March 22, 2016 Repository 190: Art and Mindfulness | Enrique Martinez Celaya Posted In: art practice, bon mots, contemporary art, perspective, philosophy


When I had a studio at the Headlands Center for the Arts, an artist friend down the hall recommended I look up the work of Enrique Martinez Celaya – he saw my work as simpatico. That was almost 10 years ago, and over the years I’ve been following to a degree what this artist is up to. Indeed there are many similarities to our practices – we both come from an entirely different left brain focus at school (he physics I math), we both write in parallel to our work, we both pull the domestic in with the universal and fantastic, and we both are raising a family while practicing art (he to a much larger degree than I with many more resources and representation).

His most recent book, and I have to preface it’s not exactly a book but a collection of salient points, is called “On Art and Mindfulness”. Over the course of nine years while teaching workshops at the Anderson Ranch in Colorado his student collected his most pithy remarks, and he has categorized them under chapter headings such as “Art as Experience”, “Dangers and Fears” and “Beyond the Studio”. Many of the ideas are transferable to other disciplines, and are not meant only for the maker – many non-artists would appreciate the guidance on the right way to work. Below are a few of my favorite snippets:


The moment we start thinking we know what kind of work we are doing, we are giving up the responsibility for the inquiry. This responsibility demands that each day we find again what the work is and what it means to us.


Freedom, doing what we want, and responding to our whims are what we consider our birthright as artists, but we are always serving something or someone. Do not let that service be a mystery. Make it a choice.


There is no comfortable foundation for an artist to stand on. Do not look for it, and if you find it, get off it.


Thank you Mr. Celaya for the words of wisdom!

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