Artist Statement

Art, spiritual training, and meditation practice were inseparable since I was a young child in the Dru-gu region of Tibet; there, I spent much of my time mingling my mind with the thankas and spiritual art that surrounded me. I began painting as a hobby from which I derived much inspiration and delight. After coming to India I was trained primarily by H. H. Kamtrul Rinpoche, one of the greatest artists from Tibet. During those first years in India I was very homesick and painted my fond memories of earlier times. I also devoted much effort to recreating, from memory, some of the great thankas, deity paintings, and other artistic treasures that were destroyed in the cultural revolution.

Later I began what might be called Espontaneous paintings. These works come from the craziness of my flowing inner energy‹they manifest as if by themselves. With brush and color I let everything flow and move without effort and without inserting myself. These paintings differ from the traditional works in that they do not originate with a plan or concept. In this process there is no judgement, and no modifications are made. Painting is not an attempt to capture or convey a pre-determined experience, nor to create something to be known as an art piece. Each painting is a unique experience arising from visions, feelings, sensations‹and from the immediate sparkling clarity of mind. As such, painting is a language I speak and a world I explore within myself in every possible spontaneous experience.

Some of my works are created using elements of both the traditional and spontaneous methods. For example, I may plan to paint an iconographic image, or scene or experience from memory, but then I slip off into essence and spontaneity. I like painting deities and other subjects used for visualization practice in a way that keeps them alive, as they appear in my own visualization practice. Here, then, I keep to the traditional, but with freedom from the restrictions of lines and rules. This is a way of combining the historical traditions with the immediate experience. I cannot say this is a new style, but I feel we are in a period where Tibetan artists can generate a new style that may be very useful.

So while my works differ in style and technique, more important is what they have in common: the Buddha's vision expressed in the tantric teachings that everything is living light energy, a living universe of all the fantastic wonders of the mind. One can develop this vast space of clarity, love and awareness, full of the kind of energies that we experience in everyday moments and especially in the sourceless and unending plane of mental energy that manifests through movement and forms.

It is my strong wish that all those who share concern for Tibetans and their unique heritage will put into practice some activities to benefit this goal. We are perhaps the last generation with the resources to transmit this cultural heritage, not as a collection of archived relics, even if the meaning is known; but to preserve and continue its vibrant vital essence for future generations. This is how it has been passed on to us.