the artist’s life, the rewards are few and the indignities many.
A slap in the face is more likely than a fond pat on the shoulder or
an encouraging thumbs-up. This harsh reality was challenged recently
when I received a precious gift, a troublesome jewel of affirmation and
recognition. I have a new nickname.
Since I am making art that issues the sublime, a Buddhist scholar in
Alaska has come to the conclusion that I am the earthly manifestation
of the prophesized Buddha of Joy.
Frankly, I am beginning to think he’s right. I’ve always
had a little glow.
beats the hell out of “knucklehead” or “asshole.” Buddha
of Joy has a happy ring to it. You can’t say those three little
words with anger or contempt. The title will look great on a business
Weary, my days and nights have been consumed with the production
of a large conceptual piece. Over 3,100 images, five books, seventeen
videos, six essays, over 500
web pages, three shows and 200 objects is a lotta work. Time has been thankless
and the isolation brutal.
In the middle of this sweaty maelstrom, I received an email from a Buddhist
scholar in Alaska. The studied gentleman had seen “Fortuna Rising” my recent
exhibition at Western Project. Every week, over twenty-one weeks, the Internet
show presented a series of philosophical notions or ideals that together define
a thorough cosmology. In short, salvation can be found in the search for the
sublime. Fortuna Rising led the scholar to conclude that I am the prophesized “Buddha
of Joy” who has been sent to this earth to show humanity a few new things.
With divine manifestations bouncing in my head, I got a little giddy
with the possibilities. The Buddha of Joy would always get the
best table without
reservation. I could upgrade from coach to first class. I might even get
like a George Clooney.
As an endorsement, this can be a slam-dunk. “The Buddha of Joy sez Get
Your Zen On with new Pepsi-Zero!” “Color me Nirvava!” “Lighten
your soul and your wallet at the Buddha of Joy Weekend Car Blowout Event!”
I’ll probably need an agent.
As an introduction, my new designation is sure to impress.
do you do?”
“Funny you should ask,” I say, as I coyly glide my finger along the
rim of a martini glass, “I happen to be… the Buddha of Joy.”
Depending upon the situation, I wonder if I can change it to Buddha of
Love? It might help seal a deal.
These were exciting possibilities with much to think about. Do I
look good in saffron? Must I gain weight? Can I keep my bad habits?
Do I have
go to Buddhist
school? In these quietly sober moments, I recall my grandfather, or
maybe it was Obi-Wan Kenobi, who once said that with great power
This was the second shoe to drop.
Having gleamed a little off the Internet, I wish to teach you all
that I have learned. It seems that the Maitreya Buddha, a self-professed
a bit of work on his hands. And now I, the Buddha of Joy, am here
Peter Parker trying to make sense of his destiny and a spider bite,
learning that my cool new moniker comes with a history, a future
and a price.
End of Times just around the corner, there is a palpable fear with
regard to the Apocalypse. According to written reports,
and the angry Jesus are going to settle it once and for all, mano
a mano. If you believe what you read, it’s going to get
messy on a big, big scale. Something even FEMA can’t handle.
Do not fear. I have just learned that it’s not going to play that way.
No Roland Emmerich stuff. (As it turns out, the Apocalypse and all of the doom,
gloom and guilt were all about tithing and book sales.)
Just when the big boys are about to square off, suddenly the Maitreya
Buddha appears, shames the angry religionistas and unites the world
in one universal
faith. (There was no mention of a global currency.) Unlike the
G20, this Buddha will introduce the Age of Aquarius, a new era
And I hope a whole new pop culture. We badly need a makeover.
As prophesized, this Buddha of Joy has been sent to this earth
hard at work. My Buddha of Joy job is to teach the world about the transcendent
joys of beauty and, conversely, the sublime beauties of sadness.
Since my artwork has the same MO, it’s an easy slam-dunk. I have the chops,
and now I have the cred. It’ll help the fourth show, “Fetish Fortuna.” It’s
it looks legit. From what I am learning, the Buddhists have a
direct line to the higher power. They don’t need a Pope or a Cleric to rubber-stamp
my application. I’m in. I can write my own canons and
That’s Mister Buddha of Joy to you.
GORDY GRUNDY is a Los Angeles based artist and writer. His
comprehensive new work of ideas and relevancy, “Fetish Fortuna”,
can be found at www.LuckyFortuna.com.