Our names express the idea of this book.
It’s an exploration of Tibetan Buddhist art influenced by the West and of American art influenced by Tibetan Buddhism. We come together in a blending of cultures with creating Buddhist art at the core. We are both interested in making the Buddhas in a contemporary way and by doing so, making them more accessible to our world and times.
Karma and I studied traditional Tibetan thangka painting, but from very different backgrounds. Karma lived under and eventually fled, the Communist occupation of Tibet and speaks from his experience and culture. I grew up in a zoo, where my father was the director, with my eight brothers and sisters. I was drawn to thangka art at an early age and felt a strong connection upon viewing my first thangka.
Seeing Karma’s contemporary thangkas pregnant with his personal journey inspired me to paint in a way more directly reflective of my life and culture. I was profoundly moved by Karma’s painting Invocation of Buddha. That painting, included in this show, changed my life and artwork. It blew my mind, in merging the freshness, the depth, and the adherence to traditional thigse for the Buddhas while exploding with colors and feeling new to the art form.
I reached out to Karma some years later to thank him and to say what a positive and beneficial impact he had on my work. He was so gracious and friendly. We became friends and have held workshops together to teach contemporary Buddhist painting.
Here are some of our favorite paintings and woodblocks.
Author: Faith Stone
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