think it is something we constantly come back to, but nevertheless it is precious. Strive for the things you want, understand the journey is more valuable than the reward. If someone gives you the reward, and that’s it, you won’t understand it nor can you do anything with it. It is the journey, the journey gives you substance, it makes you understand the blueprint of what the reward is, it is where all the adventure and learning lies. So embrace the journey, it is why we are here, to have fun, fuck up, learn and love.
You can learn more about Marc and follow him, here.
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