Yamabushi Designs & The Asheville Art Scene
The artists path affects all of those around them. The point of it all is to enhance life and to try to explain the unexplainable. To display the culture around them and to add to that same local culture. The artist can be heavily influenced by where they live. It can shape the flow of their whole creative direction. A magic place like Asheville changed the art of Rob Yamabushi. Life in Baltimore in the mid-nineties was a real eye opener. Back when Pac and Biggie were still alive and Wu-Tang was crushin it. The city taught the artist as much as the art school did. The junkie philosopher stone pissed on forever as the ghetto bird circles and circles. The front lines are rough and a lot of bad things can happen there but inspiration can come by acknowledging certain painful realities. Some enlightenments are only won at great peril. A place can change a person or it can help them find out who they truly are. You have to go with your instincts and rob yamabushi’s were he needed more positivity all of Baltimore’s hungry ghosts were weighing him down. He prayed for a practical place, a healing place, and a beautiful place. He needed a purpose as an artist. He had tried to show the world it’s own brutality scared straight. It was time for positivity healing art instead of hurting art. Let it be said that the making of art got the artist through very difficult and trying times. Through the years that process would help the artist work through so much. When the great god Shiva drank the river of demon’s milk meant to destroy all of mankind it did not destroy the destroyer, but it did turn his throat blue. It inherently hurts to live in sensitivity but the effect artist must walk a very fine line. Experiencing life through the making of art is what Yamabushi Designs was all about. Sharing all the smiles and cries through the years the body of work accumulates. The artist found a lot of soul in Baltimore almost immeasurable amounts but with the 2000 approaching it was time to head for the hills. Get established in a new scene effect change and heal. Welcome to Asheville and all of her lessons. The artist had the vision of Yamabushi Designs and Asheville in one rare moment on the third floor of a ghetto apartment on Calvert street in downtown Baltimore. Visions of ones future come rarely but lo and behold it came to pass. The great exodus, the artist felt guilty like a rat swimming away from a sinking ship. With the horrors of Baltimore in the rear view, the artist settled on the new prize Asheville. Some could say a step down, but at the time it was definitely a step in the right direction. The artist had to finish a few academic credits to graduate, and enrolled in a local college to meet those requirements. The artist then had to break into the scene. In the late nineties a very insular clannish scene, no easy feat. This is when the Asheville as we know it now was being forged, being birthed by the cool people from all over that chose to congregate here. Like minded bohemians raged it to the wee hours all the time all over the place. It was a wild frontier. Magic happened. The spirituality of the place seeped into everything. The beautiful mountains were teaching patience again and again and again. Once one was V.I.P it was a glorious life full of being loved and loving. In these friendly fires Yamabushi Designs was forged and tempered. The nurturing nature of the ancient friendly sacred valley enabled the genesis of the spiritual framework that is the soul behind the intent of the meaning in the artwork. For the design to exist on a spiritual level and reach those with eyes to see.
So much hope in those days, and the art reflected it and started to form the neo-psychedelic style that combines the sixties seventies soul with the emerging millennial futuristic madness. That look that’ through the distribution of thousands of Yamabushi shirts all across the nation and the world help promote Asheville as a psychedelic refuge and haven. Through the years the message kept transmitting far and wide and got deeper, more esoteric, more universal. The meaning behind the Yamabushi Designs concept was always the brands selling point, it could not be faded, heads had to recognize. The underlying purpose was to make allies out of strangers, to identify long lost members of the tribe. It was never meant to become a badge for status seeking wookies. You cannot buy soul , but you can sell an aesthetic appreciation of it if you gloss it up the right way. The artist has two choices make trophies for rich people or make art for the masses, that is accessible , affordable , useful. You have to wear clothes, the clothes you wear say something to the people who interact with you. Fashion people, why conform when you can shine? You can wear a corporate logo or a spiritual logo with soul glow minus the Jeri juice. Yamabushi Designs and the Asheville Art Scene are all about putting the power in the people’s hands and affecting change. As the powers to be try to place boundaries all around our bodies and our minds we have to activate and empower ourselves to resist the Babylonian shit-stem. The conquering of the whack evilness must soon come. The people of this planet must evolve and adapt or die. It is our only hope ? Asheville is a battlefield for consciousness.
The culture of Asheville has evolved through the years, after all the battles for artistic soul, still needs a beacon radiating the frequency of authenticity. The place has always been a haven for allies. At the end of the day that’s what yamabushi was intended to be, a way for allies to meet. Cool codes, a visual language for strangers to know each other before they meet. Living in Asheville taught the artist new ways to communicate, as well the ability to access new perspectives in positivity. By channeling the positivity through the art one could thus effect change. Put your prayer for peace out there over and over again maybe it will help someone feel better or help them understand. The future of Asheville is still being written, the corporate money is trying to buy cool and credibility. What will the future bring? Who cares enough to make it cool?How important is the visual identity of the soul of Ashville? Watercolors of the Parkway? Colored pencil drawings of a wolf? Slightly Native American looking poorly rendered earth goddesses? In Asheville everyone is an artist, which is a double edged sword.