Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Art and practice.

Speaking of books, another book I have been reading is Buddha mind in contemporary Art, a collection of essays and interviews regarding the relationship of Buddhism to art making and artworks.  There are so many valuable and inspiring commentaries by artists, critics, curators, and just art "people "in this book that it is difficult to choose one idea to share here.  I picked up the book because of a curator I liked - a few of his writings I'd read just rang true to me.  I've  always been interested in Buddhism, so this book has proven inspiring to me as it addresses, from various points of view, the  remarkable similarity between mindfulness practice and art making.

When I was in college, I studied printmaking and fiber arts as I was magnetically pulled toward those  repetitive disciplines.   Much like my love for running as exercise, hiking, and other sustained, contemplative activities, I was unaware of how my art-making resembled mindfulness practice and pointed to my essential desire to create space in my own mind and cultivate the mental state of flow.

 Upon introduction to meditation technique, I realized my art making was so similar. I also realized my art making could provide context and  inspiration for mindfulness as the end result is a product that continues to exist beyond my own contemplative practice. So I started to make  art, however sophomorically, that pointed toward these ideas I was learning in a novice Buddhist study.  I still love many of those well intentioned works.

In my recent years of having stepped away from the art community, I find (through reading, art making and learning new art 'languages' such as piano and Spanish),  that my mindfulness practice is stronger and more important to me than ever.  As a student, I was not fully aware of the potential for mindfulness practice in my art making, but over time I see there is always an unfolding realization of this essential aspect of my work.   Perhaps the only purpose of art making for me is to cultivate and present the possibility for mindful living.
Current progress in my time of slow contemplation of my marriage, the "spending time" that is "us" and that unequivocally builds my awareness for our growth (with all it's rises and pitfalls) as partners.