How Yoga Influenced My Art: An Artists’ Contribution to Yoga - ilāSTRATE™

How Yoga Influenced My Art: An Artists’ Contribution to Yoga


By ilaStrate Founder, Lauren Vacey. Photo by Wild Ginger Images

After working in the grueling world of commercial art for nearly 15 years, in the 9-5 grind (or shall I say 9-?) I needed an out. Yoga became that release, and it was here that I escaped into a world all my own. My mind filled with ideas and creations that I could never realize because I was too busy fulfilling other artists’ creative passions.

              It turns out, I could not create art that did not have a purpose – as much of the commercial and decorative art we spec’d was just beautiful – but purposely without meaning. To put art with meaning into a hospitality setting, in a hospital room where a cancer patient may be receiving treatment would likely conjure a negative thought and emotion. Our specific clientele required that we mostly deal in non-subjective imagery. Being who I am and the artist that I had become, I found it impossible to contribute a non-subjective piece of art.

My creations went unfinished, set aside, and ignored for over a decade. I turned my creative abilities toward installation and presentation, creating wall layouts and interesting 3-dimensional showcases for the art that was spec’d. I designed and installed elaborate layered wall compositions and company history walls, fine art arrangements and worked along with artists to create dramatized sculptural works. But they were never my own. I could not claim any part of the work as mine – since I worked for the company and artists providing the imagery and artwork.

I became frustrated with my life, resentful and most of all, overworked with no purpose.

              As my yoga practice developed, and I became aware of the challenges in shopping for a yoga mat, my art found life again. As an artist I naturally wanted something unique, something that was inspiring and ME - and also non-toxic. I could not find anything like that on the market at that time. And so I set out to create it. I got some negative feedback from a colleague who suggested that the moment I got it off the ground, I’d be out-done by larger companies – boy was he right! But I have not given up – I know that my art, my philosophy and my ideas are unique and ahead of the curve.

              As my research continued, and my practice progressed, so did my art. I became influenced by traditional yoga symbology, mindfulness studies, connections and important relationships to spirituality and non-duality, chakras/colors and color theory as well as energy influences on the mind/body/spirit.

I would begin to create art founded in inspiration – root word: inspire; from the latin: respirare – literal translation: “inhale”; “to breathe life into”. That is the life my work has found, breathing life into yoga flow.

Since I was young, I could copy and draw with uncanny accuracy – but I love the subjective nature of abstract and suggestive art. I love the movement of the lines and brush strokes across the plane that mimic the movements of life. My fine art has always encompassed this phenomenon – the evocative – the emotive – motion – e-motion; without it, it is not relatable it is not dramatic it is not evoking thought or feeling – in essence, it is dead. My work brings to yoga a mimicry of mind and body in flux.

In the commercial art world we would catch flak from people sometimes trying to make a point that art is not an important expenditure in creating a hospitable space –it is probably the single most important thing in a space for someone who is trying to heal -  the right piece of art in the appropriate setting does not beg to be noticed – it’s mere presence (whether it is noticed or not) sets the tone of the room without the viewer even realizing it. Yoga is a form of healing. It is a repose for the mind to recognize and remember the body; the use of art supports the practice; If it’s personalized, all the better.

When I create art for ilāStrate yoga mats, the goal is to set the tone – to inspire, without the viewer even realizing it. We are affected by what we see, what we hear, what we touch, even what is inside/in contact with our energy field – our body responds – whether we pay mind to it or not. And THAT is why I create, that is why I keep going, that is why I keep moving and evolving and adapting my work, my business and my brand.

I believe in what ilāStrate is offering to yoga community and lifestyle. I think art is an important and a supportive component in our lives and in our individual yoga practice.

How does art affect your life? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

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