The vibrant sacred art of Paul Heussenstamm (American, b. 1949) incorporates principles of many religious traditions, among them Buddhism, Hinduism, and Christianity.
Heussenstamm grew up in a home filled with art and books. Conversations about spirituality engaged his family and their guests, including Sufi master Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan and health guru Gypsy Boots. Both of Heussenstamm’s parents were artists; his mother taught art, and his father delved into meditation and Eastern religion. Heussenstamm was destined for a creative, spiritual life.
Paul Heussenstamm at work.
Traveling the world greatly influenced Heussenstamm and his art. Awed by the beauty and diversity of life, from Africa to New Zealand, Central America to the Middle East, Heussenstamm witnessed the subtle inner unity among all beings. Visiting ancient Hindu and Buddhist temples in Nepal and India opened him to a view of the world both profound and life-changing. Dozens of trips to Hawaii imprinted in him the lush, radiant colors reflected in much of his artwork.
A surfer since the age of twelve, Heussenstamm became a successful businessman and owner of Newport Surf & Sport, a fixture of the California surfing scene. In his midthirties he began to paint. When he painted his first mandala, he knew he had found his life path.
Mandalas are mystical symbols, typically circular and geometric in form, and represent wholeness or unified energy. They have played a role in Eastern spiritual development for centuries and are widely favored as meditational focal points because of their balancing and calming effects.
Tree of Lovers
Heussenstamm has created more than two thousand unique and spiritual paintings, and the mandala has become his signature motif. For him, mandalas open ”the doorway into the symbolic language of the soul.“
So that others may uncover their own spiritual paths through art, Heussenstamm regularly leads workshops around the world and at his Laguna Beach, California, studio.
Heart and Mind
All images © Paul Heussenstamm