Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Artist Statement

Seeking tranquilization within tranquilization.

Building self within no-self

What is the meaning of life?

Searching and Searching

Asking and Asking

Before I was born, who is my original face?

Days through days

Years through years

What is my original face?

Over half of my life, I have been following the spiritual path of Chan (Zen), the path that the Bodhidharma brought from India to China 1500 years ago. When I came to the U.S., my heart was suspended in a sandwich between two cultures, Eastern spirituality and Western humanism. And I have been searching for a medium for beings in the West to have a heart-to-heart connection with the spirituality of the East.

Through art I have found this connection, art that coveys spirituality in human terms, humanistic spirituality. In my art, I take spiritual concepts and figures that have been frozen in formal Buddhist tradition and give them an organic form and a human face. As a practitioner as well as an artist, I plant the seed for an understanding that all beings have the seed of enlightenment embedded within them. All organic forms are beings, and all organic forms contain beings. Leaves become noses and noses become figures prostrating in prayer. Leaves breathe. Noses breathe. And in prayer we all breathe the same air. All beings have consciousness, Buddha nature. All beings are equal. All beings have an equal opportunity to be enlightened.

My recent work has consisted of sculptural images of the Bodhidharma. Starting with traditional forms, I then give him a variety of human expressions and place him in unconventional settings and forms in a variety of media. Humanistic spirituality is from a human perspective to look at all sentient beings. I work from a human perspective seeing that all sentient beings have consciousness and can be enlightened in any place at any time. “Pop! Enlightenment is here! Here I am!”

The path of Chan is the path of meditation to know our original face. This is the face of compassion and wisdom. This is the face of enlightenment. This is the face of all beings breathing the same air in peace and harmony.