Ingo was a self-taught artist who worked mostly in oil paintings. His artworks express his passion for exploring the mysteries of the Universe and recapture his visions from leaving his body, remote viewing, and seeing auras. His works have been used in many publications, shown at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, and are part of the Permanent Collections at The American Visionary Art Museum, The Leslie Lohman Musuem of Gay and Lesbian Art, ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives at USC Libraries, and Edgar Cayce's Association for Research and Enlightenment.
Starting in the late 1950s with his first still life painting and continuing through to his last work of art, Cosmic Intelligence (now owned by the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland) Ingo’s art periods mirror his own journey. From student to visionary, cosmic and later metaphysical artist, Ingo’s goal was to transcend the ordinary into an art form that conveyed an advancing frontier of experience.
Photo: Millennium, Ingo Swann, 1981-1985
Courtesy of The American Visionary Art Museum
"There is inherent in the work of (cosmic) artists a certain withdrawal of the center of psychic gravity from the external worlds, including the worlds represented by the past, towards an imminent future, where the mind and spirit of the human will soar beyond limitations both of things physical and of present ideas about thought itself.
This withdrawal represents not a retreat of old ideas of mind and spirit, but an encompassment of them with a strange, often befuddling, but certainly exciting drift to the frontiers of mind and awareness themselves."
-- Cosmic Art
"I had spent my first years in New York in a sort of studentship guise, striving to equal famous artists, and this had not really produced anything original."
"In 1962, after spending several years discovering that it was quite a difficult goal, if not an absolutely insane one, to try to arrive in the New York art establishment, I made an energetic decision to retreat into myself and at least paint what I enjoyed."
"Mr. Reed Erickson, a millionaire, had come to my apartment to view a large painting which Dr. Jean Houston had recommended he should see. He bought the large, three-paneled painting in gorgeous colors and gold leaf which I had entitled Requiem for the Death of a Man."
"As a child I used to watch with great fascination the fluttering forms of color sparkling from objects and people – from my mother, father, grandmothers, and ordinary people, as well as from caterpillars, leaves, rocks, and so forth. So I decided to paint flowers – wonderful brilliant flows of all shapes and varieties including of course the magnificent scintillating undulations of light and energy that swept in and out of the blooms."
"Finally flowers dwindled in interest before the advancing onslaught of a far more complex and strange array of ideas and visions. My inward eye turns to human figures, and another series of works, executed between 1963 and 1966, resulted. These paintings were for the most part composed of elongated nudes, gigantic males and females, all with blue skins and burning red eyes, possessing fantastic energy shells and glittering, undulating rainbow auras, and shooting out radiant streamers and bubbles. The one gallery dealer I had acquired, who was working to sell my earlier, more mundane, strongly surrealistic works, cast an oblique eye on these new products, and not long after that we parted company."
"The first Kirlian photograph I saw, I was extremely astonished to view high- and low- frequency photographic results of coronal conditions that resembled almost exactly the flows, flares, and bubbles I had begun to paint nearly ten years earlier."
Inspired by his astral or out-of-body expeditions to distant galaxies, Ingo began to paint what he called space-scapes...he wanted to convey in these paintings a sense of what being in outer space was like. To Ingo these paintings represented a new concept in aesthetics – that of expanded awareness often associated with parapsychological ability. It was his impression of actually being in space with full awareness.
"Human consciousnesses can include transcendental experiencing, since so much of such experiencing goes on all of the time, in all cultures, and in all ages."
Ingo's last series of paintings were inspired by his vast forays into a wide variety of Psi and metaphysical experiences: remote viewing; UFO studies and alien encounters; astrology; numerology; occult symbolism; and other paranormal and extra-sensory experiences.