Q+A with Maria Borghoff Perry, Spiritual Artist + Yoga Instructor

Maria is one of those fantastically warm and generous people around whom you instantly feel comfortable. This is probably in part because she is the consummate observer, always perceiving, questioning and considering. Not only is she a Registered Yoga Teacher, she’s an enormously talented artist who has a show opening in Wilmington, NC this week. If you’re in Wilmington, make sure you stop by ACES Gallery on Friday night from 6-9 pm for the “DISCERNMENT and the paradox of separateness” reception. If you can’t make it Friday, the show will be on display from June 23 through July 27. Now, let’s get to the really good stuff: Maria talking about her contemplative practices of art and yoga.

The Basics

  • Age: 23
  • Location: Wilmington NC
  • Education: BFA in Studio Art Appalachian State University, and Registered Yoga Teacher currently studying Sri Vidya Tantra under Vira Bhava Yoga
  • Field of Interest? Visual & Conceptual Art, Tantra Hatha Yoga
  • What’s your favorite thing about yourself? I think my favorite thing about myself is my curiosity. And curiosity in the sense that I get more excited about the potential of all my unanswered questions, rather than an obsession with knowing all the answers – which is totally there too, just not as fun!

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Questions + Answers

Your artwork has this lovely organic aesthetic, and feels both strange and familiar. How did you develop your style and approach?

Although inspired by my own life and experiences, my art work seems to take on a life and an evolution of its own. Much of the organic aesthetic of my work speaks from both the naturally existing compounds and materials that I choose to work with, as well as the biological and metaphysical conceptual foundation from which they take form.

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To truly allow the ideas and the materials to develop an authentic aesthetic on their own, I have to practice getting out of the way and just letting it happen!

What is your favorite part of the artistic process?

Haha! I was just telling my partner that I don’t even really like the making process, which is partially a lie. But still, my favorite parts of the process are right when an idea solidifies and the only thing I can do is make it, and then when it finally takes its final and complete form. Sitting back and contemplating a finished work is something indescribable.

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Do you see any similarities in the way you approach yoga and the way you approach art?

I would say that I approach my art and my yoga practice from the same desire and intention. I am finding more that these practices are my medicine and I approach them as such. There are times when I can’t wait to get on my mat or to start working on a new project because I know how amazing it is going to make me feel. But there are other times (a lot of the times!) where I really have to face the fact that the process may not make me feel so amazing.

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The process of working on a project and feeling the sense of frustration, anger, and failure. The process of moving my body when all that surfaces is pain and discomfort. But I come back to these practices over and over because I know that they heal me, the way that the best medicines do – slowly and powerfully.

Your work recently won an award to be publicly displayed in Wilmington. Could you describe this piece and how it fits into Wilmington’s urban landscape?

The public art work that I installed in downtown Wilmington, NC is a totem pole standing seven feet tall. Samskara Totem is a steel structure with a ceramic beaded tapestry making up its surface. The sculpture is currently installed at the corner of 4th St and Harnett St, right in front of MedNorth, a local Community Medical Center.

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The street corner is an open one that lives in an old neighborhood, scattered with renovated warehouses and storefronts, and new local businesses moving in. The conceptual basis as well as the form of Samskara Totem compliments the quiet but steady presence of the landscape.

To balance your independent yoga instruction and professional art, you have to be a talented businesswoman. What is one strategic lesson you’ve learned that other young entrepreneurs should consider?

Persistence. My mother still tells me to be the squeaky wheel! I learn more and more each day that my efforts will never go to waste if I continue to follow my passions.

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Who inspires you?

Josephine Wood! Josie is a wildly passionate and fearless dream-chaser whose joy and brightness lights up my life.

Kelly Golden! My teacher and an inspiration to me every day. Kelly & Vira Bhava Yoga support me in transforming my life in ways I could not have imagined.

Tracy Meyer! Tracy’s heart extends out to all those she encounters and I am blessed to be able to work for such an incredible woman.

+ We love Maria’s art and approach to the creative practice. Know anyone else who inspires you with their sensitivity and perceptiveness? Tell us about them!
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