pepper Kocsis ,
let me share my insides with you
I earned my BFA in Painting from the Oregon College of Arts and Crafts in 2017. While a senior, I had the incredible fortune to begin interning as an assistant to a Master Restorer/Conservator of antique Tibetan Paintings (Thangkas). I continue to train in Buddhism and restoration which influences my own painting practice. Lately, the kapala, a common symbol in Thangkas, has entered my work. A kapala is a skull cup used in tantric rituals, imagined to be filled with your own body and defilements transformed into an offering of light and joy given to all beings. In my paintings, the kapala contains bloody soup shared among friends or devoured by my inner guru disguised as a crocodile, the self eating the self. I often dream of Chogyam Trungpa (a Tibetan buddhist teacher) as a crocodile and see the reptile as a psychedelic deliverer of transcendental wisdom cutting through narrow mindedness.
In, The Shaman Inside The Lady Inside The Boyfriend Offers Me A Pomegranate Kapala, the kapala is disguised as a pomegranate offered to a bony white hand. The figures, myself as a mythic donkey and my boyfriend as a many eyed lady are not what we seem, just as the profound and sacred are hidden in plain sight. I paint masks and costumes as metaphors for the spiritual path because sometimes a mask can be more revealing than nakedness. Our ordinary selves are the illusion. We are not what just as we appear, we are fathomless. In order to know our true self, the divinity, the deity, we recognize us first by our adornments: Love, creativity, wisdom. The endless expanse of night sky is known by its glittering jewelry of stars and galaxies, which give reference to that which is incomprehensible. The costume dawned by the shaman at the time of ritual, and the bedazzled regalia worn by the raver while dancing, act as doorways to the sublime trance of creativity, the pulsing euphoria of the interconnected expression of everything, so that that which is unseen, and intangible can be felt and experienced. It is from within this state I strive to paint. Painting as prayer, as trance, as guru yoga.
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