I began meditating because I had heard from friends about the ways in which meditation had improved their wellbeing and ability to control their thoughts. What really convinced me was Sam Harris on his “Waking Up" podcast. He so vividly describes the ways in which meditation is a tool to improve oneself and take control of emotional responses - something I struggled with often in my youth.
So I began sitting in silence. The one thing that became abundantly clear is that I have absolutely no control over my own thoughts. When in silence, it is much easier to notice the loudness of the brain. Without provocation thoughts arise again and again. Quieting my mind was much harder than quieting my surroundings. In this piece I wanted to capture this feeling, that silence however calming isn’t truly silent without active practice.
As a music lover I thought of John Cage’s famous 4’33” for piano as inspiration. The symphony becomes the sound of silence in the room. The Human breath, shuffling of feet, and white noise is itself music in this piece. The brilliance comes from the attention drawn from an expected outward experience into an internal one, living with one’s own thoughts.
Lastly I read the book Quiet by Susan Cain, a fascinating read about introversion and the advantages that come with that quality. Naturally, I am introverted but I have always been trying to push myself to become a better speaker and more gifted conversationalist. This book gave me insight to the power of being a good listener and using the gift of being present, serious, and introspective has helped me overcome many of the unwanted traits that come with introversion. The power of quiet and silence has given me strength in life and it was important for me to pay homage to this topic.
With all this in mind I combined my loves of expressive typography and printmaking to create over 100 unique prints. I represented the loudness of silence with busy compositions and patterns. Pushing and pulling on the legibility of the typography itself reflected the feeling of meditation as thoughts arise and drift away with focus on breath. I chose the cool and calm color scheme to reflect the feeling of true quietness and stillness. The coolness reminded me of winters spent in Rye NH, notoriously a summer surfing town, everything shuts down in the winter and even the ocean becomes quiet. During my making process I also created a meditative space for myself by refusing to indulge in conversation and focusing my energy entirely on experimenting with mono-print processes.