Since prehistoric man’s quest for greater knowledge through inscribing symbols on cave walls, artists have undertaken a vital responsibility within society as intermediaries between the upper and lower worlds. They translate the esoteric into decipherable, visual languages to help explain the mysteries of life and how to navigate the often hostile, forces of nature. 

Every sacred art tradition begins with the visionary. Those who comprehend the complexities of the eternal relationship between the microcosm and macrocosm. Bali is renowned for its sacred, codified Classical Wayang paintings and magical rerajahan drawings. These living traditions continue today functioning to bridge the worlds. The Balinese philosophy of Buana Agung – Buana Alit describes the relationship between the heavens, the macro, and humanity, the microcosm. As above, so below.

Ubud has evolved during the past century into an international artists’ hub. English artist and expatriate Bali resident Izzy Ivy first visited the island in 2008. The multi-talented creative now divides her time between the hills of Ubud and the southern Bukit peninsula. She composes vibrant, otherworldly pictures describing both familiar and unfamiliar scenarios. Rich in colour and verve, Izzy’s imaginary worlds may depict animals and alien beings. The compositions are often structured with geometry and highlighted by symbols linking all with the natural elements and the divine. 

Visionary Art

Izzy’s painting style is known as Visionary Art. The central aspect of this genre is that the images are messages or prophesies gifted to the creatives by a divine force or by their altered state of being. Colour and symbols are essentials within Izzy’s picture’s and resonate with the conscious and subconscious mind. There is a warmth and a tangible invisible quality. Visionary art increasingly attracts new global audiences. Izzy enjoys growing demand for her works in America, Europe and Australia.

“It’s curious. Even though I studied art and graduated with top marks in theatre design, I have only been a painter for the past eight years,” Izzy told me. Her previous passions include textiles, graphic design and psychology. After university, however, she chose to focus on costume design and film-style prosthetic puppet-making.

‘Lemuria Rising’ 2021 -Izzy Ivy. Oil on canvas, 120x80cm. Image Richard Horstman

“Before being a painter, I was a clothing designer, fashion label owner, a professional fire dancer and practiced Reiki and bodywork at a healing centre in Sydney, Australia. I have also exhibited, facilitated art workshops and painted live at festivals around the world,” said the nomadic spirit, born in 1984, in Tonbridge Wells, South England, who recently wrote and designed her second series of oracle tarot cards. Dreaming big and believing in her potential has led Izzy to explore an array of expressions culminating in her becoming a devoted artist.

Painting other Worlds 

‘Lemuria Rising’ Izzy’s recent painting reveals an angelic like being sitting atop of a volcano within a landscape describing her vision of the ancient civilisation of Lemuria. Two dragons intertwine in dynamic swirling motion, to each side an unknown script runs vertically along the composition.  At the top, mysterious, loving faces appear floating above the scenario. Believed to have encompassed the Asian-Pacific region, Lemuria has lasting esoteric connections with Indonesia.

‘Codes of Atlantis’ 2021 is inspired by Izzy’s time at Uluwatu. The seascape describes aquatic life, mighty waves and in the top left a vista of Bali’s volcanic skyline. The focal point is a wide-eyed mermaid surrounded by a dolphin, mantra ray, whale and mystical codes. In the foreground is a temple of Atlantis flanked by two pyramids. 

‘Codes of Atlantis’ 2021 – Izzy Ivy. Oil on canvas 120x80cm. Image Richard Horstman

“While painting, I experience moments of deep flow where I can’t put the brush down. I intuitively follow whispers, being shown where each brushstroke must go. At times I feel the image, so clearly it possesses me. Painting can be uplifting and inspirational. I experience intense overflows of bliss and the sensation of being connected with the divine,” said Izzy, who describes her creative process as anchoring light onto canvas and capturing the unseen.

The Role of Artists

What is the role of artists in contemporary society, especially during this global upheaval and period of human transformation? 

Creativity is the most valuable human offering in society. As agents of change, artists have the unique ability and the responsibility to give us new languages and tools to understand the world better and help us solve existential problems. American author and researcher William Henry, in his book ‘The Skingalarity is Near: The Next Human, the Perfect Rainbow Light Body and the Technology of Human Transcendence’, describes the artist’s role as being spiritual, creating art to activate our DNA and prepare us for the future.

Henry believes that human DNA is pre-programmed for ascension. His research into art from the ancient civilisations and the pioneering religious paintings reveal they contain functional symbols and codes that interact upon our deepest biological levels, preparing us for our journey forward. The act of looking at art alters our consciousness.


“I have devoted the pandemic period to being productive, and my creativity in Bali has evolved to the next level. I am grateful for this unique environment that has fostered my growth that I am then able to share with the world,” Izzy explained. “Everywhere you look in Bali, there is art and embellishment, while the people are constantly communing with the unseen realms. I feel as if the spirits here are supporting me.”

Balinese culture utilises ceremony to connect with nature and the divine. In its purest form, their art-making and creative expressions are ritualistic. They believe the world is influenced by and comprises two essential elements, the visible and the invisible. This fundamental is described by their philosophy Sekala/Niskala (seen and unseen).

Upon clear, moonless nights, we may witness the magnificence of the cosmic light show infinitely sparkling and inciting childlike wonder. Unfortunately, humanity is mainly obsessed with day-to-day experiences. Forgetting the magic of their makeup and more—all of which is sourced from above. Izzy’s pictures are a reflection of the Island of the Gods.  Codes to unlocking mysteries. Her portals into time and space are relevant reminders, inspiring us to imagine the grander picture.

Follow Izzy’s artistic journey
Instagram: @izzy_ivy_art

Richard Horstman

Richard Horstman

NOW! Bali Art Columnist, Richard Horstman. For over fifteen years Richard has been contributing to national and regional newspapers and magazines writing about art and culture. He is passionate about observing and reporting on developments in the local art and creative infrastructure, and the exciting emerging talent that is flourishing in Bali. IG: @lifeasartasia