by Gary S. Bobroff
For those who don’t know, please tell us a little about your background.
I originally came from St. Petersburg, from a diverse background which has always cherished and appreciated Soul, Depth, Intelligence, Art and critical thinking. I recall performing at a young age and being asked to ‘feel things’ and to think for myself. As a very young child, I encountered a vision which guided my way into a creative realm throughout life, a mixture of gratefulness, goal-setting and turning the darkness of life into it’s magic and light.
Your primary work is Darksoul Theatre, what is it and what is the history of this project?
Darksoul came to me as a Soul-saving art form in 1993, it allowed for expression and a refinement of the oil of darkness into the purity of light. I have spent all of these years creating via music, film, written and performance work, some of which is available via Amazon, iTunes and multiple other retailers. I have taught and expressed that darkness and negativity are entirely different elements, often misunderstood and fused together. I stay away from negativity but enjoy, create, and carve out of darkness. Three common misunderstandings in regards to Darksoul are: 1) That people choose to spell it ‘correctly’ by separating Dark and Soul which are indeed one word (both under copyright, when I was 13 and Trademarked via the Patent Office several years back). 2) That some assume I took this from the ancient 16th century text, Dark Night of the Soul — which I had no conscious knowledge of at that young age. I simply played with my creative shadow, in the dark, engaging with Soul matter. 3) That Darksoul must be something scary or negative, wherein again my work is to share the creative process of refinement of that energy which can by some be seen as negative into something creative and purposeful.
What first got you into Carl Jung?
Unlike many Jungians, I was originally an admirer of Freud’s work. I found it limiting but brilliant nonetheless. I believe if it weren’t for Freud, that Jung’s extraordinary concept of the Collective Unconscious may not have been found. Freud touched upon the unconscious but did not go deep into its ever-world, Jung did and thus, we have a newfound way of healing ourselves and potential clients, via the elaborate and ever-developing field of Depth Psychology. I believe the Collective Unconscious was that magic 3rd which transpired from the Transcendent Function, from the tension of the opposites between Freud and Jung (teacher and student).
What does ‘soul’ mean to you?
My wisest person in the world, Sophia (I always spell with a capital Grand and a capital Mother) shared her Soul with me. Soul with a capital S is the very essence which resides within our being, Some of my colleagues would consider this statement metaphysical in nature, and thus discount it’s usefulness, however it is hard to explain something like true love or true trust or even spiritual instinct, but they can be seen as clear symbols of where we need to go and how we should act and respond in life. The Soul, I believe, is a gift of the great creative force, God if you will, which is special and unique within each of us. At times developed, heard clearly and in unison with the body and mind, and at other times in dissonance, unheard and uncared for.
You invented Soul Photography in recent years, what inspired that and what’s the nature of the work?
Soul Photography is a strong supposition that not only do we contain cellular memory but that we have the option to both unconsciously and consciously experience events within our being, mind and body, in a psychosomatic way. Opposite to that of PTSD, a way to bring joy and light from previous experiences into our daily existence. I performed this original concept, at a live show in Tokyo, Japan and later via the Edinburgh Festival. You can hear a BBC radio interview here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FgNRlvv7cZ4 An audio self-hypnosis-like-work of the basic process for Soul Photography can be purchased via iTunes (circa 2009).
How is your work a bridge between the conscious and the unconscious?
I envision archetypes as if they were keys to unlock different doors. I currently host a radio podcast, titled the ‘Archetypal Mosaic’ on a top Los Angeles public radio station, KPFK, and recently performed a Darksoul Theatre Halloween stage show, titled ‘The Archetypal Joker’ wherein the psychological backstory of the Joker archetype came into play, a kind of backstory before the comic book version. Archetypes bridge the conscious with the uncurious by becoming workable images for us to use and activate, to fly upon (image-wise), as did King Solomon via a magic carpet in the Old Testament. Whether some view the stories as fact and others see them as workable metaphors … the connection to the Great Divine resides, I believe, in the communication within the unconscious realms, our dream states and all that occurs there. We don’t just waste time sleeping, we dwell into an ether of the divine.
I know Dionysus is important to you, how does this infamous Greek god play a role in your life?
Bill T. Jones was Artist in Residence at UC Davis, where I was receiving a Bachelor’s Degree in the early 2000’s. He chose me to play Dionysus, in a double character scenario, within The Bacchae Project. Since that time, and possibly prior, the archetype has been activated within. The Dionysus archetype is shunned by society where men are expected to appear masculine and strong all the time, men are not given the space to be expressive, emotional, true to their Soul. Dionysus is a free man, one who is not afraid to connect to his Anima publicly, one that is not afraid to truly respect and care for women and Intersex individuals without having to shun his freedom of self, his shall we say, respectful omni-sensuality. A 30 track music digipak and a musical video shot on Hollywood Blvd, featuring the iconic branding genius, Angelyne have both recently been released to further strengthen the archetype of inspiration via the Darksoul theatre brand.
You recently presented at a conference in Sicily, can you tell us more about that event and your role?
A great honor was the presentation in Sicily. Attending Pacifica Graduate Institute, and being part of the DJA (Jungian and Archetypal Studied program), I’ve had the pleasure to study from some of the greats; Lionel Corbett, Susan Rowland, Nancy Galindo, Kieron Le Grice. At the Art and Psyche conference, met with incredible people in the field, Sonu Shamdasani (whom I had the honor to interview), Carl Jung’s grandson, the elegant and humble Andreas Jung, Israeli art therapist, Janice Shapiro (who recently appeared on my radio program) and the current curator of ARAS NY, Ami Ronnberg.
My presentation was titled, ‘Intersex as a Transcendent Function.’ To prepare, I originally met with Intersex activist, Hida Viloria then spoke with the author of the book, The Transcendent Function, Jeffrey C. Miller over the phone and studied Jung’s concept (both the 1916 and 1958 versions). The purpose of the paper and presentation was to show the power of Divine Communication between all sexes in our communities and how peace can be created naturally. The paper which initially nearly failed at the institute (at times having original thinking in the field equates to inflation from certain professors and theorists) … gathered traction on an international level. Further development of my part is due, in order to bring this concept into actualized usefulness in the future. A version of the paper is scheduled for publication in late 2016.
Congratulations on recently receiving an Entrepreneur award from SCORE Los Angeles for Success in Creativity. What was that like and what part of your work were they honoring?
Thank you, the award was given to three individuals for a culmination of entrepreneurship skills. Multiple projects and the tracking of their individual success, not solely based on numbers, created a profile of visible movement in the creative and business individuation. David Berkus, a business mentor, nominated me. The ceremony was elegant and also honored a great elder in the community, Don Donner. I have always deeply appreciated elders who are not usually bitter, but instead gift wisdom and care for others’ success. I plan to collaborate with Mr. Donner next year.
You’re going to be offering “Dark into Light Jungian Consultations” soon and the current tagline is Turning Negativity into Creativity – that sounds really transformative and powerful, what can you tell us about it?
Thank you for asking, I plan to open a Darksoul-Jungian consulting operation in the near future, incorporating the process which I learned both naturally via Darksoul for over 20 years, along with the studies of Jung’s elegant work at Pacifica as well as the meetings and interviews with some of the great people in the field — in order to bring about a form of creative individuation for those who request my services and inspiration.
Where can our readers find out more about you and your work?
Archived website MikhailTank.com
Verified Twitter @mikhailtank
E-mail for bookings, potential clients and questions
Gary will be on Mikhail's radio program on KPFK 90.7 FM Los Angeles next week talking about his work with Our Archetypal Nature.