Art and Consciousness | Meet Model and Artist Viviane Sheep
DateNovember 24, 2016
In this age of multi-hyphenate creatives, every day is a new opportunity to meet a refreshing, new face that’s ready to grace us with their talents. MISSBISH recently got to know Viviane Sheep, the incredibly gifted model-slash-artist whose passion for creativity, spirituality, and philosophy is driving her up the list of rising artists to watch. Born in Taiwan, raised in New Zealand, studied in New York, and currently working in Tokyo, Sheep carries with her a piece of every city, whether she’s modeling for major fashion houses and publications, or drawing up adorable cartoon crepe illustrations. We caught up with the multitalented beauty to talk about the balance between her two careers, her creative process, and her latest spiritual project COSMIC INTELLIGENCE.
Do you see yourself primarily as an artist or a model? How do both aspects of your life tie into each other?
Art keeps me focused on the inner world, while modeling helps me focus on the outer world. I see myself primarily as an artist working on inner development and inspiration while working as a model to maintain outer aspects such as social interaction and business connection. I feel that this is a way to find my center and a crucial balance to keep my energy from being too stagnant or too chaotic. I also tend to be naturally introverted, so modeling provides me with the chance to grow and overcome my fear of the spotlight, pulling me towards the middle of the introvert/extrovert spectrum. Also, knowledge in the arts helps me a lot in photo shoots in areas such as understanding angles, knowing how much a move could affect the photo, and having a mental image of how the photo would turn out under certain shadow/light conditions, etc.
Born in Taiwan, raised in New Zealand, then New York before moving to Tokyo, you’ve experienced living in many different cultures. How have your roots influenced the way you live your life, and which city has had the biggest impact on your art?
Growing up as a kid in New Zealand, the abundant nature taught me the importance of connecting to earth as a child. Even though I wasn’t aware of it, I did feel an inner connection. After moving back to Taiwan, Taipei city introduced me to city life and social interaction. New York was a whole different experience, exposing me to a wide spectrum of stimulation with diverse types of people and events the powerful city had to offer. However, in the end, it was Tokyo which has called for the settling of my nomadic lifestyle.
Even though Tokyo is a bustling city, there is a sense of mild calmness in the air. I feel that this has a lot to do with the fact that Japan constantly advances forward into the future with innovative approaches, yet carefully preserves their ancient culture at the same time. To sum it up, it is because of this background of living in different countries and experiencing diverse cultures that allows me to be more accepting of various perspectives. This experience also gifts me the wisdom to have a better understanding of myself, and to find my center. As for art influence, it is definitely the makeup of all the essences I’ve picked up and discovered along my journey.
In a world where art gets replicated over and over, what do you think is the key to staying original?
The key to staying original is to stick to what resonates within ourselves and not to what society expects of us. We have been programmed since birth to identify ourselves with labels by our education and cultural systems. First, we are given a name, then we are taught the words “you” and “me.” This creates separation, and the ego is born. The ego gives us a false sense of identification to our labels, creating boundaries and limits to our imagination. In order to free our imagination, it is wise to return to the time before the labeling, which is our purest state of mind.
When we imagine ourselves as pure nothingness, completely detached from society, we allow for an infinite flow of creativity. Where there is nothing, there is everything. I have this concept tattooed in the form of 「 1/0 」 on my chest. In a mathematical equation, the larger the denominator in a fraction, the smaller the answer will become. For example,「1/10=0.1」,「 1/100=0.01」,「1/1000=0.001」, etc. When we apply this to life, the denominator represents the ego. The more we hold on to our ego, the smaller we become. For instance, if I were an extremely prideful person, the less accepting I would be of my surroundings. However, when the denominator becomes zero in the equation, the outcome equals infinity「1/0= 」. Therefore, if we let go of the ego and move towards zero or nothingness, we achieve infinite potential and true freedom.
“Spirituality is the act of growing and overcoming life lessons to become the best version of the self. I believe that everything and everyone is connected at an energy level, so if we work on ourselves first, we help the world at large.”
We love how passionate you are about “freeing the ego.” How did you first become conscious of spiritual thinking?
I have always been fascinated by anything mysterious ever since I was a kid. I remember I would run to bookstores to check out the section where the palm reading, horoscope, and religious books were placed. However, as time went by I focused less on religion or fortune telling, and more into the realm of inner work. To me, spirituality is basically the act of growing and overcoming life lessons to become the best version of the self. I believe that everything and everyone is connected at an energy level, so if we work on ourselves first, we help the world at large.
Can you tell us about your latest project, COSMIC INTELLIGENCE, and what it entails?
COSMIC INTELLIGENCE is a visual presentation of the key concepts in spirituality that resonated with me over the years. The basic idea is that cosmic law governs the universe. There are three images, and each image represents a different principle of the law. The first image is「 PARALLEL 」.「 PARALLEL 」The past, present, and future coexist. The present is the future of the past. The decisions we make in the present affect the future, leaving tracks in the past. Only the present is subject to change. The second image is「FLOW」.「FLOW」All aspects of the universe circulate infinitely to the course of nature. Everything comes and goes just like the waves of the ocean. Breathe in, breathe out, let it go. The last image is「ESSENCE」.「ESSENCE」Everything is made up of energy. Let go of the outer aspects and focus on the pure inner essence. The inner essence provides infinite energy and possibilities.
What do you see for your brand in the future?
I hope COSMIC INTELLIGENCE will act as a buffer to inspire people to focus on inner growth! I also hope to collaborate with inspiring artists and like-minded people, spreading the momentum of creative cosmic energy.
What are three hidden gems in Tokyo?
1. Meiji Jingu Shrine: the deep forest of the shrine of Emperor Meiji, situated within the busy city of Tokyo. The more the surrounding city advances with time, the deeper the forest also grows. Amazing, amazing energy! 2. The mouse mascot for the Japan police department – Pipo Kun: The cuteness balances out the seriousness! Can be seen at most of all the police stations and events. 3. The Café late machine at Family Mart (and the extra caramel sauce you can add to it)!
2. The mouse mascot for the Japan police department – Pipo Kun: The cuteness balances out the seriousness! Can be seen at most of all the police stations and events. 3. The Café late machine at Family Mart (and the extra caramel sauce you can add to it)!
3. The Café late machine at Family Mart (and the extra caramel sauce you can add to it)!
Finish the sentence…
If I weren’t afraid I would… scuba dive to all of the ancient sea ruins of the world!
I wouldn’t be where I am today if… I did not decide to leave everything to come to Japan.
Kids these days… are consciously awaken!
I look and feel my best when… I am centered/grounded.
When no one is looking I… daydream.
Traveling… allows me to rebalance in nature.
Collaborations are… opportunities to spread creative energy!
If I could, I would purchase an original… spaceship.
I respect… gentle people, because the gentler an individual is, the stronger he/she is.
What does MISSBISH mean to you?
To me, MISSBISH perfectly grasps the concept that inner wisdom creates strength, and strength allows for true beauty to shine.
Photos by: Yamashita Yuma