Barter Art Project: Arcadia in Mayhem

About the Barter Art Project

When suspended in the weightlessness of a float pod, your body relaxes deeply, while your brain slows down and enters theta state. Here, you are free to unearth visions, memories, and dreams hidden in your subconscious. The Barter Art Project is an initiative that trades floats for art, telling the stories of creatives and their journeys into inner space.


When some first hear about the float pod, they shudder at the thought of spending an hour with the ‘monsters’ in their head. So when we saw illustrator Kevin’s many drawings of mythical beings and beasts, we kinda wondered if they would join him in the float pod too.

Kevin Too - Palm Ave Float Club

Hi Kevin! Tell us about yourself.

I’m a dwarf trapped in a giant’s body, who secretly wishes the plot of jurassic park – the first movie, not its horrid sequels – will come true within the coming decade. That being said, the forgotten art of Visual Alchemy is not lost on me and it’s something I’m aware of when i create, or as I like to put it (and many have said before me), manifesting the unconscious into the conscious. On a similar tangent, I go on regular raids and quests with the good folks over at Tell Your Children.


What are you creating these days?

Currently, I’m tailoring my illustrations to be more narrative driven, to showcase some semblance of a story through background environments, near missable character details, things of that sort. I believe I’ll be tackling pieces on a bigger scale in the coming months, and to start archiving and showcasing my works in a proper manner.

Overall, I’m just trying to git gud.




Can you share something that happened recently that changed your perspective?

I believe my reading habit (mostly fiction books) changes my perspective almost on the daily.

It’s fascinating to think about the characters and their setting and the tone of the story, and how the author would weave subplots and certain themes into the narrative, through the power of language. Going further as to muse the author’s context while writing it (and their history and life) and what he was trying to say versus what was interpreted by me, and others. It’s something I’ve never considered before and has led me to rereading old books that I’ve combed through.


What are your thoughts on getting into a flow state?

“Flow is a concept that I’ve only recently begun to grasp. I’ve always had a romanticised idea of what ‘Flow‘, and to a larger extent, ‘Creativity/Creation’, was: The compelling of an artist to be the conduit for a larger consciousness of ideas and unbounded creativity for hours on end. An artistic possession of sorts.”

That has never occurred to me before and on the contrary, I’ve always found it difficult to stay focused on the task at hand.

My definition of the concept of flow is still largely ambiguous. I see it on somedays as the capacity and ability to be at ease with your craft and ability to be able to see your project from start to finish, and on others, the discipline to put pen to paper and actually get stuff done.

As to what has helped me, a digital countdown clock and heavy psychedelic rock music has been helping me recently. A good podcast is killer, Pinterest is pretty amazing too if you know what to look for.


Tell us about the artwork you created, inspired by your floats.

Kevin Too Palm Ave Float Club

Momentum‘, inspired by Kevin’s first two floats
(Click to view large)

I wanted the piece to be a stark contrast from the work I usually create, something abstract and formless, colourful (I usually work with black, white, and greys). I wanted it to make me feel a level of artistic unease.

As an illustrator, I get bogged down by the semantics of knowing or being conscious of what I’m drawing constantly, and thus wanted to create something totally different. Additionally, that’s what floating felt like to me. 

Something so loose and abstract is not in my usual wheelhouse, and thus I struggled internally to complete it. Even right now, I consciously don’t think it’s completed and struggle with wanting to add more bells and whistles to it, but it feels complete to me, and on some level, I believe I achieved my goal with the piece.”


What challenges have you faced in your creative process? How do you overcome them?

I believe the age old problem of focus and manifesting what’s in the mind onto the medium at hand is always a hindrance for me. Likewise, I’m at the stage where instead of ‘overcoming‘ such shortcomings, I’m learning to live with them and work around them, or in some cases, work with them.


Can you share something you did recently that you’re proud of?

I’m rather proud of the fact that I’ve been keeping to a regular weekly swimming schedule, and the fact that I’ve not purchased a new book for months (the same can’t be said for second hand books though).



Kevin Too - Cosmic Death


See more of Kevin’s work:

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