Art is a mirror through which the viewer observes himself; the clearer this mirror becomes, the purer expression it is of the artist’s spirit.
The refinement of this personal expression contains a void, a catalyst that beckons the viewer’s attention to create a better reflection of himself, by placing his own meaning into it and complete it as his own work of art. 

In your light, I learn how to love.
In your beauty, how to write poems.
You dance inside my chest,
where no one sees you, but sometimes I do,
and that sight becomes this art. 

Rumi
1207-1273
World beloved Persian Sufi Poet.
A wealthy nobleman, a genius theologian, a jurist
and a brilliant sober scholar.

Visit Facebook for updates, Twitter for arts and culture, Pinterest for a visual feast, and YouTube to meditate through art to soothe your soul.

Become a Witness to Your Thoughts and Feelings

Step out of your mind and become a witness to the stream of your thoughts
and feelings, like walking alongside of a river and watching it flow. 
 Meander within a world of contrasts of Mother Nature;
she has secrets to tell you. 

Let her colors, forms and textures take you to an exclusive virgin
territory to create in abundance: 
The Future!

Make your interests gradually wider and more impersonal, until bit by bit the walls of the ego recede, and your life becomes increasingly merged in the universal life. An individual human existence should be like a river – small at first, narrowly contained within its banks, and rushing passionately past rocks and over waterfalls. Gradually the river grows wider, the banks recede, the waters flow more quietly, and in the end, without any visible break, they become merged in the sea, and painlessly lose their individual being.

Bertrand  Russell
1872 – 1970
A British philosopher, logician, mathematician, historian, writer, social critic, political activist, and Nobel laureate in literature, 1950.
 
 

Pursuing too Many Goals!

I can’t help but being interested in learning and setting new goals to create new things. It is a learning process that each step inspires and motivates me to learn newer and better ways to create and improve my expertise. 

Each completion of a new and challenging task has taught me skills and abilities I couldn’t have discovered had I not endeavored into exploring new territories. The discoveries have inspired me to explore even more. 

By now I have learned sufficiently enough to realize how little I know; a process which has resulted in awakening me to the discovery that my skills and abilities are far beyond the scope of what I have been made to believe about myself; the journey has led me home to my true Self. 

I am humbly grateful for the privilege of personally knowing and experiencing a delightful state of Ecstasy* and bask in the serene realm of  “ignorance,” creating effortlessly with reverence. 

Iran Lawrence

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
*Ecstasy: described further below.

“Our knowledge is a receding
mirage in an expanding
desert of ignorance.”

Will Durant
1885-1981
America’s gentle philosopher

He sought to unify and harmonize the great body of historical knowledge, which had grown voluminous and become fragmented into esoteric specialties, and to vitalize it for contemporary application.

The Journey

I am an Iranian American, a widely published and exhibited artist, and a recipient of University of Delaware Presidential Citation for Outstanding Achievement awarded to alumni who exhibit a great promise in their professional and public service activities.

In 1986, when New York Museum of American Folk Art and 3M Corporation launched a national competition for the Statue of Liberty Centennial Celebration, 28 regional and national judges gathered in New York City to judge 1200 pieces of submitted artworks.  They were judged for originality, overall appearance, design composition, and technical expertise. I was delightfully blessed for becoming an award recipient of that competition. 

I was already trained as an artist under the tutelage of a Japanese teacher when I enrolled in the University of Delaware and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Economics. I later earned a Master of Science degree in Interior Design from Drexel University, followed by a Master of Fine Arts scholarship to Temple University, Tyler School of Art. 

On the hindsight, I now realize that I was on an evolutionary path with a yearning desire to understand life at a deeper level that satisfied my curiosity. I didn’t quite know what was it that I was looking for, but all I knew was that the more I learned, the more interested I became. 

My life was a cornucopia of skills and know-how that were gradually acquired throughout my evolution. I had traveled to many parts of the globe and had become acquainted with many diversified cultures around the world. I was genuinely interested in everything I was doing and enjoying my accomplishments; but there was a persisting void within me, like a longing for something that I could not clearly articulate and know how to satisfy it; but nevertheless a few questions kept me preoccupied regarding good and evil, life and death and the universe with all its phenomena.

Knowing what I know today and looking back through the rear view mirror, I realize now that all along I was looking for a communion with the Source of Creation within Myself! 

At the end of my studies in fine arts, and after 9 years of college, I fortuitously fell in love with philosophy – the love of pursuit of wisdom – a pivotal and serendipitous blessing that drove me to embark upon studying Eastern Spiritual Philosophy, a subject deeply rooted within my Persian heritage, Zen Buddhism and well defined through the disciplines of epistemology, a branch of philosophy that unravels nature, methods, and the boundaries of human knowledge. This was an endeavor that illumined and clarified my entire perspective on life and took me home to my true Self; and as Rumi puts it very eloquently: “…to my beloved, the Source of Creation.”

As a multi-discipline artist, interior designer, educator, and the Art of Self-liberation Consultant, I can now utter with full certainty that my spiritual and intellectual skills and abilities have reached a point of release. A critical point when I became aware of the Source of Creation within myself and my creativity expanded into an exploration of Life itself as an inclusive canvas of art; an art that has matured and ripened for delivery to an exclusive breed and lineage who seek personal fulfillment and clarity beyond the short-lived gratifications of the physical universe – the illusive quest of most people that is much like drinking saltwater for satiating thirst, which only exasperates the desire; a mirage that continues to beckon the unconscious toward a pool of fresh water but delivers only a barren land. 

If we define art as a form of skill and ability that expresses and produces practical, desirable and beautiful results in a given field, then life itself becomes the greatest canvas of art; an art that necessitates the inclusion of a variety of physical, sensual, spiritual, and intellectual skills and abilities to live it masterfully with joy; a state of Ecstasy* often achieved by highly creative people in the arts, sciences and sports and others.  

But here is the caveat: Ecstasy is the destination of a Heart and Soul Cleansing process, where every aspect of one’s life runs through a fine sieve and the self-erected barriers gradually fade away; a threshold that when crossed it  reveals the truth behind the concealed masks in one’s environment, and the veil of mystery over the face of Good and Evil falls off. This is when life begins to reveal its Magic with a gladdened and peaceful heart and soul!       

Soul Cleansing is a spiritual process originated deep within the Eastern Hemisphere with a backbone solidly placed in a certain discipline; an endeavor not much suited for the fainthearted or the dilettante seeker, but for the brave hearts and true seekers who desire a path of a heightened state of being, where one can transcend over his false perceptions and go through a new door in the middle of nowhere to discover and meet his very own best friend: Himself! 

It is a path strewn with many Karmic challenges to overcome and observation of rules that although not enforceable, but when broken, life becomes mysteriously punishing and at times even brutal; however, handsomely rewarding when diligently observed with integrity and the rules courageously applied.

Becoming an Art of Self-liberation Guru branched naturally as a complementary dimension to my creative work; a consultation service designed to help awaken one’s Innate Creative Forces and Abilities by hacking the roots of his/her perceived barriers to recreate life as an unfolding new work of art. 

The title Guru was given to me by those who I have helped to experience a new magic in their lives. One of the rewards of such consultations is when a new client says: I wish I had met you long time ago.

We cannot arrive at the presence of Truth before we discover and become fully acquainted with the true essence of our own being; the Spiritual Essence, the inner magic, the Source of Creation that is mysteriously trapped by the false perceptions and the foisted conditioning of the Physical Universe, desperately longing to be released.

The distilled summary of what I have said here is deeply buried within the quote below from Rumi for only the brightest minds to perceive and pursue.

With love and bliss,
Iran Lawrence

*Ecstasy: defined below.

“You are the unconditioned spirit trapped in the conditions,
like the sun in the eclipse.” – Rumi 

 An Homage to Rumi

Longing for Thee

Yearning for the seclusion in my soul,
I sought a moment of solitude in my being.
The anguish of thy void unsettled my peace.
Verily endeavored to deceive myself,
weariness cloaked me from toe to brow.
I succumbed and fell under a willow tree.
Oh, the soothing shade…
The splendid grass…
The heavenly breeze…
The thought of thee…
Dancing ethereal dreams in my mind…
Drifting me into a trance…
There…
I began to walk with thee…
Indulging in the wine of thy grace…
And then…
The ruckus of songbirds awakened me…
My drunken eyes scarcely opened…
And found thee lying beside me…
Holding a lotus in thy hand – for me…
Oh, how I long for thee…

Iran Lawrence

My spiritual quest…

The Morning Dew

At every dawn I fervently seek 

the fragrance of the only rose.

