Madam X and The Human Being Society
Written by Genie Davis
“Are you human? If so you are a member of the Human Being Society. All Human Beings are Lifetime Members,” reads the homepage of what else but the Human Being Society. The LA-based organization, created by a single-minded artist with a vision, operates out of The Brewery artist’s lofts in Lincoln Heights.
Speaking personally, I’ve carried the Human Being Society card in my purse for many years, after walking into the studio space of the society’s founder, artist Madam X, during one of the twice-annual Brewery Art Walks. It’s an unexpected space to walk into; the visitor isn’t sure if this is an elaborate and humorous set-up or a sincere and wonderfully strange inclusive outreach. Either way, it is compelling work. It is art.
Madam X explains, “The Human Being Society came from my practice of inner work. It came unexpectedly, as the name of a newly recognized oneness. It was a vision of one great interconnected growth. And on a slightly smaller scale, it was the recognition of my human family and its purpose in the greater scheme of things,” she attests, noting that “My art is a reflection of inner work – the elusive process of transformation. It is the heart of my creative work, and is reflected in the images and forms of my art.”
In short, the sincerity of the work appears manifest.
The art is both otherworldly and lighthearted, whimsical in tone but serious in intent. Madam X herself is resolutely mysterious, terming herself the “messenger of Eternal Culture,” and a constant traveler in “the Great Sphere of Time.”
If this brings a slightly eerie vibe, it should not, as the message from this traveler is intrinsically playful; a light touch Madam X adds to all her work keeps these ideas from seeming off-putting; there is the grace of innocence in the work, and a spirit of almost child-like fun. And yet her intent is passionate in its seriousness; Madam X truly seems to want everyone to be “one.”
According to the artist “I think of the name Human Being Society as a symbol that evokes the memory of interconnectedness. I want to call attention to that, and that’s why I like to give Human Being Society ID cards to people I meet.”
She calls this performative, on-going art work and organization just “one expression among many of a growing thread of exploration that is my art.”
The idea for the society and the society itself grew out of what she describes as “An intense study of transformation that led to my vision of the Human Being Society, which in turn led to an ongoing effort to see and understand humanity within the greater context of time and space, and the lesser context of incremental change. My current work is to picture the human in this inclusive and integrated context.”
This sounds like heavy lifting, but in the hands of Madam X, the work seems hinged on a kind of fantastical delight. She has a gazette or newsletter, and a variety of books on her work available. Many are free publications, such as The Eternal History; others such as her book on True Love cost a small fee.
Her books, drawings, paintings, sculptures, and animated work all have a blissful simplicity, they evoke images from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s The Little Prince, if they were fused with the spirit of the original voyages of the Starship Enterprise. This book makes somewhat of an apt comparison, a story of adults meeting their inner child as embodied by a traveler from a distant asteroid; it too is whimsical and wistful, both a salve and a benediction on the too-often darkened human spirit.
Madam X relates “I stumbled on this way of working because of the broken and nonfunctional state I found myself in as I started out in adulthood. Out of necessity, I began examining my own process, hoping to free myself and connect to the natural flow of energy. I found fascination and satisfaction in my own freedom to experiment; I learned about the process of creation, and I began to practice harmonizing with it.”
Asked what’s next for her, she states “I continue to attend to the growth of a bigger vision as I reflect the process in images and forms of art.”
If this all seems rather vague, it’s undoubtedly intentional. Her self-portrait, offered in place of a portrait of the artist with her work, features a dark bluebird of a being with a long, thin neck.
Is her work purely what it appears: a delightful, original, entirely innocent Little Prince-like quest to understand all of human nature and compel others to do so, or does it have an underlying irony? It doesn’t really matter: either way, it is to be enjoyed and succored, because after all, as Madam X proclaims on her organization’s website, we should all “Grow well and remember our motto – WE are YOU.”
Perhaps we are, indeed.