Works of art are often like maps to the consciousness of the artist who created them. They are like open passages into an artist’s visions, invitations into their emotions, peeks into their dreams. Into a single painting, or photograph, or sculpture, or song, or dance, an artist breathes their very being.
It is perhaps this interconnectedness of life with art that decorates the core of what makes a true artist. The two become inseparable, and the artist is left feeling as if their very existence is synonymous with the making of their art. One cannot exist without the other. To the artistic personality, making art then becomes as vital as breathing, and it often occurs just as automatically.
After dawn, biking through quiet, country roads in Zurich we find my Swiss friend Karmym (Markus Meier); a painter and yogi whose long bicycle rides, automatically fill him with artistic inspiration. As he pedals his way to work, (surely making the planet smile), visions of new paintings appear before him, as effortlessly as inhaling and exhaling.
This marriage of breath with artistic expression inevitably shapes the life of a genuine artist. An artist breathes in their own perceptions and experiences of the world, twirls them in the gestation of their very being, and then breathes them out as art. It is a rather sensual, organic process.
“The creation process of an art piece is like a birth, you need lot of patience but it is a fantastic metamorphosis.”
Inject awareness into this process and you have a lifestyle that recognizes the dynamic relationship between ourselves, and everything surrounding us. Some might call this yoga.
“My yoga practice is indivisible from my artistic work. I feature actual yoga asanas in nearly half my paintings. But I try to integrate the yoga spirit into all my art. Yoga is experiencing the unity of body, mind and spirit. It is a way of living.”
Karmym wove yoga and meditation into his life as early as his childhood, picking up a book he found in his family home. His sensitive nature drew him into a contemplative life, and practicing being fully present. Later, Karmym found that his ability to embrace the now served his creative process changing the relationship he had with his own artwork. The judging vanished. The impatience evaporated. Deadlines became inconsequential. Meditation had brought him deeper into his self: the source of his creations. Suddenly the results proved more satisfying.
“The artistic and the contemplative work support each other. I see life itself as a work of art; every moment is an inspiration! My inner travels facilitate the observation and processing of life. They are part of the artistic process that challenges and satisfies me. This is the part of any work of art that makes it unique.”
There is a distinct peace that overcomes any artist when they are satisfied with one of their creations. Karmym connects this sense of peace to an ability to offer oneself uninhibitedly from one’s core. To create from the core, one needs to first access one’s core. Karmym engages his meditative practice of being a calm witness to his mind and emotions as a means to connect with his core. He values being attentive to his own being as what cultivates this sense of peace. It is a peace he wishes to extend unto others through his art.
“I make the meditation process one of the main themes in my paintings because I hope to encourage my audiences to find peace by coming to know their own self better. Peace is transforming sadness to joy. When we learn to be at peace with ourselves we can live in peace with our neighbors as well.”
Karmym spent years traveling from Cuba to Egypt, South Africa to India, exploring people’s sense of peace around the world. His artistic vision came to paint humanity together into a single unit, noticing those things that connected us all, instead of those which divided us. He brings the peace teachings of many people and cultures back to his canvasses, making his visionary paintings vibrant reflections of his own life’s explorations: both inner and outer. And no journey is ever a stagnant one!
“Painting is a lot like travelling: you have your style how you like to travel, how you see things, how you enjoy the day. Then you learn something new and your style of travelling changes.”
An artist’s work will certainly reflect where they have been and what has touched them along the way. In Karmym’s art we see the influence of eastern philosophy and the use of its sacred geometry. “These are basic geometric blueprints we can find in nature, on or in our bodies and were often used as symbols in earlier cultures.” Influences, he tells me, that connect him with the potential of his own consciousness: a joyful state beyond boredom and rich with imagination. It’s a state that breathes peace. Karmym’s art thus aims to create a place in which we are all harmoniously connected.
“I don’t practice a religion but I came to the conclusion that everything and everybody is interconnected within a world or even universal soul.”
Perhaps what stands out the most in Karmym’s art is his wild usage of colors. For this he draws heavily from the seven energy centers, or chakras, in our bodies. He engages chakra colors and their combinations with a conscious effort to uplift the mood of those who view his paintings: “In our cultures and personal perception every color has a psychological effect. I try to use the colors to make a story in the static image and I to bring motion into the picture.” The original result is one you can judge for yourself!
I see excitement in Karmym’s work. His art is festive and alive to me. I experience it as a celebration of life and love. Although the love Karmym splashes onto his artwork is an expansive universal love, it reflects his own personal experience of love within his marriage and with his children. His generous hearted wife and two sons have colored his canvasses with their own support of his work.
Through his family, Karmym tells me he has discovered a deeper part of unconditional love than he ever imagined. His art is often the return of this love, and the messages he infuses into his art are ones he leaves not only his children but also all other souls on the planet.
“I hope to communicate that there is an intangible prosperity inside of everyone, we just have to dig it up. There is so much energy in us when we allow it to flow, when we do something healthy that fits to us: to be happy with that what is present, and be able to mine our inner treasury.”
Karmym’s inner treasury definitely shines through in his beautiful artwork. A testament to the fact that the mixture of yoga with art is a delicious one indeed! And as Karmym says, may his images “help to open the viewer’s inner eyes for a greater view of reality.”