Alok Hsu Kwang-han
Alok Hsu Kwang-han is a highly original Zen calligraphic painter from China. His creations are a striking synthesis of the beauty of Chinese calligraphy, the spontaneity and simplicity of Zen, and the evolution of Western Psychotherapy. In his workshops, Alok teaches Zen as art through the methodless-method of “resting in presence and moving from emptiness.”
Education: Alok obtained from American universities academic degrees in mathematics, Christian theology, sociology and psychology of religion. He has taught sociology of religion and psychology of transcendence and in China translated and published 20 books on meditation. Alok journeyed to India 20 times for his personal spiritual evolution, during which he also explored the integration of Western psychotherapy with Eastern spiritual practice in the context of various cultural and societal assumed truths.
Exhibitions: Alok has exhibited at the National Ethnographic Museum in Sweden, the Great Hall of Exhibition in Shanghai, The Seattle Art Museum, Goldenstein Gallery in Sedona, Arizona, and many other venues.
Calligraphic Portraits: Alok has evolved a singular work of creating Zen Calligraphic Portraits combined with exploration sessions for individuals, couples, families, and organizations. He began in 1974 and has completed more than 1,500 such works of “living art” around the world.
Motorcycling to Tibet: In the summer of 1986 he rode a motorcycle by himself to Tibet from his hometown, Kunming, China. In the most dangerous places he found he wasn’t afraid but had a sense of delight. It’s this sense of adventure he brings to painting from emptiness.
Workshops: In Sweden, Alok taught a segment of a psychotherapist training called, “Creativity and the Emptiness of the Self”. He has taught workshops at Konstfack in Sweden, the Seattle Asian Art Museum, the Humaniversity in Holland, Naropa University in Boulder, CO, with Persons of Good Fortune in Taiwan, at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, NY, and at 1440 Multiversity in Santa Cruz, CA. In 2019, beginning his 8th decade on this earth, he has consolidated all his workshops into one annual workshop at the Sedona Arts Center in Sedona, Arizona. This year he will co-teach “A Brush with Emptiness and the art of Embodiment” with Tiffani Gyatso from Brazil, who’s embodiment of feminine energy and competence would complement his being the “Zen Dude”. (See her bio below.)
Individual Tutorial Retreats: Since 2015, at his home studio in Sedona, Arizona, Alok teaches 5-day one-on-one tutorial retreats for select artists.
“Moving from Emptiness, the Life and Art of a Zen Dude” is a feature documentary about Alok made by Shaeri Richards and Jerry Hartleben, available from Alive Mind Cinema: https://alivemindcinema.com/product/view/id/3989
Alok is currently completing a book titled, “A Brush with Emptiness: Zen Creativity and the Art of Life and Death”. This film is required viewing for the workshop.
Alok’s website: www.zencalligraphy.com.
How Tiffani met Alok and became his Co-teacher:
Tiffani had been looking for a teacher who could guide her to combine her artistic endeavors with her spiritual quest. She discovered Alok and came to Sedona for a tutorial retreat with him in 2015. Alok saw Tiffani’s capacity for the authentic fusion of art and spirit and wanted to provide opportunities for her to be in the same time and space with him. Tiffani was invited by Alok to assist him at his 2018 workshop at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, NY.
There Alok noticed many of the women in the workshop were not free in their movement and their unconscious embodiment of the ego-self was preventing them from allowing the brush to move freely. He also saw the natural joy and freedom in Tiffani being embodied as an ecstatic dance and as a silent presence. So, on the spot, he asked Tiffani to lead the group in an exercise about this. Here is a short video of her demonstrating the exercise she designed:
Seeing Tiffani’s magnificence and effectiveness as a teacher, Alok immediately invited her to co-teach his next workshop, the one at the Sedona Arts Center, Oct. 4-6, 2019.
Tiffani Gyatso is a Brazilian artist born in 1981 in the mountains surrounded by nature in an intentional community her parents had built. From an early age, she was blessed with travel and extraordinary exposure to the cultures of the world. She lived with an aboriginal tribe in northern Australia, also on a sailing boat near the island of Ilhabela. In her late teens, she went on a VW bus journey through Europe, Russia and Mongolia. In Mongolia she was deeply touched by thangka painting, the sacred iconography of Tibetan Buddhism.
Her passion and determination enabled her to immerse herself in thangka painting. At age 22, she was the first foreigner accepted to study thangka at the Norbulingka Institute founded by the 14th Dalai Lama in Dharmsala, India. Following this study, she was commissioned to paint the traditional murals for an entire Tibetan temple (CEBB) in the south of Brazil – a five year project.
Today Tiffani also has evolved a rich vein of contemporary artistic expression based on the intuitive and contemplative process as well as the Slow Art approach, which she developed based on body awareness, movement and contemplative arts.
In 2015, after many years of seeking a teacher who would guide her spiritual mastery through the mastery of art, Tiffani found Alok Hsu Kwang-han and came to Sedona, Arizona for an immersion tutorial retreat with him. His approach deepened a flow between her spiritual and creative energies, a linking and merging she had been yearning for. This approach now “guides the heart of her brushes”. Here is a video Tiffani made of her time with Alok:
The first workshop Tiffani co-teaches with Alok happens Oct. 4-6, 2019, at the Sedona Arts Center.
In 2017, Tiffani founded Atelier YabYum, a studio, school and retreat center in the mountains of Sao Paulo. She teaches all over Brazil and South America, giving lectures on traditional thangka painting, and conducts immersions in creating art, self- expression and art therapy. Recently she has added the presence of horses to her Intuitive Painting workshops, where participants can connect in a deeper level with their fears and joys, and transform their lives and their art in powerful and creative ways. Tiffani is also a co-founder of Mystic Art Retreats® which produces art retreats that combine travel, culture, art and spirituality.
Tiffani’s website: https://tiffanihr.wixsite.com