Bathed in the morning dew, it lures 

and beckons me to satiate my thirst.

I hesitate eagerly, and it beckons me more.

I approach cautiously and only wet my lips,

I become intoxicated more than I can bear.

I heedlessly fall into having more,

the thorns lacerate me from head to toe.

I stumble back to my solitude,

licking my wounds, to make me whole.

I become intoxicated even more.

I comb for sanity and vow to repent.

On my knees, I earnestly pray for

more and more.

 

            Iran Lawrence  

What is Ecstasy!

Origin of the word ecstasy in Greek is a trance-like spiritual displacement, being outside and exist in a different and more orderly reality; an elevated state of  spiritual bliss and delight.

Ecstasy is a measurable sensation of freedom and a palpable, consciously liberated detachment from all but a single overpowering desire with the certainty that one is competently in command of his creations, with confidence, knowing that he will be witnessing his intended next act of creation.

This is a state often experienced – but not exclusively – by highly creative people in the arts, sciences and sports and others; a state much imbued with courage, commitment and the willingness to take chances, make mistakes and be wrong; a state that once attained, the fruits of its rewards become profoundly soothing, satisfying, meaningful and self-perpetuating.  

Ecstasy is a state, where high level of skills and challenges come together with immediate feedback. It is a supernatural state of being highly focused with clarity; a state where time stands still, self-consciousness disappears and competence effortlessly and spontaneously merges with action under full awareness; a state that overshadows all other concerns.

Ecstasy is a highly addictive state of being. It is a dawning of a peculiar form of consciousness when dormant forces and abilities begin to awaken with a well concentrated awareness. It’s an endearing path of endeavor, for it requires skills and preparedness. It is reached unexpectedly in many ways during one’s quest for enlightenment; like suddenly witnessing the blooming of a new rose in the garden of your heart; and once its fragrance is sensed, its sensation of Freedom transcends one beyond any physical pleasures known before.

Ecstasy is a metamorphic state much like the peaks of the tides in the sea of enlightenment, fermenting the grapes of the soul into wine; and once the first peak is reached and deeply experienced, one continues to remain in its proximity and freely choose to move in and out of it at will. This is the time when the ultimate meaning of truth begin to beckon one into communion with the Divine Love. 

Iran Lawrence

 

“From this turquoise blue sea, every vessel is filled to its capacity.” – Rumi

Iran Lawrence

Lotus

On the day when the lotus bloomed, alas, my mind was straying, and I knew it not. My basket was empty and the flower remained unheeded. Only now and again a sadness fell upon me, and I started up from my dream and felt a sweet trace of a strange fragrance in the south wind. That vague sweetness made my heart ache with longing and it seemed to me that is was the eager breath of the summer seeking its completion. I knew not then that it was so near, that it was mine, and that this perfect sweetness had blossomed in the depth of my own heart. 

Rabindranath Tagore
1861-1941
Calcutta, India. 
Nobel Prize Laureate in Literature – 1913.

A Bengali polymath, noted as a poet, short-story writer, song composer, novelist,
playwright, essayist, and painter. Author of Gitanjali – Prayer Offering of Songs.
His poetry was considered by the West as profoundly spiritual and mercurial.
His mesmeric personality and otherworldly dress earned him a prophet-like
reputation in the West. He was highly influential in introducing the best of
Indian culture to the West and vice versa, and he is generally regarded as
the outstanding creative artist of the modern Indian subcontinent.

Dear Lady

 71″ x 71″
Dear Lady is a piece of  America’s artistic heritage, saluting the Statue of Liberty’s Centennial Birthday Celebration. Museum of American Folk Art in New York City had launched a nationwide textile art / quilt competition in honor of the Statue of Liberty Centennial in 1986.

