When asked if he would like to be involved with an interview for The Organic Mechanic, Chris Flisher was definitely excited to contribute his thoughts on the planet and how a green lifestyle is achieved. Chris does not believe in further consumerism of green related products or even joining of specific organizations to ensure the survival of our planet but rather a respect for ourselves and each other as a way to begin the mission. His work is a direct reflection of his love for what he does and how not only the Earth but the entire Universe is a part of it.
I am a mandala artist and an astrologer. Mandalas are an ancient art form that evolved from Hinduism and eventually became part of the Buddhist tradition. Astrology is the study of the planets in our solar system and how they affect us on earth. I work within both mediums because I see such amazing synergy between the two. The universe is an enormous circular container that is constantly expanding and driven by cyclical events. The inspiration for my artwork comes directly from my love of astrology. Astrology uses circles and cycles to represent the changing universe. As the planets drift through the cosmos; as the seasons change; as the days come and go; the universe evolves and expands in a timeless swirl of circular motion. As above, so below. The very essence of the circle is at the core of our DNA and the patterns of nature, time, and space.
What is the inspiration behind the creation of your mandalas?
The drawings evolve from my subconscious and are created in a stream of consciousness involving concentration and meditation. All designs, patterns, and symbols are original and one of a kind. The swirl of color, textures, and spiritual symbolism are all part of the process. Although these are not typical mandalas, they evolve from the same spiritual center and are offered to the universe for the collective good of all.
Specifically I draw on a wide variety spiritual beliefs. I am a pantheist which means I am open to all possibilities and thoughts. I do not restrict myself to any one dogmatic belief nor do I reject any possibility. Ultimately, I believe in oneness; a concept which casts aside borders and boundaries. In that circle I blend cross-cultural symbols and themes in an effort to illustrate the potential of coexistence. I believe that the circular form of the mandala is an ideal artistic representation of boundless possibility. The circle is a warm, enveloping, maternal form much like womb. I often joke that my mandalas are a “womb with a view.”
Is each image a custom design? If so, why?
Each image is completely unique. I may use recurring symbols in an effort to make a point. How I use them and where I use them always varies. I work on the art without specific direction and I let the creative process evolve as I move forward. During the course of creating I often come up with a title which serves a number of purposes. The title is either a very reverent bow to a philosophy or religious tenet, or I often use language in an attempt to draw attention to new concepts and ideas. I try and play with words in an effort to inject humor and simplicity to complex ideas. This brings these concepts within the reach of a much wider audience with much broader appeal. Humor and irreverence are great for unifying people on a very basic level. I am never irreverent to be disrespectful, but rather, to help to enlighten and make these ideas more accessible. For example, as you may know, the word “OM” is a very powerful meditation chant. I have a mandala that I titled “Om Sweet Om,” not to be irreverent, but to introduce humor as a means to engage people which, in turn, enlightens them.
Astrology uses circles and cycles, aspects and angles to interpret the events and challenges we all face. It is an art and a science. The science part is provided by the exactitude of the planets and their placement in the astrology chart. All degrees and angles are scientific. However, the art of astrology comes from the interpretation. Much like medicine, astrology is a combination of fact and interpretation. How the angles, transits, and relationships of the moving planets impact us is understood by the wisdom of the astrologer. It is the cycle of continuous change and expansion that fascinates me. Astrology is foundational in my view of my art and evolution in general.
What is the creative process behind your custom drawings?
I create custom mandalas for people based on their astrology chart. Each person’s chart is as unique as the fingerprint. Using the birth data which is comprised of birth date, time, and place, I construct an astrology chart which I then use to create a custom mandala based on the unique characteristics of the individual. I call this process “astro-mandalogy.”
What inspires you?
Evolution inspires me. Progress and expansion on an intellectual and spiritual level are very motivating for me. I firmly believe that we owe it to ourselves to live up to our fullest potential and expand our minds in ways in which they have never been before.
The circle is important because it has no hard edges or angles to it. It is a warm enveloping form that nurtures and protects. It is a universal form that exists physically and metaphorically in every aspect of life; from the planet to the universe; to the circle of family, friends and community.
Is your work a constant reminder of the Earth due to the shape and nature of what you create?
Absolutely. The two are completely connected; physically and metaphorically.
When thinking about our planet, how are you inspired to take care of it and how does your work relate?
I am inspired by raising people’s consciousness to a point where they begin to see that we have far more in common than not. We can save ourselves and our planet ultimately. We have been messing up our home and we need not.
Do you use sustainable, renewable or environmentally friendly materials to create your mandalas (for example, water based paint, recycled paper/canvas, etc)?
Yes I do, whenever possible. I use water colors and recycled high-density papers from recycled materials.
What does the Green Movement mean to you?
It is the future of all that we are. Without recognition to it and forward motion towards embracing it, we are doomed.
Has any one green practice become second nature, something you personally do every day?
Respect for others. Respect for the planet and tolerance for all people.
What green practice do you recommend readers try? Is there an eco-friendly product you use in your home that you would recommend?
The term “green” can imply many concepts. I think being green starts at the personal level with regard to relationships to others. That product is called “Tolerance.”
As an independent artist what is your greatest challenge?
My greatest challenge is raising awareness of my art and mission. The message and mission are very solid and worthy since they involve the forward movement of humanity. However, I am bound by limited resources and exposure.
What is your advice to a fellow artisan who is new to their industry?
Be true to your vision and purpose. Always follow your intuition. Beware of glitter.
Do you have an online presence where your work can be viewed?
All my work is on-line at www.chrisflishermandalas.com or at www.chrisflisher.com. You can contact me at email@example.com or call my studio at 978-264-0668. I can also be reached at 508-517-0969. I frequently display at local galleries and events. You can sign-up for a monthly newsletter at my website which announces the events. I am available at any time to speak with people regarding my work and I am available for astrology readings any time, at any place. All my fees and availability are found on my websites. My studio in Boxborough [MA] is open most weekends or with an advance call to me.