I first saw Ka in full feathered embodiment Goddess-radiance just over 5 years ago, when I first moved to the bay area. Like many others I’m sure, I have been completely mesmerized ever since by the seeming unending fountain of grace and beauty which bubbles forth from this gorgeous, potent, otherworldly being. It is a great joy to share in this conversation with her, exploring the depth and eloquence of her creative journey.
Ka, I love that you work with so many different forms of art. As a multi-medium creatrix, how does inspiration vary? What are the different muses like?
It’s like working on different dimensional planes of existence. While painting there is an intimate dance with the all encompassing muse of vision, the crown opens wide in order to bring the multidimensional into the two dimensional. It is meditation. I have to get out of the way mentally and let it come through. If I try to see too far into the future of the painting, I get stuck or overwhelmed. I feel like it is bringing in the celestial information into matter, or bridging Heaven to Earth, one little step at a time.
The headdresses and wands are a very tactile practice, which I love. After dabbling in the ethers of painting, it is nice to get my hands on earthen material. I find it very comforting and grounding. It’s the opposite process of painting, where matter is brought together to create celestial information, bridging Earth to Heaven. While creating headdresses, my muse is the human temple. I love to adorn people and artistically express aspects of their Divine natures, or Avatars. The muse of the wands is drawn from the earth, animals and the practice of prayer. Some of them have written prayers sealed inside. Many of the wands I make are specialized, using certain animal, stone or plant medicines for a particular purpose, while others are for general use.
The third medium I work with, dance, uses the physical body to weave and express the emotional, spiritual and cosmic state. It is a continual flow of bringing out what is inside, as well as channeling that which is outside through the body. It’s a lot of energy, and is often very intense. I am only aware of certain parts of what is happening during any given performance, but the pieces usually fall into place afterwards while receiving the reflections and experiences of the audience. I am often blown away by some of the stories I hear. It’s so beautiful and such an honor to dance in this way.
Which mediums were you first drawn to, and which came later?
It’s hard to tell. As a child I was always creative. I would dance, make masks out of paper bags, color and draw. I actually don’t think any one medium came first. Dancing was probably the first medium to undergo refinement as I immersed myself in theatre and dance in high school, then studied belly dance and fire spinning shortly after. In 2001, I began to take myself a little more seriously as an artist and began painting in oils for the first time. The first wand I ever made was around the same time, when my massage teacher / godfather gave me a piece of driftwood, feathers, a crystal and other bits to make a smudge wand. My first headdress was created in 2003, which was a few months before the first set of wings were made.
I guess all of the mediums were there from the beginning, kind of like being strung on a loom like warp threads. Then in my twenties, I began weaving the weft and it all started coming together, creating the fabric of my expression of existence.
I found a few iron keys and hand crocheted doilies in an antique store. I purchased them thinking I could make some cool art with them. Most of my paintings take a long time to create, and I thought it would be fun to do a series of quicker, multimedia pieces. By airbrushing over doilies, then layering acrylic abstractions, I created the background and initial vibe of each piece. The keys were painted to match and embellished with findings of brass, silver, chain and feather. Since a lot of the paint used has a metallic sheen to it, the art work changes as the viewer moves around it. The geometric lacy mandalas appear and vanish as one shifts their perspective.
The keys symbolize initiations, or the opening of doors to different states of consciousness. I love the tactile romantic feel that each of them uniquely exhibits.
The series of photographs that you took for your headdresses are exquisite. How did you first get into making headdresses, and what is so awesome about them?
I am guessing you are speaking of the photo shoot I modeled with Sequoia Emmanuelle. She is an amazing photographer and artist.
The first headdress I created was inspired by a concept art convention in Austin, TX, where I was asked by Andrew Jones to sit as a live model. They wanted a little bit of abstraction and fantasy in the attire, as opposed to just sitting nude. I had recently found a deceased blue jay in the backyard where I was living, and had taken his wings. A headdress of white ostrich, blue jay wings, pearls and illuminated globes emerged from that event. It has an elegant, alien sultan vibe to it.
I find it so fun to morph the human face into an archetypal creature. It is especially gratifying to create custom headdresses for others. Tapping into their spirit and bringing out their essence in the process always leads me on a fascinating journey, ending with a beautiful creation that I would have never made on my own, without their influence. Seeing the recipient don their crown for the first time is always a treat, for they become larger than life, and the piece instantly merges with their face, emphasizing the distinct energies of their character.
Photos by Sequoia Emmanuelle
What are you most inspired by? Can you tell us about some of your most significant inspirational moments?
Oh goodness, that is a loaded question, on which I could go on forever. I am constantly inspired. Love, nature, life, animals, plants, geometry, the perfection of creation, space. I love looking at pictures of space. It literally blows my mind. As does the microcosm of earth and biology, and how it is woven with geometry…. beauty, healing, dance, expression, language, diversity, music. I am inspired constantly, even the imperfections of cracks in pavement can bring a spark to my heart, if I am feeling open that day. Sometimes I am so inspired, I get overwhelmed and have a hard time focusing on one thing to channel all of that inspiration into.
