A New Creative Outlet: Mandala Art

As a UX designer, I spend a lot of time glued to a computer screen. Yes, of course I whiteboard and collaborate with coworkers away from my desk every chance I get, but sometimes the job calls for long amounts of time in front of the monitor. (Thank goodness for standing desks!)

I started side work as a logo and branding designer a while back, but quickly got burnt out with the amount of screen time I was requiring myself to do each day on top of full-time work. I was in need of another creative outlet that would provide more balance, but still allow for my imagination to have a medium to express itself. To create this balance, I turned to mandala art.

Your next question might be...what the heck are mandalas?! I’m sure you’ll recognize mandala art from videos like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IYVcjFhpsHc

Pretty cool, huh?

Rooted in Buddhism and Hinduism, mandalas are known for their geometric figures representing the universe. Starting from a center circle, layers of intricate shapes and designs are added around that center point. The video above shows the creation and destruction rituals of sand mandalas. Their process and precision is truly amazing. (I can only imagine the amount of patience and focus they must have.)

My creations aren’t rooted in either Buddhism or Hinduism. I gravitate more towards a mandala described as

:a symbol in a dream, representing the dreamer's search for completeness and self-unity.

So really, mandalas can mean whatever feels most right to you:)

My interest in this type of art was sparked while taking an online art course from Ashley Hall, a wood burning mandala artist in Portland. While taking us through her process, I discovered mandalas were more than just lines on a page or shapes burned onto wood. The creation process and intention set for each mandala piece creates a story.

(Check out her Instagram: @ashleyhallart)

Following the class, I have now crafted my own creation process. Before I even plug in my wood burner, I journal. Gratitude statements fill up the pages of my sketchbook. The writing feels like an art form in itself; poetry of my mind. It sets my intention for my mandala art and pours gratitude into every art piece I complete. This gratitude puts my imagination into motion. 

“I am grateful for the strength and confidence to pursue my dreams. I pour my full self into everything I do. I’m setting my intention for this day to be my best self. As I sit on my back porch, I smell the fresh air and am thankful for the little things, which in reality are much larger than I could ever imagine: breath, life, peace, love, relationships, sunshine, imagination, and the ability to see. I am so happy and grateful that I have been given the opportunity to live this life to the fullest.”

It’s not only art to me, the process frees my mind, like a meditation.

I hope you all can find something that sparks your creativity and brings your imagination to life!

Check out a few of my mandala sketches here.

What’s next with my mandala art?

In the near future I aspire to:

  • Create pieces for an art show
  • Sell my artwork from my website
  • Hold courses to teach artists this craft