"I happened to discover meditation and mindfulness. And that changed everything about my life."
When I found Yumi's drawings during an epic Pinterest scroll one night I dove straight into her starry universe, and haven't stayed away long ever since. Somebody spouting the wisdom of Thich Naht Hanh at LA comic book readings? What a cosmic babe! I felt so much recognition in her illustrations, telling me to shed old skin, plant strange seeds, set myself on fire.
Here's the cosmic creator herself, broaching the importance of self love, and why it's great to be alive.
Your illustrations centre around connecting to something bigger. Transcending the confinements of self. Moving towards inner peace. I'm super excited by art addressing these ideas. How did your path lead you to creating here?
I was really depressed in my early twenties, and then during a particularly challenging chapter of my life when I was working abroad and failing miserably, I happened to discover meditation and mindfulness. And that changed everything about my life. It changed how I make art, relate with people and relate with every moment of my life. And as I read more about meditation and mindfulness, it was surprising to me that meditation comics didn't exist, that there wasn't art out there that explained these very abstract concepts in more tangible visual forms. So it was the perfect alignment of my love of visual storytelling with my ongoing mindfulness practice.
What does your meditation practice look like?
I meditate every morning for 20 minutes. I don't identify with any organized religion. I think a lot about love, cosmic divinity and joy, and how to radiate that in my being and in my art. Embodying playful freedom and joy and creating is my spiritual practice.
How important do you feel connection to heart is, and how does it relate to your creativity?
Connection to your heart is everything. It means you are authentic and honest and vulnerable. All of my best works are authentic and honest and vulnerable.
How does it feel to be alive in 2016? How do we handle our emotions with the burgeoning weight of pressure on us all?
I am in a privileged position to say this. For me, I want to say it feels great to be alive in 2016. People are questioning the old structures and the old ways of thinking. We are hungry for change and I am excited by the massive potential for a great collective transformation that can truly heal all of us.
What do you think are the most important things to focus on, in our numbered days as humans?
Love and connection.
Do you have any tips for others who wish to make a life based around their art? Do you find it lonely?
Keep creating and sharing. Meditate. Love yourself. Do what excites you and scares you. Find your community and nurture your connections. Ditch energy vampires. I don't find it to be lonely at all. I live in Los Angeles and am blessed with an amazing network of friends and colleagues who are also creating art and living their dreams.
Can you speak a little about gratitude and kindness? Do you think positive forces like these have real power to address this dark age we are in?
Gratitude and kindness can truly transform you and the people around you. Gratitude and ego cannot coexist in the same moment. When I make a conscious point to practice kindness or to be grateful for everything - like the clothes I am wearing or the roof I have over my head - then I am humbled and overwhelmed with the abundance that I am blessed with.
Yes, I believe that if we all practiced more gratitude and kindness on a global scale, we can truly create profound change.
What are your goals?
I want to expand my artistic vision to other mediums. I want to write a screenplay, do more art installations!
I want to continue to create more fictional comic stories and more books about mindfulness and meditation.
I want to continue to grow and take risks. And I would love to travel the world to share my meditation comics with more people face-to-face on a global scale.