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Mantras in Art, Not Affirmations on Posters

Mantras are different from affirmations

When I tell people I put mantras into paintings, they often assume that I create word art - those posters or framed prints that say something cheerful like Have an Attitude of Gratitude.

To me, that kind of decoration containing an affirmation conveys a superficial platitude which some would call 'toxic positivity'.

The feel-good moment is fleeting and we’re no better for it.

True change isn't as simple as an uplifting reminder on your coffee mug.

A mantra is only an affirmation if it fails to connect with intent and breath

Only through introspection can we find understanding. The truths are buried and it takes some effort to uncover them.

Pairing mantra with breath is a tool for discovery. First, the experience quickly brings you into the present moment where you can you observe emotions, thoughts, and actions in a judgment-free way.

Second, the mantra is a guide, directing your mind to containers that are in need of exploration. Applying the mantra to specifics areas of your life, relationships, events, or goals will connect the mantra to your intentions. This is where the discoveries happen, the insights occur, and the ideas spark.

Whether you call it meditation, quiet contemplation, or prayer, the work takes place inside your Self.

Mantra artwork portrays the work of meditation

My paintings depict the work that is necessary to truly search your own heart and dig deep inside yourself for answers.

For this reason, the mantras in my artwork are found inside the layers - between textures and paints - rarely visible at the surface. The process is seldom straightforward and it's always messy, yet it's beautiful and worthwhile.

I want my work to be a reminder of the process of meditation – the joys and sorrows – that come with a deep understanding. The painting itself serves as a visual cue to say the mantra to yourself while taking a breath, returning to the present moment, and finding a sense of calm. No motivational poster or affirmation slogan has ever done that.

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