To me, self knowing is the essence of being on the path of art and yoga. Through authentically practicing both I meet my true self over and over again. Each time I see myself, my relationship the world around is revealed. This revelation allows me very little choice but to engage in the world in a new way (I could deny I saw anything new an just continue to live as I had before, but on this path it's sort of a choice of being honest with myself or not. I usually try to choose honesty. It keeps the cycle going more smoothly). This new, purposeful engagement with the world is a recreation of myself. It is an act of art and creativity which brings the process in full cycle once again but this time at more depth than when it began.
So really, what the heck does that all mean? (Abstract much?!) Here's an example in my studio: I made very busy, colorful paintings for a long time. I still make busy and colorful paintings, but the energy is different. In my older paintings such as:
"Watching 1,000 Things" (2007)
I wasn't sure why I was making these paintings or what they would look like when finished. The process of authentic making entails a mystery and a curiosity that brings me back to the studio over and over again and allows the hours in the studio to sometimes disappear in the flow of creating.
Through the making of them, though, I noticed that they mimicked my inner space: busy, claustrophobic, noisy, unsettled, unwieldy, joyful and interesting (to me!). When I moved to Japan I felt a shift, a desire for more space, more peace, more settling. Now, about three years later, I am still shifting, painting to a new mysterious tune. Trying to keep what is interesting to me, to keep my joy and energy, but to allow it to exist in more space and calm. I am also interested in what it there when my joy is not. My shadows.
Whatever comes from this shift, or any shift, the most important thing it to realize is that the way I engaged with the world-- what I look at for inspiration, what I read, what I paint from, what colors I use, etc.-- changed because I saw myself in my paintings and decided to actively recreate myself. Just by making something I was able to see myself in a new way and then choose to engage in the world based on that self knowing.
This is what I hope to offer other people in my work as a teacher. This is what I will continue to do through my yoga and art practice throughout my life.
"Permeable Limits: Ghost and Squirrel Work Together" (2009)