Found in ikebana are many positions, and inside of the position you unfold the design. Living Art, as it is referred to in Japan, is combined in my work to highlight the illuminations reflected in Buddhism. Early Buddhists used floral decorations to symbolize the idealized beauty of paradise, much like The Lotus Sutra, regarded by many as a religious classic of great beauty and power, one of the most important and popular works in the Mahāyāna tradition. The same attributes were preserved in Rikka - the first ikebana style - which aimed not so much at revealing the beauty of flowers as at using flowers to embody the concept of the cosmos. In a sense, my work with mycelium and botanical palettes, foraging for my materials, circles me back to myself and gives me a greater sense of relatedness. We are nature. We forget that sometimes. We each embody a vital landscape, a universe of complicated ecosystems where symbiotic relationships exists as allies to all kingdoms of the natural world. We are at the frontier of climate change. I am an artist of solution. Shared wisdom teaches us about the blurred lines between art and life. I believe spiritually and socially engaged artists have the power to change the world for good.
Today, through the use of plant medicine, plant-based materials, and the fungi kingdom, we have the opportunity to turn the page to a brighter future. The fungi kingdom hosts some of the oldest friends of humanity. Fungi are fundamental in the production of bread, beer, cheese, sauces, pigments, antibiotics, industrial enzymes, vitamins, and other human essentials. When speaking about their significant importance, one should consider that more than 95% of known plants rely on symbiotic relationships with fungi, which determines worldwide agricultural yields. In a recent podcast, Merlin Sheldrake, a U.K. biologist, expressed that fungi are also involved in our weather patterns. Industries, plants, and planetary ecosystems depend on healthy fungal networks. Fungi also live in our own guts, skin, and hair, contributing to our health and moods. Sheldrake found we even share 50% of our DNA with fungi.
My work acts as a reinvention of possibilities to turn our gaze to the natural world for solutions. Inspiring others to use healthier materials for a healthier world is at the epicenter of my work. I am a recipient of the Fantastic Fungi Global Summit Scholarship, Voices From The Underground, which informed my work to the point that I cannot imagine my introduction to mycelium without it. Experiencing living matter for the first time in 2021 was a beautiful expansion on what is possible as a creator. Without the scholarship material and its many participating authors shared insights (such as artists, scientists, and anthropologists: Jack Kornfield, Michael Pollan, Rob Garza, Tiokasin Ghosthorse, Paul Stamets, Andrew Weil, Deepak Chopra, and Merlin Sheldrake), I wouldn't have been able to grasp the importance of mycelium as deeply. This is not something you learn from holding a bag of mycelium. Only by working closely with this living material are we able to realize the amazing possibilities for solutions to our climate crisis. I create paintings which I call 'recipes.' My work is organic painting and processing of color recipes from the Middle Ages. I use any type of organic material, such as fruits, flowers, mushrooms, coffee, carrots, green tea, pomegranate, dragon fruit, blueberries, Fall leaves and mycelium on watercolor paper made entirely from post-consumer waste. My paintings clean the air because they are after all plant-based materials.
I am an artist trying to find a common language to communicate with. I am neither American, European or any other nationality but simply an artist raising awareness about our environmental causes and new ways to create sustainably. I am simply a human trying to understand how nature and I coexist and to discover ways of creating with the best mutual outcome that serves humanity. I believe in the common decency of all the people who populate our individual countries. I respect and affirm all cultural uniqueness in visual art, performing art, music, and literature and celebrate our diversity of viewpoints. I do not hate, and I do not seek to encourage xenophobia in any nation. I want to understand our differences and seek to find common ground because the ground is where it all begins. In our soil and land we can seed a solution together.