“Turn Them into Trees” by Shannon Youso

Drawing from her experience working with individuals living with mental illness and volunteering with families experiencing homelessness and poverty, Shannon found inspiration in the practice of “turning people into trees”. This series takes a whimsical approach in depicting some of the internal struggles that many of us face, in an effort to address these subjects with compassion, for the purpose of acceptance and appreciation of ourselves and each other.

The series was inspired by this quote:

When you go out into the woods and you look at trees, you see all these different trees. And some of them are bent, and some of them are straight, and some of them are evergreens, and some of them are whatever. And you look at the tree and you allow it. You appreciate it. You see why it is the way it is. You sort of understand that it didn’t get enough light, and so it turned that way. And you don’t get all emotional about it. You just allow it. You appreciate the tree.
The minute you get near humans, you lose all that. And you are constantly saying “You’re too this, or I’m too this.” That judging mind comes in. And so I practice turning people into trees. Which means appreciating them just the way they are.”

– Ram Dass, On Self Judgment 

“Turn Them into Trees” by Shannon Youso
Exhibition: July 1st-31st, 2015
Reception for the Artist: First Friday July 3, 7-9


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