Netherlands-born American Oral Surgeon, Sculpter, Artist, Teacher, Author
The point of practicing an art is less to discover who you are than to become your truth, to be able to shed all sham, imposture and bluff in relation to yourself and others. True art is not an indulgence of the little self, but a manifestation of the Self.
[Zen] is not a kind of “self-actualization,” an expansion of the limited, isolated Me, of the empirical ego. Neither is it a regression, a return into that vegetative ooze of Oneness, before we became aware of our differentiation as separate egos. On the contrary, the Zen experience is the overcoming of the hallucination that the Me is the valid center of observation of the universe. It is a momentary, radical turnabout, a direct perception of and insight into the presence, into the transiency, the finitude that I share with all beings.
When drawing a face, any face, it is as if curtain after curtain, mask after mask, falls away, until a final mask remains, one that can no longer be removed, reduced. By the time the drawing is finished, I know a great deal about that face, for no face can hide itself for long. But although noting escapes the eye, all is forgiven beforehand. The eye does not judge, moralize, criticize. It accept the masks in gratitude as it does the long bamboos being long, the goldenrod being yellow.
It is in order to really see, to see ever deeper, ever more intensely, hence to be fully aware and alive, that I draw what the Chinese call 'The Ten Thousand Things' around me. Drawing is the discipline by which I constantly rediscover the world. I have learned that what I have not drawn, I have never really seen, and that when I start drawing an ordinary thing, I realize how extraordinary it is, sheer miracle.