Born in Alberta, Canada, Kevin Campeau spent his childhood living on an experimental farm in the northern prairies.
“I was that kind of young kid who really preferred the worlds and stories springing up within my own imagination to interacting with others. I was running with the foxes and jumping with the deer, swimming with the frogs and the fishes. I was crawling with the ants and chirping with the grasshoppers. I was shapeshifting, dreaming into my own nature and into nature.
Looking back, I can see how I was rhythmically connecting to a kind of essential relationship with myself, the world and the universe, though I saw it as just play. I felt like this queer little thing whose feelers were searching everywhere, whose sensitivity was filling itself to the brim. I was curious beyond measure. The man-made world seemed too harsh and unbending, crushing even, while I could find the warmth and flow in the imaginal realms that I personally needed to survive, to thrive. I was involving myself with the undercurrent of things without really realizing it, finding my place in the outer world through that connection with the inner one. Not every kid goes there or knows to do that. Somehow I did, there was enough space for me to.”
He came to discover a passion for drawing and writing, inspired mostly by his love for reading and his states of play. He explored and nurtured these modalities for creative expression throughout his time growing up. After finishing school he moved to Edmonton, Alberta to attend art college. He stayed for one semester and, unsatisfied with what he found to be a stale curriculum and environment, decided to drop out. He moved to Alberta's Rocky Mountains, seeking adventure, new experiences and a new landscape. It was here that he was overtaken by a sudden illness which left him nearly completely paralyzed.
“I was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS) in late 2002. I was 20 years old and had just begun to discover myself as a young and out gay man. The illness affects the peripheral nervous system, eating away at the nerve connections. I ended up having a quite severe case.
I lost all movement from my neck down and was in an incredible amount of pain. I was kept on a ventilator to keep me breathing and so lost my voice. All communication with the nurses, doctors and with my family was through lip-reading and facial expression. My body withered.
Luckily, one can recover from GBS as the nerve connections grow back.
I was in hospital for four months from onset – four months which felt like years. When I was discharged from rehab I was already walking with a cane. The tendons in my legs had shortened despite rigorous daily physiotherapy and I had lost most of the muscle mass throughout my body. I spent nearly two years rehabilitating myself physically to where I felt strong enough to lead a 'normal' life. After all was said and done, physically I was left with permanent nerve damage and pain in my feet and lower legs, a small cost to pay in my opinion for being able to move and speak again.”
After this illness he moved to Quebec in Eastern Canada. Catalyzed by his experience, it was there that he began to focus reflectively into his creative process while seeking methods for spiritual inner healing. He took up meditation, which led him deeper into the practices of Inner Journeying, drawing and writing. These practices began to interweave and function as a unit. As he would meditate into his inner landscapes, inspired sometimes by vivid dreams or simply by what was arising in the moment, he would encounter archetypal spiritual guides and dialogue with them, recording these dialogues in writing and drawing.
“I had been through quite a lot in a short amount of time. Watching my bodily autonomy slip away and being in a constant state of intense pain for months had opened many dissociative (or perhaps
super-associated) pathways within me. I felt newborn in a way, but also shattered. I felt the need to begin to process what had occurred while re-establishing a healthy connection with my inner life.
A new space within me began to emerge, expanding slowly through meditation and contemplation as well as through drawing and writing. I breathed into it. Memories flooded in of moments in my life that had felt like miracles and I consciously chose these as luminous cornerstones of the new foundation of self that I was beginning to build. A practice naturally began evolving from all of these things merging together, something I came to call Inner Journeying – traveling through the imaginal realms, dialoguing with inner spiritual guides, honing the inner senses, refining intention and strengthening the will.”
He attended The Visions in the Mischtechnik Seminar in Italy in the summer of 2012, following a calling to learn painting and expand his ability to share imagery based on his inner experiences. He also attended The Vienna Academy of Visionary Art from its inception, becoming the first graduate of its 3 year program in June of 2016.
“When I moved to Vienna and began painting regularly at the academy something extraordinary was added to the mixture of transformative practices I'd been brewing for nearly a decade at that point. Painting was a potent piece of the puzzle that I'd been holding myself back from adding until I was truly ready for it. I admired it so much. When it finally came into play, it was as if this brew solidified – it became for me something like the idea of the philosopher's stone in alchemy. Inner Journeying, meditation, painting, drawing, writing...practiced alongside one another they form into something like creative pillars holding up a channel to divine intercourse with the universe.”
Since 2012 Kevin has been teaching his Trifold Approach to Inner Journeying to others from around the world. In 2017 he began offering his experience to others as a
teacher of acrylic painting, oil painting and drawing. He co-taught that summer during The Visions in the Mischtechnik Seminar in Torri Superiore, Italy and
returned again to teach in 2019.
He also taught for five weeks during the second half of the Fall trimester 2019 at the Vienna Academy of Visionary Art.
In early 2022 he joined the faculty of the Vitra Academy.
Kevin Campeau is currently based in Vienna, Austria.