The remarkable skills and talents of numerous artists across America were put to task for a period of one year in creating masterpieces worthy of the symbolic stature of the Statue of Liberty as the best in contemporary design / art and workmanship judged by 28 regional and national judges in New York City.

Dear Lady became a part of The Museum of American Folk Art’s collection to then tour the nation’s best museums and galleries in United States and abroad for three years.

 

A Historical Jubilee

An honorable and noble competition;
a celebratory burst of pride and courage embracing America’s national ideals.

A visual fireworks echoing
with the sound of drums and trumpets, boasting America as
   the Leader of the Free World.  

The Central Medallion

The heaven’s rays emanating from
 the torch is shining over the 13 original
colonies from the torch illuminating the
path to freedom in America as a
destination of hope and optimism.

Pride and Courage

The color white signifying purity and innocence, red for hardiness and valor, and blue for vigilance, perseverance and justice.

Liberty and Justice

The eagle’s claws transformed into the stand of the Liberty Bell in striking position. The arrows symbolizing the wars fought to preserve peace and democracy.

The wreath is an intertwined branch of olive and laurel; a tribute to the
American cultural achievement. The olive branch for peace, goodwill and
victory is derived from the customs
of ancient Greece who waged war not
 for the purpose of occupancy; thus,
it is a symbol of victory,
honor and clemency.

 

Precision and Workmanship

The blue background is one piece of fabric with 50 star cutouts in designated areas to place white fabric under them to reverse applique the blue over white to prevent shadow effect of white over blue.

The rays of Her crown are pieced individually and then appliqued over the blue background. Many stars are then quilted in the blue sky background.

 

Design Continuity and Vocabulary

The overall design is an expression of America’s ideals placed on an interpretation of the flag as the background. 

The 50 stars representing the 50 states are uniformly placed, bordered by a chain of olives and laurel leaves and pleated in white to complete the piece with a homespun flair from the home of the immigrants.

Presidential Citation

Presidential Citation for Outstanding Achievement, Awarded for exhibiting great promise in professional and public service activities. University of Delaware, 1995.

With University of Delaware President Dr. David Roselle.

A proud moment shared with family and friends on stage.

President's House Reception with other award recipients

Inspiration

Creation is complete at the moment it is imagined within the unbound spiritual universe. But when it is attempted to being expressed within the physical universe of boundaries and limitations, we experience unforeseen challenges to overcome.

Several years of contemplation, a few rounds of testing and experimentation, over 5200 pieces of material and 12 months of creation strewn with challenges resulted in this piece, called Inspiration.

O'keeffe II

3′ x 12′
Hand-dyed Cotton Fiber Art Quilt
Set of 3, installed on 3 stretched canvases.

O'Keeffe II

A Corporate Commission.
Installed at a Law Firm
One Liberty Place,
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Kaman

90″ x 100″
Hand-dyed Cotton Fiber Art Quilt.
Installed on a single stretched canvas.
Margate, New Jersey beach house.
Recipient of the Architectural Record’s
Award for Design Excellence.

 

The Winds of Change

38″ x 50″
Hand-dyed Cotton Fiber Art Quilt.
Installed on a stretched canvas within an 8″ cove behind glass.

The Winds of Change

Hand-dyed Cotton Fiber Art Quilt.
Corporate Commission.
Recommended and referred by
Delaware Art Museum.
Jefferson Plaza Lobby, Wilmington, Delaware. 

O'keeffe I

5′ x 9′
Hand-dyed Cotton Fiber Art Quilt.
Installed on a stretched canvas.
Corporate Commission.
DuPont Merch Pharmaseudical Boardroom,
Wilmington, Delaware.

The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and me miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.

Michelangelo
 Creation of Adam
Italian painter, sculptor, architect and poet,Renaissance artist, and 
an outstanding figure in the history of the visual arts. 

We transcend from a single form of creativity into the exploration of Life as an inclusive form of art when the cultivation of our spiritual and intellectual skills and abilities reaches a point of release. A critical point when we become aware of the Source of Creation within ourselves and begin to manifest what we imagine and aspire to gladden the heart and soul of humanity as the ultimate canvas of art.

Iran Lawrence

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