Monday, April 01, 2013

2013 Buddha Abides

After looking for a gallery venue for three months to no avail, Dave at Santa Barbara Frame Shop and Gallery called me to say it was available again. What a relief! So for the third year we will be right downtown in that marvelous corner of Arlington Court just opposite the Arlington Theater. Once again we will be raising money both for local and international charities: Santa Barbara Domestic Violence Solutions and the Tibetan Children's Village in Dharamsala, India.

Opening date is May 11th. That means that art needs to be submitted the previous Saturday, May 4th. Just download the application with all the details from this blog.

The art I chose for the poster this year is by Penny Arntz. Not only is it beautifully rendered with that Tuscan yellow background, but I just love the crazy image of the Buddha sitting atop a lotus flower atop a double cheese burger.

I was curious as to how she came up with the image. So a few weeks ago we met for lunch in her beautiful, art filled home. Penny said, “… the art I did for previous exhibits were more controlled, polite and decorative. I did a lot of research for this one. Dragged my husband down to McDonalds so could get a really good look at a burger, to find out what is the actual construction of a Big Mac. I asked myself, 'should there be sesame seeds on the bun, does it need to be two patties so that is it high enough? How do I make the cheese look good? What kind of cheese? Should I toast the bun? How do I paint a greasy burger and make it look really greasy?

My husband said, “This doesn’t work with my blood pressure. You are out of your mind.”

But for some reason this creation actually felt mindful. It didn’t seem irreverent. It was somehow transcendent. I even felt it wasn’t just me creating it. It had it’s own life, so much so that I asked myself, “Who did this?”

Who indeed?

After I described a similar experience creating a dance-theater production to a friend. She recited a quote from a poet, ‘What gives rise to the poem, gives way to the poem.’. In my experience the creation of all art has this element of influence beyond one's own mind. How marvelous for us that, as Joseph Campbell said, “Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you where there were only walls.”

Penny's piece also reflects perfectly the deepest Buddhist theme that is written on the T-shirt this year, which is, ‘Samsara is Nirvana’.

Think about it.