It’s difficult to choose significant inspirational moments, as my life is sprinkled with them like the night is dusted with stars. A few would be: witnessing a total solar eclipse, seeing the redwoods for the first time, the first fire dancing performance I ever saw, journeying inside the pyramids of Giza and through the temples of Egypt, my first ayahuasca ceremonies, spending a week in the Colorado wilderness right after graduating high school, sailing with some good friends and a huge sound system on the Texas coast, meeting an extraterrestrial in my godfather’s livingroom, receiving my first massage, being introduced to energy by reading Hands of Light, by Barbara Brennan, disappearing in front of my peers while meditating, unknowingly, on a roof in my home town, floating in the Dead Sea, meditating for the first time, swimming in a bioluminescent bay in Puerto Rico, visiting the Alhambra, swimming with humpback whales in Maui and hearing them singing, realizing I could paint, Burning Man (there are numerous inspirational occasions that transpired there), the painted sandstone canyons of Petra, Jordan, the first time I went snorkeling in the fluorescent reefs in Sinai, skydiving barefoot and of course, falling in love… just to name a few, but it’s barely the tip of the iceberg.
Whats the story of ‘Milk & Honey’? I love this image, its the first piece of work I saw of yours, and I fell in love. The pose of the woman, the roses. Yum.
Milk & Honey was actually the first painting I ever finished and the second I ever started. It was inspired from a photo that was taken of me in the Red Sea by a beloved at the time. I had long, mermaid dreadlocks that I had swooshed over my head, spraying and arc of water. The colors and shapes are to stimulate the heart. The woman stands in an infinite sea of roses, and liquid spiraling shell shapes, colored with purple and pink, the sensual tones of the yoni. The peacock feathers symbolize beauty that is self aware. This piece is intended to express the ecstatic state of one who is fully aware and comfortable in her own beauty.
Can you tell us more about the name ‘Serpent feathers?’ I’m also super inspired by the wings you’ve created. How long did this creation take, and what is the significance for you as an artists and dancer to embody this archetype?
There have been many magical and mystical encounters with the spirit of the feathered serpent. I have met, danced with, become and embodied this archetype in multiple meditations, ceremonies and experiences throughout the past eight years. The white dragon and phoenix archetype are very strong for me as well. To me, the joining of scale and feather symbolizes the bridging of Heaven and Earth, which is what I strive to do with my art.
From what I have observed from the general mythos around the winged ones and the serpents, is that they are largely regarded as the opposing forces, above & below, good & evil, masculine & feminine, angelic & demonic, hopeful & fearful, light & dark. When the two are revered and understood as one, then unity is achieved. In this realm, we cannot have one without the other. Shadow is just as important as light. A seed needs darkness to sprout, and light to grow. All creatures need daylight and sleep. One cannot see the stars in the light of day, and the brightest light casts the sharpest shadow. Opposites are inseparable. Accepting the light and the darkness within ourselves and each other is how we reach compassion, healing, transformation and wholeness.
The winged embodiment has been a journey of beauty and intensity. I began the process about ten years ago, in 2003. It has been constantly evolving and changing since then, as has my understanding of the work that is being done while dancing in it. Over the years, I have become more and more in awe and humbled by what is being transmitted through, via all of those feathers, bird and serpent spirits. It has taught me much about getting my ego out of the way and let spirit take the reigns. It has allowed me to experience such protection and vulnerability at the same time. In that embodiment, I have inspired people and brought healing to their lives, as well as deeply triggered and angered the shadows of others. I am along for the ride. This angel-dragon who birthed herself through my hands is a potent teacher whom I am deeply honored to embody and dance with.
Photo by Mario Covic
What is your deepest wish for sharing your art? What is it that you want people who experience it to get the most?
My deepest wish is that others will be inspired to create as beautiful of a reality as they can, and to know that they are empowered to do so. We all have the power to transform ourselves and the world around us, though often in our society, we can be left feeling powerless, insignificant, unfulfilled and at the whim of the status quo. I hope those who experience the creations I have brought forth, find courage to transform and shape themselves and their surroundings into the most heavenly expressions they can conjure.
I was depressed for many years, for most of my childhood, and honestly didn’t get the point of life itself. Why would I spend so much time doing things I hated doing, working on things that had no meaning to me, as a slave to a system that didn’t even offer much time to enjoy all the things I worked so hard to acquire? Why would I suffer through life, only so that I could enjoy Heaven when I died? What was the point in living in the first place if that was all it was about? It never made sense to me. I literally thought I belonged on another planet, and I still sometimes feel an awkward cringe towards humanity when I witness the controlling, destructive and unconscious tendencies we exhibit.
However, I find my spirit soars when I accept my sovereignty as a Creator, and make art. No matter how insignificant my ego tries to tell me it is, in my heart, I feel accomplished and I get to watch the incredible beauty and magic unfurl around me. Creating beauty via artistic expression, creates beauty in our lives. It’s magic. We are all creative beings, whether we realize it or not. I never thought I was good enough to be a painter, until my twenties, when I gave it a good effort, and stuck with it with a ton of patience. I am always amazed at what comes through me, always. The only time I get stuck is when I get afraid of not being good enough or messing something up. It is those times when I don’t create where I feel unfulfilled and like I am in a rut. That feeling is easily fixed by getting creative again.
If we get our critical minds out of the way and just create the love and beauty we want to see in the world, we will get it. It’s real, and it’s powerful.
Are there any projects you are brewing that you’d like to share about at this time? Sneak previews?
Hmmm. Well, there is always so much on the horizon, and brewing in the cauldron. We shall see what emerges. This may sound cryptic and vague, but it’s more fun and mysterious that way. Other than the infinite flow of paintings and headdresses, there is a phoenix incubating in the fires, starlit blueprints for a traveling temple of the Beauty Way are constellating, and dream stories to be told through dance and embodiment are waking. That is all I shall say for now.