Detail from the first 1Mandala-- a mandala made from over a thousand images of people smiling peace to the world.

Let me tell you… making a mandala is journey that you start, and you just don’t know where in the world it will take you.

The 1Mandala started way back in 2009.    I had just finished a  school mandala project with 300 kids.  It was a wonderful success.  All 300 of us made a big mandala together. I had this wild idea that if one could make a great big collaborative mandala with a whole school, why not with the whole World?  The Dream coalesced.  Off I went into the unknown on an epic artistic journey that I could never have anticipated in a million years.

To realize the Dream, I knew I had to move beyond my sleepy town in Northern Canada.  So, I sold all my possessions, got on my bike and set off around the world.  I worked on the 1Mandala and my other art between a myriad of adventures.  A team, and even a community, gathered around the 1Mandala intention.  We connected and refined in an ambitious co-creative experiment.  The momentum gathered.

The 1Mandala has been through several phases since I set out on my bike that fateful day. These phases have pretty much coincided with me crashing and burning in various locations.  Yeah.  It hasn’t been easy!  Each time I have crashed, so too has the 1Mandala, and rightfully most of those who were involved have moved on.  Yet, no matter how fiery and humiliating the crash, my Dream just won’t go away.  I have had this unforgeable glimpse of what we can and will do, and it is just too beautiful to let go.

The 1Mandala and I have learned profoundly from our mistakes and crashes.  I mean, that is how you learn is it not?  By daring greatly, failing greatly, and pressing on.  Our philosophy and core intentions have been drastically distilled and simplified.

We’ve now come full circle.

Rather than build one great big virtual mandala (which was our first intention), the intention has now evolved to build many small real-world mandalas.  Co-creation and collaboration remain the name of the game.  But the age we live in calls for art to be not just aesthetically beautiful, but fiercely practical and grounded in addressing humanities challenges, and, shinning light on making the world a better place.  Frankly, there’s too much art around right now that doesn’t do this.  As an artist I have my responsibility.  And my Dream.

Boy am I excited!  We’ve built a library in a remote village and now we are getting ready  to mandalically empower an orphanage in Cambodia.  An that is just the begining.

Check it out for yourself on 1Mandala.org

You can read more of the 1Mandala story and few the final 1Mandala or peace portraits here:  http://1mandala.org/en/app-first-1mandala