Sunday, April 15, 2012

Robert Beer and creation (Doing the work, Part 1)

"Ideas are easy to come by, they spring effortlessly out of the vacuity of the mind and cost nothing. When they are held and projected onto one's self or others they become a project. When the project is enacted it becomes the work, and when the work is completed it appears to be self-existent. Creation is the process of form manifesting from emptiness, where that which arises from the mind comes into existence. Yet the distance between conception and realism may be enormous, as vast as the distance between stars."
Robert Beer

The above prose comes from the introduction from Beer's huge reference book "The Encyclopedia of Tibetan Symbols of Motifs," published in 1999. The result of eight years of research and illustration, this volume explores the major symbols and gestures found in Tibetan Buddhist art. Anyone interested in this stream of religious art would find this book so valuable - one of my tattoo colleagues had a copy when I worked at his studio, and we all turned to it for inspiration. Beer's detailed and descriptive writing is just as intriguing as his line drawings, and his poetic description of creative vision struck me. I recently rediscovered the photocopy I took and stored years ago of this paragraph, and I find it still rings true.

Do the work, and be part of the creative flow, no matter how endless the task seems.

For more on Robert Beer's lifetime of work and Buddhist wisdom, visit his online gallery.

White Tara tattoo by me, Sara of my favourite tattoos I have ever done, and one of a few from the Buddhist pantheon I've gladly been able to tattoo on people.