Michele Benzamin-Miki



Artist Statement

My art is inspired by a life-time of transformative work as a leadership mentor, with over three decades of teaching and studying Zen meditation, hypnosis, the martial arts of Aikido and Iaido sword. 

I start from a ‘point zero’ inner stillness or expansive awareness from meditation before or during each piece.  I want to evoke in the viewer a ‘whole body state of being present,’ in the presence of the art.   

My work is abstract at times, expressive and instantaneous with large brush strokes meeting paper or canvas in paint or sumi ink; sometimes I come back into a piece adding detailed drawing in pencil or other mediums. I like to integrate realism with the abstract expressionism.   

Much of my work comes out of my dreams. Several vivid images from dreams 10 to 15 years ago continue to inspire my work. One such dream showed me paintings I would be producing in the future, which has been the source of my work over the last 4 years.     

My art creates an intersection between East and West, Realism and Abstraction, and my Japanese and American heritage. I am Co-founder of ‘Five Changes ’and Manzanita Village Retreat Center in Warner Springs, in the mountains of rural San Diego County, where my artist studio is located.