Art and Yoga.
It goes without saying right? Creativity and spirituality. Relaxation and clairty. Self discovery and… inner peace… or something.
Okay, I’m out. I’m Bex and I admit, I’m a bad yogi and a bad artist.
I eat meat. I’m in no way bohemian and I can’t meditate. My practice is not an attempt to find myself, and I don’t beg questions through my drawing. I routinely skip savasana (…I wonder if there’s any of that yogurt left for breakfast…) and I rarely visit art galleries (because I don’t like them).
I draw for fun, and I draw for money. I’m a commercial artist: the ultimate sell out of the artistic world. And I’m damn proud of it.
There is no divine, no spiritual, and very little mindful elements to my life, either on or off the mat. I just don’t feel the need to begin that journey of self discovery and calmness that I’m pretty sure is supposed to be synonymous of both yoga and artistic expression.
Basically, I am just not ‘zen’. In fact, I’d say I’m ‘Zenless’.
I make pictures, not to express my inner self, but because it’s fun to tell a story – either mine or that of whomever I’m working for. Nothing more and nothing less. I practice yoga every day – without meditation – because I’m addicted to the joy of self improvement and the fact that I’m able constantly surpass my own, physical expectations (even if I do routinely forget to breathe right). Which I do.
I guess, neither art nor yoga are a ‘way of life’ for me. They’re simply two significant parts of it. Art is my business, yoga is my sport, and both are my passions. I wouldn’t be me without them, but they do not govern my attitude towards all other matters.
So then, when that inevitable and frustrating shadow of an artist’s creative block starts to loom, is that not the perfect time for a devoted – if bad – yogi to finally reflect inwards? To embrace the clarity of mindfulness? To apply the meditative possibilities of the mat that I know allows so many to derive those much needed answers from within?
No. I’m just too impatient. To be ruthlessly honest, I can’t stay in Savasana for more than one full minute because I’m aware I have washing up to do. Or I start thinking about the contents of the fridge.
But in spite of these rejections of yoga’s core traditions, I AM a passionate yogi, and yoga IS my go-to inspiration plunger for such a blockage. Not for meditation or mindfulness; not for self-awareness or even clarity. Yoga is my go-to because it is beautiful.
I’m an illustrator and designer. I’m driven by aesthetics and their communicative possibilities. When the flow of ideas has dried up, I simply look at or, more often than not, draw yoga. Maybe with an illustrative twist, often without. I’m awe-struck by the graceful, dynamic possibilities of good practice. The most seemingly basic poses has a series of physical specifications in its execution that make it truly beautiful and aesthetically satisfying. Yoga welcomes the opportunity to examine the human form, outside of the norm, on a surprising and original spectrum — away from preconceptions and without expectations.
The drawing might look wrong, or it might simply be a new, unusual reminder of the real possibilities of the trained human form; wiggly, surprising and curious. And utterly beautiful.
Drawing to produce loveliness restores confidence in my artistic ability, and subsequently inspiration is rarely too far behind.
Yoga and art are undoubtedly bedfellows for different reasons to different practitioners. They both demand dedication, passion, and determination; and for either practice confidence can falter. I’ve learned, how to use them to inspire each other in ways that satisfy the nature of my personal outlook (without a chant or mantra bead in sight).
So, yes, MY art and MY yoga. Commercial and physical with no need for spiritual. But always indisputably beautiful.