My art college tutor who had once been a monk introduced me to the basic concept of karma and the ideas of Zen Buddhism. I was raised as an Irish Roman catholic and as I reached adolescence had difficulties with the dogmatic approach of Christianity.
Buddhism was a way to explore the self and what it was to be and individual. To be responsible for ones own thoughts, actions and perhaps how to have a positive effect in the world. As I grew older I deepened my commitment.
For the past 30 years or more I have focused my study on Tibetan Buddhism and have been inspired by the beauty and complexity of Tibetan art particularly ‘Thankas’. These intricate paintings are used as a meditative tool and whilst on retreats at Samye Ling monastery Scotland I was instructed in visualisation practices using the images of deities focusing on aspects and qualities of the mind. This had an insightful effect on my way of seeing and being.
I have now returned to a Zen based practise that I feel is more akin to my understanding of the world that I inhabit, and this has influenced the paintings I make.
My aim is to create secular images for contemplation that are accessible to all faiths or non-faiths, whether they are sited in a church, hospice, workspace or home. With this in mind, I strive to keep the structure simple, relying on the textures of monochromatic paint with a focus on a central icon that I sometimes highlight with gold or palladium leaf.
Studied printmaking at Eastbourne college of Art 1973 -1976
Exhibited 1978-90 at various galleries including the ICA London, The London film Co-op The Bezzial gallery Mayfair, The Crypt gallery London, Watford museum and art gallery.
Began tattooing fulltime 1990. Recognised worldwide as one of the primary innovators of modern European tattooing. After three decades of tattooing has returned to painting full time.
Practiced ‘Karma Kagyu’ Tibetan Buddhism for thirty years.
Recent exhibition of paintings.
2016 : Fleet Gallery Hastings
The Grange Rottingdean .
Thank You. jim MacAirt
All images © 1990-2016 jim MacAirt.