Renee Enokea uses shape and form to explore the practice of creative mindfulness. We spent the morning with Renee discussing how she creates her work using this method and asked for her top tips for incorporating mindfulness every day to get the most out of your creativity and life.
You won your first drawing competition when you were just four years old, can you tell us what sparked your creativity so early on?
I think being so young it was just the pure joy to create. At the beginning it was with little purpose in mind but then I started to experiment being creative in so many different ways. I loved being out in nature, walking down to the park at the end of the street and I would build decorative pathways leading up to this dirt mound with flowers, sticks and anything I would get my hands on. I used to draw floor plans of my dream house and imagine myself living in them. Then I really got into Japanese pop culture drawing anime characters like Astro boy, Pokémon and sailor moon. Nothing creative was off limits for me and I still treat creativity the same way till this day.
How would you describe your art?
My current work uses shape and form to explore the practice of mindfulness. Shapes seem simple but they are everywhere we look. Without realising have the ability to shape how we feel and respond to an environment. A square is reliable, it suggests order and stability where as a circle represents completion, wholeness and harmony. My organic method of creating is the most important component of my work. I trust my intuition to select particular shapes to tell a story or to evoke a certain feeling. With each design uncovering an inspiring message only after the piece is complete. The intention is created unconsciously from the heart; it is never forced; it is the purest connection to the soul. This is the beauty of creative mindfulness.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
I’ve always been drawn to and fascinated with Japanese culture and philosophy. Celebrating imperfection is a key theme that teaches us how to be gentler, kinder and more mindful, both towards ourselves and to others. Interior design is a strong passion of mine. I tend to go down a rabbit hole on Pinterest perusing architecture and bespoke furniture. This is often leads to the inspiration for the shapes and lines present in my work.
You have a very holistic approach to your artwork, incorporating mindfulness, consciousness and wellbeing. Can you tell us what this means to you and how you encompass these concepts in your day-to-day life as well as through your artwork?
I suffered from anxiety and depression for many years. Creative mindfulness was a practice I learnt at the very turning point of my life where I desperately needed some self-care and reflection. To be mindful is the ability to be present in a wondrous state and without any judgment. Creative activities ease us into a process of focus, concentration, absorption and flow, which is the same process we experience when we’re meditating. We become aware of what our experience is right in the very moment. When we combine this steady, kindly, embodied awareness with the purest form of creating then we are practicing creative mindfulness.
I am still learning new ways to bring more mindfulness into my day and sometimes I falter having a busy lifestyle but I have learnt not to judge myself. Instead I have learnt to implement mindful strategies to get me back on track. Things like going to bed at the same time everyday, reading before bed instead of looking at screens, waking up early, watching the sunrise, deep controlled breathing, dancing like no one is watching, laughing, exercise, yin yoga (A must if you haven’t tried), Sitting by the ocean and watching the waves, being creative in any form, even cooking. Mindfulness helps me to become more accepting and relaxed in my day-to-day life. When our energy is clear, positive and focused our whole world around us will start to mirror this.
Mindfulness is the key ingredient used to create every single one of my pieces. I never have a plan set out. I simply allow my current surroundings and intuition to form the subjects and shapes I use. The beauty of this method is that it allows you to directly connect to your subconscious, and express your true authentic self. The marks that I make often leave me hints and clues of what my soul needs to truly live its most potential life.
What do you love most about living on the Gold Coast? Can you share your favourite local spots?
Living by the sea. Nothing beats that laid back coastal lifestyle and the proven health benefits that come along with it. We are so spoilt here on the Gold Coast. There are so many little gems.
Breakfast - Milkmans daughter or Alfreds Diner (Best burritos)
Dinner – Hachi Japanese
Drinks – Burleigh Pavilion or picnic and sunset drinks on Burleigh hill
Beach – Honestly any beach but I love just going to the end of my street.
How do you like to spend your weekends?
My Saturday ritual is a trip to the local markets with my man, quick spruce of our house followed by a home cooked breakfast. Then most importantly we hit the beach and spend time with friends where we can. Other than that, my weekends change every week. I study interior design and work part time most weekends on top of building my personal brand, but I am quite happily dedicated to the temporary hustle until I finish my degree.
Finally, what’s next for Enoka Art?
Originally my art was purely an expression of my creative ideas however my work has now become more of a meditative process that is just as much for me as it is for my audience. My art has allowed me to overcome some serious mental limitations, to truly connect with my authentic self and live a more balanced and happy life. I still have a lot to learn but I would love to see Enoka become more then just a platform that celebrates art. Instead I want to share my imperfect journey leading up to this point and build a community that focuses on integrating mindful living both within the home, our daily rituals and our creative practices. I would love to in the near future hold my very first solo exhibition in a beautiful mindfully crafted home.