These inspirational artists are exploring the concept of mindfulness
In bustling cities like Toronto, it’s easy to get caught up in constantly striving for the next level of success without taking a breath to truly appreciate what actually matters: the present moment. But mindfulness has become a global phenomenon, and the life-changing benefits of activities like meditation and breathing exercises—as well as cannabis products like CBD oil—are touted by everyone from Instagram influencers to A-list celebrities.
A handful of buzz-worthy artists gathered in Toronto recently to fête the launch of MedReleaf’s new premium recreational cannabis brand, AltaVie, and express their own interpretations of what living in the now means to them. AltaVie’s products cater to Toronto’s wellness-conscious community, and provide all kinds of physical, mental and emotional enrichment. Many of their variations are designed to let users make the most of the present moment. “We want people to celebrate and really get connected to the here and now,” says MedReleaf’s VP of Strategy, Darren Karasiuk. Their products will most likely be available this summer, both online and in the LCBO’s cannabis outlets.
Someone who truly epitomizes living in the now is N.Y.C.-based poet Cleo Wade. Her Instagram feed, which has nearly half a million followers, is filled with surprisingly simple, incredibly uplifting posts. Many of which, like “Maybe don’t tomorrow your life away,” focus on living in the present. She’s an expert at promoting the type of personal acceptance that’s often in short supply, and has even been dubbed the “Millennial Oprah” by New York magazine. At the AltaVie launch event, she conducted a live reading from her new book, Heart Talk: Poetic Wisdom for a Better Life, and led an intimate talk about what it means to be totally present—which, according to the artists, can be anything from lounging with Netflix and a joint to going to a yoga class to practising daily affirmations.
Illustrator Alpo Snow presented three original pieces that show the importance of seeing the glass half-full and play with the idea of how being in the now often conflicts with a feeling of not having enough. “Life moves too fast; you have to enjoy it the way you like,” says Snow.
He typically promotes societal awareness through his pop-culture drawings of celebrities and luxury brands, which often highlight the superficiality of modern life. He feels the most mindful when he’s working on his art, or skateboarding.
Toronto-based visual artist Briony Douglas’s pieces centred around the power of the mind—both to influence our choices and to control our individual universes. As per usual, she used feline imagery: “I always use cats in my pieces, because they represent rebirth, as well as a certain mysterious darkness,” says Douglas. Her striking visuals often explore surrealist themes that take the viewer down a dream-like rabbit hole. She’s always in the present moment when she’s immersed in making her pieces, and often won’t realize when 12 hours have gone by.
Tahsin Dhirani used portraits overlaid with text to remind viewers of the unimaginable power of the current moment. “It’s mind-blowing to think of now in the forever sense. It will be now, forever,” says Dhirani. Known in the art world as Tahsin the Good, her wide range of multidisciplinary works explore the grey area between opposing ideals. She usually uses a mix of photography, collage, typography and illustrations to portray her feelings, and plays with extremes like stillness and movement, connection and isolation, and finality and eternity. Mindfulness to her involves lots of meditation, movement, writing and quiet time.
The final chapter to this artsy assemblage is photography duo Zac Booth and Natasha Wiseman, a.k.a. Enzee Creative. They chose a trio of photographs that focus on the ideas of personal progression and being at peace with oneself. “When you are mindful, there is more room for growth,” says Wiseman. Their dreamy imagery includes plants like baby’s breath, models with their eyes calmly closed, and lots of rich green and purple hues. Because we all know living in the now sometimes just means soaking in a luxurious bath of flowers with some CBD oil.
With all these inspiring interpretations of mindfulness, perhaps it’s time we all started to live in the now a little bit more.
AltaVie is a premium recreational cannabis brand from parent company MedReleaf. Visit altavie.ca to learn more.