The scent of sandalwood incense wafts through the air when I walk in. At first, the meticulously clean space looks like a gallery with all the art that hangs on its walls. Then, you step further inside and find yourself in what is clearly an art studio. But this is not your ordinary studio; it is filled with paint supplies, plants, mystical books and tarot. I cannot help the instant wave of calm that washes over me. The dweller of this space is none other than multi-disciplinary visual artist Alex Coma. A gracious host, we share a cup of tea and we sit down for a chat about his work.
The microcosm, macrocosm of Alex Coma
Alex Coma did not choose the art life, the art life chose him. Growing up in Granby, he was a sporty fellow with a penchant for creativity. When it came time to look into universities, he was unsure of the path to follow. A single (amazing!) photography class led him to apply for the photography program at Concordia. There, he took a painting elective and discovered he loved this medium even more than photography. Later, he attended the Fine Arts Academy of Montreal to focus on developing his painting skills.
Nowadays, as a visual artist, Alex focuses on oil painting with some elements of photography and installation art. His works have been featured in galleries in Montreal, New York, Miami, Brussels and London.
The Artist’s Inner, Outer World
During his studies, Alex was interested in quantum physics and the realm beyond what science can see. This brought him towards interests like alchemy and divination. Furthermore, by going through his artistic process, the artist discovered a deep curiosity for the mystic arts and learns about them constantly: meditation, astrology, numerology, ego work, yoga, etc.
I was so intrigued by the way he spoke, the meaning behind all his creations, and his creative process itself. Consequently, I must have asked him a thousand questions. He humbly told me he is no expert, just a perpetual student of mysticism and the arts.
” Universe based artist and mystic on a journey to unveil the sub-lunar world. ” – Alex Coma, self-definition
When he started making art, it seemed that what he painted brought awareness to subconscious trauma. His work showed him where he needed to heal, taking him from curious student to actively following a path of spiritual growth. Now further into his artistic career, he creates art to crystallize the information he is collecting from his spiritual journey. His art has evolved as he evolved on this journey.
In fact, the uniqueness of this artist does not end here. I found that when he speaks to you he looks directly at you, almost like he is having the conversation with the real person beneath the surface. To me, that is an unparalleled skill mastered by few.
Through his art, Coma wishes to inspire people to take conscious decisions about their lives and to give them a glimpse of a part of themselves they rarely get to see.
Creating from the Space Within
Seeing how much thought goes behind every one of his creations, I had to ask about his process of starting a new project. Through it all, he sets an intention asking “what do I need to create next which will help me grow spiritually and which will have the most impact on people when they see it, inspiring them to heal themselves?” More specifically, you can check out the chart below for a breakdown of his whole process!
Alex Coma Inspired by the Moon As It Sees Him
As far as inspiration goes, Alex finds it in many places. As such, he started January 2020 at an artist residency in Costa Rica. First of all, the location was very much out of the way so getting there was a journey of discovery in and of itself. Furthermore, the owner created this residency to help raise artists’ consciousness (he calls them magicians). He even built it on higher ground to be closer to the stars. Without planning this, Coma even arrived on a full moon (symbolizing resolution, release) and left on a new moon (symbolizing new beginnings).
To the painter, everything is connected. Take the below paintings for example. They are a part of the “The Moon as it Sees Me” collection. They each represent elements of balance: masculine and feminine, western and eastern spiritual traditions, right and left brain hemispheres.
His current show at Stewart Hall is the result of a ten-day Vipassana silent meditation retreat. On the 7th day, inspiration came in waves.
Stop and Smell the Flowers of Impermanence
To conclude, I hope you have enjoyed this peek into the brilliance of visual artist Alex Coma. If you would like to follow his work as I do, the artist is currently part of the Mystic Toolkit exhibit at Stewart Hall (176 Lakeshore Dr) until March 8th. As of March 9th, you will find some of his work at the Archive Contemporary Gallery (2471 Centre St). This year, he plans on doing a study in contemporary sculpture in New York with renowned artist Daniel Firman.
**UPDATE: Alex Coma was interviewed on Radio Centre-Ville on March 18th, speaking about his art and spirituality in the current world climate.
On a final note, we love our creative encounters with artists of all professions! Thus, I invite you to also check out my fellow contributor Phil Naud’s interview with singer Kate Lynne Logan.