These words originate from a long meditation upon the nature of our being here, inhabiting physical form in a body. The words speak to my belief that we are perfect as we are, as we are living life in our own splendid vessels with a multitude of vessels inside and countless more outside. A smile slips on whenever the words glide off my tongue, like revealing a secret. What vessels do you think of when you hear the phrase?
The art I am making started from early childhood inquiries with art and nature, and continues to weave chords of play through it. As I mature, my palette of interests and pursuits continues to grow with greater curiosity and with a thirst that will not end until I do. After many years of developing a career as an architect, although immensely valuable an experience, I found architecture did not sufficiently house my artistic desire. The art I am interested in making takes root from many elements, cultures and traditions: Tibetan meditation, ancient healing traditions such as Ayurveda, domestic craft, photography, as well as arts traditions of ancient cultures.
A dedicated meditation practice has been the basis of my personal foundation, and in forming art through this experience. The relationship continues to unfold and be enriched with deepening practices of tattwa shudhi, a Tantric meditation of the 5 elements and the Dzogchen 5 elements of the Tibetan tradition. Likewise, my personal inquiries and immersion into ancient healing modalities bring another dimension of creating art that is generated from and reveals these properties.
Taunya Van Der Steen-Mizel
While my education has given me a vast reservoir of information from which to generate design and art, it is not nearly as powerful as my simplest of experiences in nature. While living for many years in a dense urban environment, rich with architecture, people and creative energy, my excursions back to nature in Telluride, Colorado have served to germinate my meditation, memories and dreams, and thereby a growing conscious awareness of the relationship of the bodily senses to the energetic origins of existence. The dynamic push and pull of the urban and rural environments draws this into deep relief for me, and allows for shifts in perspectives and refuge.
I also discovered a new relationship with work through my children. Their school, City & Country, considers children’s play with great regard, calling it their work. It was a revelation to me. Play is work. Work is play. This helped me let loose of many badly tethered relationships to work as struggle, and not worthy or honest unless it is burdensome. Thankfully, my insights continue to grow as my children grow. And I encourage them to find their work that has them playing, with time passing nearly unnoticed.
Themes that I am will continue to cultivate and explore relate back to the experiences created out of our playful interactions with art. Can art tempt you to ‘play’? Yes, yes and yes! It calls on me all of the time, asking me to jump into a new game of thought, of seeing, of sensing, of experiencing, of feeling, of emotions, and of greater consciousness. If it’s causing me to feel pulled, pushed, excited, needing to stop, or to take another look, to throw darts or form new thoughts, well… you get the picture.