Celeste Byers is an artist, musician, dreamer, and inter-dimensional traveler. We recently took a trip to the desert near her home in San Diego where we crawled around on our hands and knees dressed as cosmic Bollywood gurus, barked like dogs, danced among the cacti, and talked about art.
What projects are you working on at the moment?
My favorite one is a video project with Aaron Glasson. We went out to the Anza-Borrego Desert and filmed a cosmic Bollywood aesthetic video about our friend, Oscar Moreno, who we call Ernesto in the film. He is an inter-dimensional teleportation traveler who has to come to our dimension to be a guru guide and he leads you through meditative exercises where you grow cacti out of your head and become invisible. It’s just so fun!
When did you start making art?
I started making art when I was 7 years old (or younger), like everyone else. But, when I was in high school I started giving myself little drawing exercises. Like, I would see if I could fill a whole page with hearts, or I would draw weird guys with cities in the background and say I’m going to work on this one drawing all day.
Where have you been travelling recently?
I have just been to Baja California because the grey whales migrate there every year. The pregnant mothers go to the lagoon to give birth and the single whales go to mate. So the mothers and babies stay for a long time but the young males who are there to mate just turn up, have sex, and leave. My parents really love whales and they go every year. I hadn’t been since I was fourteen. So I went this year and it was quite amazing.
How do you think travel influences your work?
I think it has everything to do with it because no matter where you are you are influenced by that place. When I was staying with my family I feel like I made so much work about my family, and then when I went to Baja it was obviously all about Baja.
I have become more accepting of my situation or at least I have tried to because there is nothing wrong with what’s happening right now.
Is there a philosophy or way of thinking that you apply to your lifestyle and the way that you work?
I feel like for a long time I was searching, and I felt like I needed to be doing this or I needed this, or that. Recently I have become more accepting of my situation or at least I have tried to because there is nothing wrong with what’s happening right now. I started re-reading a book called ‘A New Earth’ by Eckhart Tolle, and I think it is really helping me to be accepting and just a happier person.
Tell us about your home.
We have a house on the top of a hill three blocks away from the ocean and I have the top bedroom with 180-degree ocean views. The house has a lot of stuff in it. My parents are not organized people. If you walk into our garage there is stuff everywhere. Like, my Dad probably has a few drills, but it is so unorganized that he can’t find them so he’ll just buy another drill and add to the pile of drills and stuff in the garage. I think I have grown up being unorganized. I can never keep my room clean.
What is your process for making art?
I used to be more about making imagery based around ideas, but lately it has been based on my environment. I will just see something and then I will make something about it.
I think that what goes on in your head if you just watch your mind happen without any external stimulation is really symbolic.
I have noticed that a lot of your work is very dreamlike, is that intentional?
Yes, I write down my dreams. I started doing it because I was really into lucid dreaming. I haven’t had a lucid dream in a long time, but I still remember my dreams. I think that what goes on in your head if you just watch your mind happen without any external stimulation is really symbolic.
What projects do you have coming up?
We are making a series of murals based on our video project. The murals are going to tell the whole story of the inter-dimensional world and the dimension where we are from. The script from the video is loosely based on Tibetan dream yoga, which is lucid dreaming. When the Tibetan Buddhists are aware that they are dreaming they will make things happen that they cannot do in reality, like they make themselves appear and disappear, or if they are a man they will become a woman. I think it’s just fun and it’s going to be really fun painting this world!