We had the good fortune of connecting with Om Jaya Maxwell and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Om Jaya, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
Being an artist pursued me. I have a tendency to escape, to detach from the ordinary. I grew up at the seas edge and wandered the beach alone, Watching waves and sunsets were an obsession. Young, I banged on a can and attracted my first drum. I practiced fanatically and became a professional drummer. I surfed and I drummed, this was the lifestyle of my youth and would shape my character. Late in my fifty’s a I had an emotional breakdown. I began playing a piano as a healing tool. The passion to create drove me deeply into composing. This practice took over me and again I was living in another obsession, the piano, a tool that would transport me into dreams.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My work, both musical and visual is intentionally minimal. Not having formal training, I am relearning how to express myself with every work I make. Youv’e got to free yourself from the fast pace of the mainstream, let creating be a cathartic activity. Work in a way that cultivates peace within you then you will make your best work, or at least work that can touch others.
Ride a horse of a different color and don’t be afraid to be bucked off. Trends have raced past me and I still get on that horse and we ride the path of less wear. Staying out of the race allows you to dig spiritually deeper and find your style.
Make being an artist your lifestyle, than the good and rough times balance like water in a pool. Learn to live simple and look good in a large way. Dress nice. For our communal responsibility, we need to be enthusiastic and support the work of others.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
We will be sipping coffee at the Molecule, eating amazing vegan food at Govindas. We will get lost at the museums and dance our heart alive at Rythym Sanctuary. On sundays we will be singing and dancing at the Krisna temple.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I like this question. When I was young my ego was puffed up, I thought I was the creator. Later in life I learned that inspiration comes from spirit, to be in spirit.
Ive had many teachers along the spiritual path but few as an artist. Regarding my visual works, Picasso and the New York School come to mind. Musically, like many of us, I go thru listening cycles, often looping the same record for weeks. I prefer instrumental music, this allows me to have my own experience reflected by the mood I’m in.
musicall artists I like, naming only a few;
Max Richter, Olufer Arnolds, Nils Frahm, Johann Johannson, Brian Eno, Ravi Shankar, John Coltrane and Miles Davis
I’ve mentored under the visual artist’s Tadashi Hayakawa, Diana Wong, Norton Wisdom.
I’ve worked with great musicians including my son Nathen Maxwell of Flogging Molly.
Youtube: Om Jaya maxwellvision
photos by: yellow star critikal ear holland and a selfie