In my dealings with painters I have learned that there is one vital difference in the expression of mainstream and spiritually oriented art: “normal” art wants to leave interpretation up to the viewer — and the artist sometimes even plays diva, questioning the viewer’s ability to think for himself when he is being asked to explain ‘the meaning?’
Spiritual oriented art always has a clear, unapologetic goal. This doesn’t mean that one is better than the other: art always has the ability to influence society by giving new perspectives; it influences the mind. Art per se is therefore always something that is spiritual.
Maybe we can agree on the notion that art is the most accessible for people when it is done by artists who understand the intention of their works.
I talked to Anastasia Simrit Kaur (26), a young, upcoming Russian-American painter, who has already gained the attention of the spiritual community in L.A.
DANA HEIDNER-KRUEGER: What are you aiming to express with your art?
ANASTASIA SIMRIT KAUR: My goal with all my art is to bring a healing energy to the space it is in; each piece has a name that specifies its extra function: some pieces are meant to evoke meditation, some to evoke relaxation, some to inspire creativity and passion, some to evoke prosperity.
I really aim to convey a positive emotion. I hope that when looking at the art I’ve made people feel something good, that they enjoy what they see and that it evokes pleasant memories in them. All of the art I make is created in a meditative state, so much so that when a painting is done, I’m not sure how it happened, but there it is!
DANA HEIDNER-KRUEGER: Who influenced your style?
ANASTASIA SIMRIT KAUR: Where to start… I think I have to give my mom the most credit because she exposed me to all the influences I’ve had. First of all, she herself is an artist and watching her create art via interior design was very cool.
She also collected vintage costumes and accessories. She had hats and shoes from the Victorian era and she let me play with them and examine the textures and designs and embroidery. She was also good friend with many contemporary Russian artists. Being in the very creative environment basically from birth influenced me probably even on a sub conscious level.
One of my earliest memories of art was in Russia when I was very young. My mom had a spray can of pink paint and she put up wall paper on the hallway walls and would invite guests to spray paint anything they wanted. The guests were always so shocked and intrigued because it was such an out of the ordinary thing and ‘against the rules.’ Who graffitis their own hallway? But I could see the joy in their faces when they drew a flower or wrote their name on the wall.
Other artists that have influenced or impressed me to name a few are Van Gogh, the Russian artists at the turn of the last century in the avant-garde style -Vorobyev, Ginadiyev, Lyukshin, Chagall — to name a few. Also the Graffiti artists of Los Angeles, meditation, yoga, dance, world music, various ancient cultures — I think if I had to write down all my influences I could have a novel!
DANA HEIDNER-KRUEGER: Are there life concepts you resonate with?
ANASTASIA SIMRIT KAUR: I really resonate with Zen and the concepts of Tao; Taoism is the philosophy of paradox, the
first line of the Tao Te Ching (on which Taoism is based) is: ‘Truth that can be known is not truth,’ or in other translations:
‘Tao that can be known is not Tao’. Further exploration of the Tao Te Ching reveals constant paradox. For me, these concepts compliment the concepts of Quantum Mechanics, where at the very atomic structure of things, we are here and not here at the same time. It’s kind of mind blowing and fills me with a sense of freedom.
My mother introduced me to Kundalini yoga and meditation when I was about 14; now I teach Kundalini and meditation; and I teach pre-natal Kundalini yoga. I also teach and perform belly dance which is a deeply spiritual, women positive, healing dance for me.
DANA HEIDNER-KRUEGER: Do you have a motto you live by?
ANASTASIA SIMRIT KAUR: A quote by Mark Chagall sums up my life motto perfectly: “In our life there is a single color, as on an artist’s palette, which provides the meaning of life and art. It is the color of love.”
A selection of Simrit’s work is currently on display at the Whole Foods on Santa Monica and Fairfax, throughout July 2011.