Carly Swenson • Intuitive Artist

2018-2019: mindfulness in repetition

Artist Statement:

I’ve found a love of line and pattern I’d never appreciated before. Mandala designs have always appealed to me. (Since human minds love finding patterns and appreciate symmetry, it’s understandable that this art form has a cross-cultural aesthetic appeal.) However, until recently, I’d always been too intimidated to try creating my own.

In my mind something about them represented perfection. Just the right number of lines, curved in just the right way, spaced equally. The seemed unattainably precise.

I know myself. And both as an artist and as a human in general, perfection, proper angles, measuring distance properly, unifying negative space, and…not running into fairly large stationary objects on multiple occasions are all tasks I struggle with. Because I struggle so much with crisp edges and straight lines, my art style has intentionally evolved into organic and flowing forms, shapes and colors. I knew if I tried drawing mandalas, they’d never be perfect. They’d inevitably be flawed, and therefore, bad.

However, when I did finally take the time to try drawing one as part of a meditative exercise, I found the process beautifully calming. I was right, my drawings were, inevitably flawed, but they weren’t bad. They were beautifully very human. Those small inconsistencies, variations in negative space, and wobbly lines indicate an authenticity of a human touch and emphasize its originality.

Hand-drawn India ink mandalas on paper.

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