© 2019 by G. E. Vogt

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world of ZEN

Most of my collage work is able to be grouped into a few major themes but I rarely attempt to create an actual coherent series of works. Having created the "Just Sit" piece however, I realized this was not only a topic that appealed deeply to me but I had more ideas relating to it than I could fit in one collage piece. Thus, my first true collage series has slowly come into being.

It's difficult to say precisely what inspired it but a large part of it has been the recent change of environment to Southern California. Particularly in San Diego which has one of the higher homeless populations of the United States, there is a fascinating and difficult dichotomy regarding the Zen lifestyle. I have never before experienced a place where the components of what is typically connected with "zen" are so prolific from bodywork to energy paraphernalia to mindfulness work of yoga or meditation. Yet beside the overpriced, high end yoga studio is sleeping a person who lacks the basic necessities of food and shelter. 

This particular series has been incredibly challenging in that the philosophy of zen and the lifestyle which it gives rise to is one that speaks deeply to me personally. However I wanted to explore the point when this lifestyle becomes indulgent at the expense of others who, for various reasons, are unable to afford it - either financially or practically. The more I began to consider what activities are considered "zen" and "self-care" (on a more basic level), the more I began to realize what a privilege it has become in contemporary times and how it is becoming increasingly exclusive. Those who may benefit the most from "getting away from it all," "taking time for themselves," or "feeding their souls," are most often the ones who don't just find it difficult to do so but literally impossible.