JD Siazon is a New York City-based dharma artist & poet. A recent graduate of the MFA Fine Arts program at Parsons The New School for Design Siazon has helped to create large inner-city community murals working alongside all age groups from children to senior citizens. He aspires to one day be the best arts journalist in the world as well as a great teacher of art and literature.
Please explain the phrase “dharma artist and poet” . . . what did metamorphosing into a Buddha elucidate about human and artistic evolution?
JD: For me, being a dharma artist & poet has meant living through all of my worst nightmares to fundamentally know the great spectrum of human experience and thus be able to communicate true love. Most so-called artists and poets will forever say that they really do sympathize with the damned yet hardly any would ever volunteer to spend a significant time in Hell to actually feel to what extent people suffer.
Is Hell even a real place or just a series of events?
JD: Everyone has multiple definitions of Hell hidden deep in their subconscious mind. It is not nearly enough for a person to hear someone else's account of torture for them to know what being tortured feels like. This could also be said of the dharma artist & poet--that they have given up all hope of salvation in order to walk the broadest path.
Hell for me was the direct experience of phenomenological chaos.
Did walking through Hell help you to become a better and more complete person?
JD: I very strongly believe that it is always and fundamentally of the highest spiritual import for each one of the globe's despondent and sundry victims to inevitably discover--in a master artist or superlative bard of tremendous creative power--a kindred yet guiding voice as well as an inspirational hero who themselves have overcome the gravest of moral struggles and corporal hardships to now be eternally fulfilling their wildest and most sincere of dreams. We more than ever desperately yearn for and need beacons of hope in this technologically mutant and politically stagnant age. I keep looking back upon the life I've led and oftentimes find myself regretting way too much but it is with total honesty that I humbly state that lacking my experiences in Hell and subsequent miraculous redemption I would not be nearly as equipped as I am to succeed magnanimously in the New York art world and this you may definitely trust I witness more and more vividly each bright and sunny day.
Do you find credence in the old aphorism that artists need to suffer in order for their work to be great?
JD: If an artist wishes to communicate the abysmal strata of pathos in their work then they must experience severe pain and grief ...
How can your eco-political activism intertwine with the buddhadharma?
JD: According to Vietnamese Zen monk and famed political activist Thich Nhat Hanh it is of utmost importance that everyone learns how to practice peace which entails breathing properly, keeping a calm and steady heartbeat, and being mindful of all you do.
People are so ready to fight for peace that most of the time their actions are in reality expressions of hate for a supposed enemy which is the reverse of love. But when we practice peace these enemies lose their power over us and our minds become liberated to dream with the cosmos.
What must artists do to bring about revolutionary eco-political change?
JD: Artists should not only address earthen politics but wed all action to the heavens for there are infinite realms and modes of existence humans must heed.
Can “artists” be identified as a demographic?
JD: In modern society too many people believe themselves to be artists yet they don't even create things of any genuine cultural value. If artists were an identifiable demographic I would venture to say that their numbers would be quite low.
What causes, if any, do you care about most?
JD: I've been told many times that I could be the key to rejuvenating contemporary art.
What does a dharma artist & poet have to offer the art world, at large?
JD: The fallacious and dogmatic belief that all art is a subjective experience has caused the art world to become a discordant mess. Dharma artists know that true art comes to us from the future.
Why did you decide to attend art school in NYC?
JD: Getting the best all-around education possible--which doesn't necessarily mean attending expensive colleges--has always been a top priority of mine. Art school was very difficult for me though since both my classmates and teachers severely ostracized me for being the most talented amongst them. And that is a main reason why I want to be a professor so badly--to teach students everything that I never learned at either Pratt or Parsons.
Have you had any opportunities to teach art, yet?
JD: I am always teaching by virtue of my Life choices.
Did you make art as a child?
JD: Like most kids I really enjoyed drawing cartoon characters such as army men, vampires, Calvin and Hobbes, Garfield, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Was this period of your life a significant and lasting influence on the art you make now?
JD: No. Dharma artists cannot create their own art but rather we do everything that the Universe commands of us.
Where will people be able to glimpse JD Siazon in the future?
JD: Hollywood sounds okay ...
Thank you, JD. More of JD's writings, musings, and art works can be found at the following links: