gouache/acrylic on canvas, 24x36”
I can recall two quarter-lifed men sought the artist, myself, at its initial showing in order to inform me that “balling” was not current enough slang and that I should really rename the piece.
I can remember feeling myself grinning up their faces. “Thank you gentlemen,” I can feel the words floating out of my mouth in remembering, “You have definitely brought His Holiness down here to Earth as needed, in our time and space.” And amongst some brow-furrowed scoffing responses their asking became my invited opportunity to explain myself as I’ve rarely done since, especially regarding this painting.
I take for granted that most people like it because they like it and somewhere within they “get it” without realizing they’re “getting” anything. Sometimes I like when I get to speak for my art although ultimately we creative types like to “leave it to speak for itself” as we all hear about so damn often.
Paraphrasing and surely elaborating from my statement to these aforementioned two guys, I had began having dilemmas considering certain philosophies of the Buddha’s teachings on a practical level applicable to all peoples of circumstance. I considered that in the American culture that I’ve grown up in that the image of the Buddha had grown in association with yoga culture that in turn was factionally embraces by upper middle class white women, undeniably. I considered that surely it is easier is some ways to apply certain Buddhist teachings about changing your mindset in order to better your life when you have modern comfort, but surely the idea of one’s own suffering being of sole mental self responsibility is not fair, at the very least, to say millions of children through the continent of Africa suffering in disease or famine or to battered child brides of certain corrupt Arab nations. I wanted to take symbols familiar to me in association with the Buddha and transmute them into perceivable trappings of materialism in attempt to associate the a surprisingly strong practicality of the Buddha’s teachings to the American middle class in hopes that possible reflection upon this contemporary “bringing him down to Earth” may juxtapose the other applications. I turned the Wheel of the Buddha into a Pirelli tire and I place the Om symbol as a charm on a chain. I put large plugs in the Buddha’s commonly depicted enlarged earlobes, adorning him in a modern fashion trend- one adopted from various ancient yet enduring tribal practices that is often a decently expensive hobby as well.
A friend and neighbor of mine recently pointed out to me that Ballin Buddha is perhaps my most superficial painting when viewed amongst my others which is strange as it’s a depiction of a recognizable religious figure. Delighted, I was again given the opportunity to elaborate my intention once again. So now I’ve been compelled to put Ballin Buddha and the story of how he came to me into the ether of the internet now. Even though I’m honestly pretty sure these kind of darkish revelations are the type to really demotivate print sales etc.
Thanks for hearing me out.
Contemporary Art Week!
Leo and Diane Dillon
Leo and Diane Dillon were one of the greatest illustration teams in the history of Fantasy Art. Books that have used their illustrations for cover or inside art include an edition of the Narnia books, Garth Nix’s Sabriel, Lirael and Abhorsen, Her Stories and The Girl Who Spun Gold by Virginia Hamilton, The Earthsea Trilogy by Ursula K. LeGuin, Aida by Leontyne Price, The Girl Who Dreamed Only Geese by Howard A. Norman, and many, many more.
There is a blog dedicated to archiving their work here.