“I’m a Spiritual Anthropologist and I’m here to teach you about how powerful words are. How you can create anything in your life and how you can conquer anything in your life. So are you interested?” A compelling introduction, is how artist Stephanie Hirsch begins the journey at her artist-in-residence exhibit #LIGHTSEEKER at P3Studio in The Cosmopolitan.
She invites participants to meditate in a room filled with white or black beanbag chairs. There is a wall scribed with her writing. This is where the individual makes a decision on what to conquer or what to create.
“I have these beanbags that are representative of the womb,” she says. “Where we are cradled and loved and where we came into this world. We are here to unlearn everything we’ve learned. Conquer is a lower vibration, a darker vibration, represented by the black; and white creates an uplifting, light, connection. You can decide which beanbag you want to sit in. Take a moment. Read what I’ve written, connect within yourself.”
Upon exiting the meditation room, a message is written on a bumper sticker. Participants finish this sentence: “I conquer …” or “I create …”.
Hirsch instructs participants to blow up a white or black balloon. “Every time you take a breath into the balloon, think about what you just wrote. Tie the balloon. I’m going to ask you to pop it. You release it. You let it go.”
The plans are locked into place by adding the bumper sticker to a wall for all to see. She then takes a picture of every participant.
A former swimwear designer, her path to enlightenment wasn’t nearly as well organized as #LIGHTSEEKER. After years of internal struggle that were finally quelled through meditation, she gave up fashion for beading and embroidery. Now she is showing the public how they, too, can embrace their inner light.
Why embark on this type of journey at P3? The tools that I learned through meditation, through reading, through being mindful and on the path, are so powerful and have helped me transform as a human. When I was approached to apply for this residency, I went within because that’s where all the answers are and this is what I came up with. Because when you state, I create. I conquer. Those are the two most powerful words to manifest anything you want in this life.
How do you feel from your previously life as a designer to how you got to where are at now and the art you are creating? The journey started when I was 10 years old. The universe spoke to me and told me that I had a higher calling. I didn’t know what it was, but I knew I was always seeking. Why are we here? How come? [I was] very attracted to spirituality. And I wanted to be successful for all the wrong reasons—recognition, fame, this that. The universe heard me. I took a trip down to Peru and I got these handbags. I thought they were the most amazing things I’ve ever seen in my life and the rest is history. I was flown all around the world by investors. I went to India; I started beading all these crazy bathing suits. I had four pages in Sports Illustrated, which was a big deal, but I had such crazy people in my life and so much stress, I started to hate it. I went to a very dark place but they say sometimes we need to crack in order for the light to get in.
What was the turning point? Every day I woke up and embroidered. The only thing where I saw words was in beads and embroidering. They had depth—literal and figurative. Depth, illumination, shine. Shining a light on my inner struggles. I just kept going and going, deeper within, and getting it and getting the message. And my work just became more powerful and people kept coming to me, and no piece would get sold until I had overcome or learned a lesson that I was teaching myself.
How were you discovered for P3? I was obsessed with Art Production Fund. I think that what they do, especially with women artists, is so amazing. During meditation, I would say to the universe, “I want to do a collaboration with Art Production Fund.” Six months later, I received an email from their art director Casey. “Hi, Stephanie, I don’t know if you’ve heard about the P3 Studio, but we would love you to apply for it.” It really works! Oh my God. Holy shit. It really works. I literally sat down for one week in a room by myself and thought about what I’ve learned and what’s powerful. What can I give to others that’s metaphorical, that’s interactive? And I came up with this.
Does everyone laugh when they pop the balloon? Everybody gets scared because this is a fear that is false. Danger is real, fear is false. When we let go or release our fears there is a lightness of being which in turn connects us to our light.
And the picture at the end? Instead of somebody taking it for you or putting it on social media, you now have this picture to hold yourself accountable. It’s simple. People are complicated; life is simple.
#LIGHTSEEKER runs through May 9 at P3 Studio in The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. cosmopolitanlasvegas.com